Louisiana Champions Day Recap

Three state-bred Quarter Horse stakes were contested at Fair Grounds Racecourse on Saturday.

Q-Racing Journal

Strong Guns won Saturday's Louisiana Champions Day Classic, one of three state-bred Quarter Horse stakes contested at Fair Grounds Racecourse. PHOTO: Hodges Photography

Three graded state-bred stakes were contested during Saturday's 13-race Louisiana Champions Day program at Fair Grounds Racecourse in New Orleans.

Louisiana Champions Day Classic (RG2)
Carlos Acuna's Strong Guns, a 5-year-old son of the Separatist stallion Strong Hope trained by Robert Meche, sprinted to a clear 1 1/4-length victory in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes.

Ridden by Damian Martinez and aided by a reported 12-mph tail wind, Strong Guns covered 440 yards in :21.557 on a track officially labeled "good." The bay gelding earned a 103 speed index and the $45,000 winner's share of the purse.

Strong Guns was bred by V W Racing, and he was coming off of a third-place finish in the November 11 Opelousas Stakes at Evangeline Downs.

"We are so proud of this horse and knew he was ready," said Meche of Strong Guns, who was sent to post at odds of 11-1. "Today is the fifth anniversary of the passing of our son Jess (who died in a training accident). He will never be forgotten."

Strong Guns has won eight of 30 races and has banked $181,225.

Jes A Fast Dasher ran second and was followed by Super Sonic Patriot, Heza Bell Perry, 2-1 morning-line favorite Heza Louisiana Dash, My Favorite Blue, Ww Showtime, Ldn Jessasaltydog, and Absolute Shot.

Louisiana Champions Day Derby (RG2)
Shatto Stoli, a gelded son of champion Stoli owned and trained by Rosendo Valdez, earned his third stakes win in Saturday's 400-yard, $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Derby Stakes.

Aided by a reported 12-mph tail wind, Shatto Stoli tripped the timer in :19.942, and his winning margin was a nose from Coronaoro. Raul Ramirez Jr. rode the sorrel gelding.

Shatto Stoli was bred by Juan San Miguel Jr. The gelding was one of two starters prepped by Valdez; the other, Toast To Virginia, finished seventh.

"I liked both of my horses' chances in this race, but I was concerned aobut drawing inside for Shatto Stoli," said Valdez. "Both were $5,000 claimers, so to win a Louisiana Champions Day stakes means a lot."

Campaigned exclusively in Louisiana, Shatto Stoli has won six of 19 starts, and his stakes resume includes victories in last year's LQHBA Breeders' Invitational Stakes (R) at Evangeline Downs, and the January 14 Billy Montgomery Stakes (R) at Louisiana Downs. The $45,000 winner's share of the Louisiana Champions Day Derby purse pushed his earnings to $134,293.

Di Maria finished third, a half of a length behind Shatto Stoli. Gt Runaway Date, Buds World, Fast Dashin Dee, Toast To Virginia, Royal Quick Patriot, Dont Kill Patriot, Fabulously Fast Game, and Nd Super Long Pass completed the order off finish.

Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile (RG2)
Eddie Sanchez rode 3-2 favorite Dashnunder Afullmoon to a one-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Stakes.

Prepped by Saul Ramirez Jr. for owner Rogelio Marquez Jr., Dashnunder Afullmoon went 350 yards in :17.468 while aided by a reported 12-mph tail wind. The Heza Fast Dash filly was winning for the fifth time in six starts, and the $45,000 winner's share of the purse from her third stakes score bumped her earnings to $572,859.

"I knew the first time I worked her at Sam Houston that she was very special," Sanchez said. "She did it so easily today."

Dashnunder Afullmoon failed to qualify for the $1-million Louisiana Million Futurity (RG1) at Evangeline Downs when she ran third in her trial on November 17. The filly was bred by D & S Racing LLC, and she was acquired by Marquez for $44,500 at last year's LQHBA Yearling Sale.

"Today she showed her heart and did what she does best," Marquez said. "Winning this prestigious race is a great feeling for me and my dad. I think this probably secured her Louisiana champion filly honors."

All three of Dashnunder Afullmoon's stakes wins have come against graded company and include the July 8, $705,000 Lee Berwick Futurity (RG1) at Delta Downs.

Second Down Leaving, Jls Dash N Fire, Blue Eyed Fance, Eyesa Game, Miss Tee Lajolla, Piloto Shiner, Sha Boo Yah, Cos I Get It, Jrs Natural Runaway, Fabulously Black, and Yumyumcomegetyousome completed the order of finish.

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