By Graham Ross – Fair Grounds press office
James Miller’s Daisy Devine, already twice an easy winner this winter in New Orleans, has been installed as the looming 2-5 morning line choice in Saturday’s $75,000 Bayou Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Louisiana Derby Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford.
The 44th renewal of the Bayou Handicap, for fillies and mares at about one mile over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, is one of six stakes races – four of them graded – that will be contested at the Crescent City oval on Saturday.
Daisy Devine, who won the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks on the main track in 2011, most recently captured the $72,000 Marie Krantz Memorial Handicap on the grass here Jan. 26 and captured the $72,000 Blushing K. D. Handicap before that on Dec. 22. The daughter of Kafwain won Keeneland’s Grade I Jenny Wiley last spring and Churchill’s Grade III Cardinal Handicap last fall.
Trained by Andy McKeever, Daisy Devine will have regular rider James Graham in the irons once again in the Bayou Handicap.
Slated to oppose Daisy Devine in Saturday’s Bayou Handicap are Shadwell Farm’s Ausus at 5-1; Robert and Lawana Low’s Zapper Belle (8-1); Barrett Bernard’s Snuggs and Kisses (10-1); Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Artemus Kitten (12-1); Swettenham Stud’s Francisca (12-1); Barnett Stables’ Anniversary Girl (20-1); Pearl Bloodstock’s Submission (20-1); and Last Call Racing Partnership’s Our Lady in Red (30-1).
SUNBEAN SLIGHT CHOICE IN $60,000 GENTILLY STAKES – Brittlyn Stable’s Sunbean has been pegged as a slight 3-1 choice in Saturday’s $60,000 Gentilly Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on LouisianaDerby Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford.
Sunbean, winner of the Louisiana Futurity, was also cross-entered in Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes, one of six stakes – four of them graded – slated for Fair Grounds’ gala program.
The 30th renewal of the Gentilly, restricted to Louisiana-bred sophomores, is slated for the Stall-Wilson Turf Course at about one mile.
Capable of providing strong competition for Sunbean is Robbie Norman’s Hero Force, winner of the $125,000 Premier Prince Stakes at Delta Downs Feb. 2 as well as Rowell Enterprises’ Heitai, runner-up in that western Louisiana affair. Respectively, they have been estimated at 7-2 and 4-1 in the early line.
Completing the Gentilly field is Glen Warren and Andrew Leggio Jr.’s Skip the Pinot (6-1); Dan Lynch and Merrill Scherer’s Nubin Ridge (6-1); Diamond Racing and Four Star Thunder’s Johnny Handsome (8-1); Autumn Hill Farms Racing Stable’s Hopeful Notion (10-1); Joe Agular’s Phantom’s Ghost (20-1); and Jerry Lee’s Pure Pegasus (20-1).