02/02/2013 12:36PM

Fair Grounds: Stall wins 3-year-old allowance races with Departing, Sunbean


Trainer Al Stall came out of Friday night’s races at Fair Grounds with two 3-year-olds who could start next in Kentucky Derby prep races. Departing ran his record to 2 for 2 by winning an open allowance race by 4 1/4 lengths, while Sunbean captured a Louisiana-bred allowance race by 1 3/4 lengths.

Both horses were making their first start around two turns, and both relaxed nicely during the running. Sunbean’s restricted-race win actually was faster than Departing’s open win, with Sunbean timed in 1:44.10 for a mile and 70 yards, Departing in 1:44.34. Departing’s race unfolded at a slower tempo, with a half-mile split about one second slower than in Sunbean’s race. Departing, making the lead easily at the top of the stretch, finished strongly and galloped out very well.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Stall said Saturday morning that the horses had come out of their respective starts in good order, and that both were possible runners in the Feb. 23 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. Departing, a son of War Front bred and owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, “has a good foundation under him,” Stall said, suggesting a fairly quick turnaround for the Risen Star wouldn’t be excessively taxing. If more time between starts seems desirable, Stall has a barn at Oaklawn Park and could divert one or both horses to the 3-year-old series there. Sunbean, a son of Brahms, was bred and is owned by Maurice and Evelyn Benoit’s Brittlyn Stables. Brian Hernandez Jr. rode Departing, while his brother, Colby Hernandez, had the mount on Sunbean.

Friday’s Fair Grounds card probably produced a starter for the Feb. 23 Rachel Alexandra Stakes in Promise Me More. Trained by Wes Hawley, Promise Me More was making her first start since Oct. 19 when she  rallied solidly to win a first-level two-turn allowance race by a half-length under Miguel Mena. Hawley said the Rachel Alexandra was Promise Me More’s intended next race, and mentioned the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland as a longer-term goal.

Napravnik okay after spill

Leading Fair Grounds rider Rosie Napravnik escaped injury when she was thrown to the track just after the start of the 10th race Friday night. Napravnik’s mount Yoshimi Pink propped and dropped Napravnik at the break.