S'maverlous leads one-two punch for Maker in New Orleans
The New Orleans was the stakes debut for S'maverlous, who was claimed out of a winning effort at Belmont Park last September for $32,000. For Gata Racing Stable and Maker, S'maverlous had won twice in six allowance attempts, including a March 3 second-level heat at Fair Grounds going one mile 70 yards.
Tracking in second behind pacesetter Coup de Grace through fractions of :23.65, :47.67, and 1:12.07, S'maverlous seized control from that one in upper stretch and finished more than two lengths clear of International Star, who edged favorite Eagle for what turned out to be second-place after the inquiry and objection concerning Jessica's Star. That horse was demoted to fifth after drifting out in the stretch and cutting off Majestic Harbor, who was attempting to thread the needle between Jessica's Star and International Star.
Under Jose Lezcano, S'maverlous completed nine furlongs on a fast track in 1:50.06 and paid $42.40.
"No complaints from me," Maker said. "I got him last fall at Belmont. He’s bred for the distance. You take horses who are doing well, you hope they can run the way he did. We rolled the dice and it paid off."
International Star and Eagle had both won stakes earlier in the meet and were considered some of the better older male horses stabled in the south this winter. For International Star, it was his second straight setback after opening his Fair Grounds account with four straight wins, including last year's Louisiana Derby (G2).
Eagle started the current Fair Grounds meet on a high note, taking the $60,000 Tenacious impressively in December, but was out-kicked in the stretch of both the $75,000 Louisiana and the Mineshaft H. (G3) prior to this. Slow from the gate and farther back early than jockey Javier Castellano would have liked in the New Orleans, it appears both he and International Star will need to step up their game to be competitive in upcoming stakes in Kentucky.
The winner is by Tiz Wonderful and out of the A.P. Indy mare A. P. Petal, a half-sister to the multiple Grade 3-winning turf performer Lotus Pool. Also hailing from this family is Australian Group 1 winner Moriarty and English Group 2 winners Lear Spear and Montgomery's Arch.
Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, S'maverlous traces back to the classy 1960s filly Gay Matelda, who captured the Gardenia and Alabama.
S'maverlous' record now stands at 20-8-4-4, $514,716. He is expected to contest next month's Charles Town Classic (G2).
(Alexander Barkoff/Hodges Photography)