Stormdriver and jockey Diego Saenz return after the Premier Night Championship at Delta Downs
On Saturday, Delta Downs hosted Louisiana Premier Night, a series of 10 stakes races for Louisiana-breds with a total of $1 million in purses. It was unusually chilly at the the Vinton, Louisiana 6 furlong oval, with a fast track, clear skies, and temperatures near 40 degrees.
Stormdriver wins the Premier Championship at Delta Downs
The highlight race of the night was the $200,000 Premier Night Championship, for older horses going 1 1/16 miles. The Pickett Favtor was sent off as the 3-5 favorite in the field of 8 over defending champion One King's Man at 4-1 and Deep Bottom at 5-1. 73-1 longest shot Know You Now battled for the lead with Deep Bottom and The Pickett Factor through opening fractions of 22.57 and 47.22 before tiring badly and dropping back to last. The Pickett Factor inherited the lead through 3/4 in 1:13.31 and 1 mile in 1:39.27. However, 6-1 fourth choice Stormdriver, who stalked the pace in fourth early, came out for room to pass the tiring favorite and outfinished late running One King's Man to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:45.67. It was another 1/2 length back to The Pickett Factor third.
Left: Stormdriver in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Patrick Devereux said, "Diego looked like he was loaded with this horse. After about three-eighths of a mile, I really was confident. He handled this racetrack well tonight."
Right: Stormdriver steams in the cold weather after the race.
Left: Second place finisher One King's Man in the post parade under jockey Miguel Mena.. The Joe Sharp trainee improved his record to 10 wins, 8 seconds, and 6 thirds in 39 starts, earning $512,804 for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite The Pickett Factor in the post parade with jockey Luis Quinonez. The Ralph Irwin trainee improved his record to 6 wins, 0 seconds, and 2 thirds in 9 starts, earning $318,640 for owner Melissa Cantacuzene.
Forest Lake wins the Premier Night Distaff at Delta Downs
A field of 9 older fillies and mares contested the $150,000 Premier Night Distaff at 1 mile. 11-10 favorite Oh Baby Oh Baby set the pace of 24.47, 47.95, and 1:13.30 while pressed by 11-1 Private Promise and stalked by 8-5 Pacific Pink. Entering the stretch Oh Baby Oh Baby tires as Private Promise inherited a short lead at the 1/8 pole. 6-1 Forest Lake, 7th early, came on late to win by a head over Private Promise in 1:39.85. It was a neck back to Pacific Pink, while Oh Baby Oh Baby checked in 5th.
Icy Gentleman winning the Premer Night Prince Stakes
Kicking off the stakes action on Saturday night, a field of 9 Louisiana-bred three-year-olds sprinted 7 furlongs around two turns in the $125,000 Premier Night Prince Stakes. 10-1 Icy Gentlemen was sent to the lead by Jorge Guzman through fractions of 22.87 and 46.88 while pressed by 2-1 Half Cajun and stalked by even-money favorite Sea Vow. Entering the lane, Icy Gentleman opened up a 3 length lead through 3/4 in 1:22.22. 43-1 longshot So Sorry Ruston, 3rd early, rallied late but Icy Gentlemen cruised to a 3 1/4 length win in 1:26.42. It was a neck back to Sea Vow third.
The Henry Johnson trained son of Yankee Gentleman improved his record to 3 wins, 0 seconds, and 3 thirds in 7 starts, earning $152,835 for owner-breeder Ironwater Farms.
Smittys Cougar wins the Premier Night Starlet Stakes
The distaff counterpart to the Prince is the $125,000 Premier Night Starlet Stakes, with a full field of 10 three-year-old fillies also sprinting 7 furlongs. Jockey Richard Eramia sent 2-1 second choice Smittys Cougar to the lead and she set fractions of 22.89 and 46.92 while pressed by 20-1 Elegant Idea and stalked by 5-1 Conquest Tiz One. Entering the lane, Smittys Cougar opened up a 5 length lead through 3/4 in 1:13.29. 6-5 favorite Jet Black Magic put in a late rally from 8th to no avail as Smittys Cougar cruised to win by 3 lengths in 1:27.25. It was another 3/4 length back to 57-1 longest shot Blue Ribbon Girl third.
Diamond Cutter wins the Premier Night Matron Stakes
The $100,000 Premier Night Matron Stakes featured a full field of 10 older fillies and mares sprinting 5 furlongs around 1 turn. Jockey Gerardo Mora sent 9-1 Diamond Cutter to the lead exiting the chute and she set fractions of 22.43 and 46.17 while as many as 2 lengths in front of 47-1 Just Glossy stalking her in second. Entering the stretch, Diamond Cutter continued to lead as 7-10 favorite Lady Grantham, 7th early, put in her late rally. However, Lady Grantham was left with too much ground to make up as Diamond Cutter easily held sway by 2 1/2 lengths in 59.12. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to Just Glossy third.
A field of 9 older horses went to post in the $100,000 Premier Night Sprint also at 5 furlongs. Defending champion and 9-10 favorite Heitai was sent to the lead by Diego Saenz through fractions of 22.40 and 45.70 while stalked by 25-12 Unitas and 20-1 Win Lion Win. Into the lane Heitai opened up by 2 lengths, and drew off to win by 2 1/4 over late-running 13-2 Jslookovrurshoulda in 58.16. It was another length back to Win Lion Win third.