12/13/2014 7:05PM

Our Quista beats elders in Louisiana Champions Day Ladies

Email
Lou Hodges Jr.
Our Quista and jockey Corey Lanerie win the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies on Saturday.

NEW ORLEANS – It has been two years since Louisiana-born jockey Corey Lanerie last rode regularly at a Fair Grounds meet. But on Louisiana Champions Day on Saturday, Lanerie showed he still knows his way around the New Orleans track.

Setting a slow pace on Our Quista in the Champions Day Ladies, Lanerie had a strong filly for the long stretch. She kicked away to a 2 1/2-length victory over I Dazzle. Blading Wild Cat finished third, another 1 1/2 lengths back, in a field of 13 older fillies and mares.

Earlier on the card, Lanerie, who was shipping in from Gulfstream Park, won the Classic on Sunbean. "It's easy on good horses,'' Lanerie said of his successful return.

In the Ladies, Our Quista, a 3-year-old filly facing elders for the first time, had the No. 4 post. Lanerie said he saw that the other speed elements were starting on the outside, so his strategy was to get the early lead and hope that the others with speed would take back. The race developed the way he drew it up.

Our Quista, trained by Al Cates for owners Eugenia Thompson and Hickory Stables, ran the first quarter-mile in 24.29 seconds, the half in 48.95, and six furlongs in 1:14.10.

"I felt a little pressure on the backside, but she gave me enough to stay in front,'' Lanerie said.

On the final turn, Blading Wild Cat tried to press, but Our Quista turned her away as they reached the stretch. With plenty of energy left to hold off the late runners, she completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.40. She paid $10.60.

Our Quista, who hadn't raced since defeating 3-year-old Louisiana-breds in the Elge Rasberry on Aug. 2 at Louisiana Downs, has won four of seven career starts. She boosted her earnings to $216,800.

Wind Chill Factor rolls in Lassie

Improving her record in Louisiana-bred stakes company to 2 for 2, Wind Chill Factor stormed from off a fast pace to win the Champions Day Lassie for 2-year-old fillies by 4 3/4 lengths.

Ridden by Willie Martinez for trainer Gary Scherer, also a co-owner with Al and Bill Ulwelling, Wind Chill Factor settled on the outside, about four lengths off the pace, on the run down the backstretch. The pace was solid.

The favorede Vivian Da Bling, stalked by Jumelaka and Sibling War, ran the first quarter-mile in 21.74 seconds and the half in 45.47.

"It set up perfect, just like Gary and I talked about,'' Martinez said.

Turning into the stretch, Wind Chill Factor was looming on the outside, and she cruised to the lead inside the quarter pole. She kicked clear in midstretch and pulled away.

Lady Emily Sage, a 125-1 shot, rallied to grab second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Vivian Da Bling in an 11-filly field. Wind Chill Factor ran the six furlongs in 1:11.67 and paid $8.40 to win.

She was cutting back in distance, having won the Louisiana Jewel, a one-mile race on the Delta Jackpot undercard Nov. 22, in her last start. She debuted with a victory in open company against maidens in August at Canterbury Park. In her only loss, she finished third while sprinting in allowance company at Keeneland.

Afternoon Tango rallies in Ladies Sprint

After settling at the back of the pack early, the 4-year-old filly Afternoon Tango unleashed a powerful stretch run to win the Ladies Sprint by two lengths over Blessed Immaculata.

With Diego Saenz aboard for trainer Pat Devereux Jr. and Aulty Lowry Jr.'s Big Aut Farm, Afternoon Tango relaxed on the run down the backstretch as Nurse Emmielle, Wire Me Bessie and Platinum Lady contested the pace. The fractions were solid – 21.98 seconds for the first quarter-mile and 46.27 for the half.

Inside the quarter pole, Afternoon Tango was sitting behind a wall of rivals, but Saenz let her drift to the outside for running room. She kicked into high gear and pulled away late, running the six furlongs in 1:11.84 to earn her second stakes victory. She won the Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on Aug. 2 at Louisiana Downs the last time she faced Louisiana-breds.

Wire Me Bessie finished third, a head behind Blessed Immaculata, in a field of nine older fillies and mares.