Fair Grounds: Turf stakes plays for Dec. 26

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

December 25th, 2021

A total of six black-type contests will take place at Fair Grounds on Sunday. In this piece, I will focus on the trio of grassy endeavors that are on the fantastic slate.

Race 5 – Blushing K. D. Stakes

A total of eight fillies and mares will vie in the 1 1/16-mile affair. I liked the turf sprint prep put in by Michael Stidham’s #6 Advocating (8-1) last time out and consider the filly a dangerous front-end contender. The daughter of Uncle Mo will need a lifetime best to upset this cast, but I foresee her firing a big shot second off the shelf at a nice price.

Recent Dowager S. (G3) heroine #1 Summer in Saratoga (9-5) fetched a final bid of $630,000 in November and is a logical top-two inclusion in the race. The Kentucky-bred mare was a stakes winner in her latest run over the course, and the bay five-year-old gets a cozy draw along the rail.

Race 7 – Richard R. Scherer Memorial S.

The 5 1/2-furlong grassy dash attracted a well-matched field of nine. If the pace is as swift and contested that I expect it to be, then #8 Manny Wah (9-2) rates a big chance from well off of the early tempo for conditioner Wayne Catalano. The chestnut son of Will Take Charge has just one lifetime run on the lawn, but it was a fine victory in the Kenner S. at Fair Grounds in January. Corey Lanerie will make one run atop the five-year-old.

Race 9 – Buddy Diliberto Memorial S.

A huge field of 12 will go postward in the 1 1/16-mile fray. I’m not in love with #9 Midnight Tea Time (10-1) as a single in the tough handicapping puzzle, but I do expect the talented sort to receive a great trip to the top of the lane at a nice price in this endeavor. The Joe Sharp trainee is consistent on a whole and does some of his best work at Fair Grounds, where he sports an 8-1-2-3 career mark. The Midnight Lute six-year-old will track, or possibly set, moderate early splits to the head of the stretch under Deshawn Parker.