12/07/2011 12:48PM

Fair Grounds: Enclosure stretching out for Moquett


Ron Moquett was getting in his vehicle Wednesday morning for the eight-hour jaunt from Hot Springs, Ark., to New Orleans, where on Friday he will saddle Enclosure as one of the top contenders in the featured seventh of 10 races at Fair Grounds.

“I’ll be going down to run a few in New Orleans until Oaklawn Park starts up,” Moquett said by phone, “and then I’ll just mostly stick here through the winter.”

Moquett was being accompanied on the drive by J. Lee Didier, who lives in Moquett’s hometown of Ft. Smith on the western border of Arkansas. Didier, with his wife, Joyce, privately purchased Enclosure this summer in the name of their BJD Thoroughbreds. Enclosure won a first-level allowance sprint at Keeneland in October before finishing second on the class raise in his only start of the Churchill Downs fall meet.

“Since I don’t have any clients right now interested in going to the sales, that’s become our main way of operating, to buy other people’s problems and see what happens,” said Moquett, a 40-year-old veteran who will have a full barn of 36 horses ready to go when Oaklawn opens Jan. 13. “We’re actually pretty happy with this one so far.”

Enclosure, with Rosie Napravnik to ride, will be stretching out from a series of sprints when he breaks from the outside post in a field of six in the Friday feature, a $51,000, second-level allowance at a mile and 70 yards. “The way he’s trained and the way he’s run, we think he’ll want the two turns,” said Moquett, whose top horses in years past include Seek Gold, Go Now, and Silver Lord.

Probably the top challengers to Enclosure are Left, a Claiborne Farm homebred trying to improve off a so-so effort in his return to action on opening weekend of the Fair Grounds meet, and Adulare, the only horse in the field entered for the $40,000 claiming option. Don Dulce, Secret Wish, and Ghostwalking round out the abbreviated lineup.

First post Friday is 12:40 p.m. Central, with the opener being a sprint stakes restricted to registered Alabama-breds. The aptly named Crimson Pride – the only colt and only prior winner in a field of five – figures to make the chalk players happy by taking the measure of four maiden fillies in the $35,000 Kudzu Juvenile.

Other Friday races include a pair of well matched turf sprints: a $32,000 optional-claimer (race 4) that drew eight fillies and mares, and a $49,000 first-level allowance (race 6) with an extensive roster of main-track-only runners in case of inclement weather.

◗ The Fair Grounds stakes program hits one of its high points Saturday with the Louisiana Champions Day, a full card for Louisiana-breds. The $150,000 Classic is the anchor event.