Mobile Bay and jockey Diego Saenz lead down the stretch in the Premier Night Championship at Delta Downs
On Saturday, Delta Downs hosted the 14th renewal of Louisiana Premier Night, a series of six stakes races for Louisiana-breds with a total of $650,000 in purses. Conditions were typical for mid-February at the the Vinton, Louisiana 6 furlong oval, with a fast track, overcast skies, and temperatures in the high 60's during the stakes races run after sunset.
Mobile Bay wins the Premier Championship at Delta Downs
The highlight race of the night was the $150,000 Premier Night Championship, for older horses going 1 1/16 miles. Mobile Bay was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the full field of 10 over 9-2 Chocopologie and 5-1 The Pickett Factor. The Pickett Factor went to the lead first time by through an opening quarter of 24.31 before Mobile Bay and jockey Diego Saenz took over down the backstretch through fractions of 48.00, 1:12.49, and 1:38.18. In midstretch The Pickett Factor attempted to regain the lead but Mobile Bay turned him away to win by a length in 1:44.81. It was a long 4 1/2 lengths back to 39-1 Fort Pulaski third. Sadly, 9-2 second choice Chocopologie took a bad step on the far turn unseating jockey Colby Hernandez, and had to be euthanized due to the injury.
Left: Mobile Bay in the winner's circle. The win made him racing's newest millionnaire, pushing his career earnings to $1,006,440. The Victor Arceneaux trainee improved his record to 10 wins, 5 seconds, and 3 thirds for owner-breeder Tigertail Ranch.
Right: Mobile Bay in the post parade. Winning jockey Diego Saenz said, "I think he likes this track. Big horse, small track, but he handled it all right."
Left: Second place finisher The Pickett Factor returns after the race. The Ralph Irwin trainee improved his record to 7 wins, 1 second, and 3 thirds in 16 starts, earning $447,390 for owner Melissa Cantacuzene.
Right: Third place finisher Fort Pulaski in the post parade. The Danny Pish trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 10 starts, earning $109,820 for owner-breeder Tigertail Ranch.
Big World wins the Premier Night Distaff at Delta Downs
A field of 8 older fillies and mares contested the $100,000 Premier Night Distaff at 1 mile. 14-1 Believeinsomething set the pace of 23.33, 47.71, and 1:12.54 while pressed by 59-1 longest shot Shadenlight and stalked by 21 Illussion Artist. Entering the lane, 11-10 favorite Big World, 5th early, switched to the stands side under Gerard Melancon, gaining a clear lead midstretch and drawing off to win by 4 lengths over Illussion Artist in 1:38.91. It was another length back to 7-1 Pacific Pink third.
Underpressure winning the Premer Night Prince Stakes
Kicking off the stakes action on Saturday night, a full field of 10 Louisiana-bred three-year-olds contested 1 mile around two turns in the $125,000 Premier Night Prince Stakes. 9-1 Philly and 89-1 longest shot Kool Yankee dueled through opening fractions of 23.42 and 48.10 while stalked by 10-1 Magic Vow. Entering the stretch, Philly held a short lead through 3/4 in 1:13.82 before tiring badly. 9-1 Underpressure, 9th early under Diego Saenz, rallied late to win going away by 2 lengths over Magic Vow in 1:40.47. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to 3-5 favorite Saint's Fan third.
The Chris Richard trained son of Birdstone improved his record to 3 wins and 1 second in 4 starts, earning $116,500 for owner Mallory Greiner.
Mr. Al's Gal wins the Premier Night Starlet Stakes
The distaff counterpart to the Prince is the $100,000 Premier Night Starlet Stakes, with a full field of 10 three-year-old fillies also going 1 mile. 9-10 favorite Mr. Al's Gal and 10-1 Naughty Little Nun dueled for the lead through fractions of 23.24, 47.90, and 1:13.65 while stalked by 9-2 Our Millie. Entering the stretch, jockey Richard Eramia sent Mr. Al's Gal to the front for good, drawing off to a 4 3/4 length victory over Our Millie in 1:40.89. It was another 1/2 length back to 29-1 My Gal Layla third.
The $100,000 Premier Night Matron Stakes featured 9 older fillies and mares sprinting 5 furlongs around 1 turn. 16-1 Sarge's Daughter went to the lead exiting the chute and was pressed by 7-5 second choice Smittys Cougar. Turning for home, Smitty's Cougar gained a short lead but Sunny Oak, under confident handling by Miguel Mena, surged to the lead and drew off to win by 3 1/2 lengths over Sarge's Daughter in a hand-timed 58.30 seconds. It was another 1/2 length back to Smittys Cougar third.
Icy Gentleman wins the Premier Night Sprint Stakes again
A full field of 10 older horses went to post in the $100,000 Premier Night Sprint also at 5 furlongs. 12-1 Icy Gentleman was sent to the front exiting the chute by jockey Jorge Guzman and was pressed down the backstretch by 7-5 favorite Just Kissing Buck. Entering the lane, Icy Gentlemen pulled away from the tiring favorite, drawing off to win by 3 lengths over late-running 10-1 C U Tiger in a hand-timed 58.46 seconds. It was another 3/4 length back to 7-2 second choice Greeley's Wish, while Just Kissing Buck checked in 5th beaten 7 1/4 lengths.