01/19/2012 5:55PM

Fair Grounds: Gaudin looks like Thanksgiving revisited

Lynn Roberts
Gantry (outside) edges Cash Refund in the Thanksgiving Handicap.

The first of six stakes comes early on the Road to the Derby Kickoff Day card on Saturday at Fair Grounds, with race 4, the $75,000 F.W. Gaudin Memorial Stakes, which drew just five entrants from 12 nominations.

Gantry, Cash Refund, and Joe Hollywood, the respective 1-2-3 finishers from the Thanksgiving Handicap on opening day of the 2011-12 meet, are all back for the six-furlong Gaudin.

Of those, only Joe Hollywood has raced in the interim, and he could come favored Saturday off that sparkling effort, a Dec. 26 allowance romp in which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 99. Joe Hollywood was the 2-1 favorite when Gantry and Cash Refund drew away from him in the Thanksgiving ‘Cap, but many fans should prove forgiving about that occurrence, especially in light of the latest score.

Joe Hollywood, with Rosie Napravnik back to ride, will break from post 1. Steve Asmussen trains the 4-year-old Congrats colt for the Whispering Oaks Farm LLC.

The balance lines up outward from post 2: Cash Refund, Mambo Galliano, Smokethruakeyhole, and Gantry.