Updated on 09/16/2011 8:52AM

'Walk in Snow' wins Classic


NEW ORLEANS - The Louisiana Champions Day Classic shaped up a match race, but one of the duelers failed to fire. Favored Walk in the Snow ran hard in the stretch to post a 2 1/4-length win, but defending champion Oak Hall lost his position a half-mile from the finish and checked in fourth.

The $150,000 Classic capped a great year for Walk in the Snow ($3.40) and another successful Champions Day for Fair Grounds, which drew a crowd of 4,147 for a 10-stakes program run on a lovely afternoon.

Like many Louisiana-breds, Walk in the Snow is a mom-and-pop horse. Purchased as a weanling as part of a package deal, Walk in the Snow was raised in Cajun country by trainer Herman Taylor at his family farm. A precocious 2-year-old last season, Walk in the Snow finished second in the Champions Day Juvenile last season before going down with an injury that required surgery and rest.

Walk in the Snow, a gelding, had made three starts in sprints after returning to the races this season when Taylor decided to try him over a route of ground. The choice has been a rousing success as Walk in the Snow finished second in the Grade 2 Super Derby and now has won three races in a row, all in stakes competition.

Saturday, jockey Kirk Leblanc let Walk in the Snow settle in fourth place behind a moderate early pace. Oak Hall, who was 7-5 on Saturday, had the jump on Walk in the Snow, but after coming between horses on the backstretch, he was shut off and had to take back and swing around the two leaders, Samlot and Prince Slew. It was just then that Walk in the Snow started rolling.

Leaving Oak Hall in his wake, he came up to the leaders on the far turn and moved to challenge Prince Slew at the top of the stretch. Prince Slew fought back, and it was not until the final half-furlong that Walk in the Snow pulled away to victory.

He ran 1 1/18 miles in 1:51.33, while Prince Slew easily held second over Samlot, who was followed by Oak Hall and Pancho Pete.