Tenacious Stakes Highlights Stakes-Filled Fair Grounds Card

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

December 13th, 2017

If you like huge race cards filled with stakes events and large, competitive fields, then the Saturday card at Fair Grounds is definitely for you.

The thirteen races on the card drew 134 entries, or an average of more than ten horses per race, and the six stakes races in particular have drawn quality fields.

Leading the way is the $75,000 Tenacious Stakes at a mile and seventy yards on the main track. The 7-2 favorite on the morning line is Dazzling Gem, who suffered a pair of narrow defeats when second in the Louisiana Stakes and third in the Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) at Fair Grounds last winter. He hasn’t run since March and will enter the Tenacious off a lengthy layoff as he seeks the first stakes win of his career.

Also returning from a layoff is Sticksstatelydude, winner of the 2016 Discovery Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct. He’s only run once since then, finishing fourth in an allowance sprint at Saratoga in August, but he could be a colt to watch this winter as he stretches back out around two turns. The graded stakes winners Far Right and Fear the Cowboy add further depth to the Tenacious field.

A similarly competitive field has lined up to contest the $75,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes going 8.5 furlongs on turf. Canadian classic winners Sir Dudley Digges (2016 Queen’s Plate) and Up With the Birds (2013 Breeders’ Stakes) will square off against the veteran graded stakes winner Dimension and the well-traveled Australian-bred Turbo Street, who enters off a stakes win at Remington Park.

The six-furlong $50,000 Letellier Memorial Stakes for juvenile fillies could potentially serve as a prep race on the road to the Kentucky Oaks. The eight entrants are a blend of up-and-comers and experienced stakes competitors; the narrow favorite on the morning line is Upset Brewing, runner-up in the Ellis Park Debutante Stakes, but Thoughtless Doll—an impressive ten-length debut winner at Mountaineer—should also draw support.

Fillies and mares on turf will star in the $75,000 Blushing K. D. Stakes, in which 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) runner-up Valadorna will make her turf debut while facing the talented multiple stakes winner Prado’s Sweet Ride. Rounding out the card are the $75,000 Bonapaw Stakes featuring a large field of turf sprinters and the $50,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes for two-year-olds, in which the Mark Casse-trained Steel Shot looks tough to beat.

Post time for the first race of the day is 2:00 pm Eastern.