By Derek Simon
I love local racing.
There’s something about watching the home team — “our guys” — do well that provides a special thrill.
To most, Gary Stevens is a Hall of Fame jockey with over 5,000 career wins and $243 million in lifetime earnings (not all his, mind you). To me, he is Gary from the Block, the guy who broke riding records at Longacres in the mid-1980s on his way to national acclaim.
When Stevens won his first Kentucky Derby aboard the filly Winning Colors in 1988, it was like watching my brother achieve the pinnacle of success (for my actual brother, my twin, the pinnacle was potty training… but he’s regressed in recent years).
And don’t get me started on Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Chinook Pass or Washington-bred legend Trooper Seven… the memory of the former breaking his maiden by 15 lengths and the latter topping off a perfect season with his second Longacres Mile win in 1981 still puts a lump to my throat.
So, even though I’m not from Louisiana, nor have I visited the state since Thomas Jefferson purchased it for the United States in 1803, I was excited when I saw the entries for Louisiana Champions Day at Fair Grounds on Saturday, Dec. 12.
Louisiana Champions Day consists of 10 races (of 13 on the card) with a purse of $100K or more for accredited Louisiana-breds (there is also a $50K starter allowance race scheduled).
And the big money isn’t confined to the thoroughbreds.
Three races — the first three, actually — have been carded for Quarter Horses and I’m especially anxious to watch Open Me Corona, who is 2-5 on my Win Factor Report (computerized fair odds line).
And speaking of my Win Factor Report, both it and my Pace Profile Report for Saturday’s Fair Grounds races can be obtained — for FREE — by clicking the following links:
Enjoy Champions Day!