NEW ORLEANS, LA – AJ Suited Racing Stable’s Dontblamerocket scorched the Fair Grounds turf course on Saturday, pulling away strongly in the stretch to win the $125,000 Colonel E. R. Bradley Stakes.
Breaking from post 4 under Julien Leparoux at 6/1 odds, Dontblamerocket bumped with Space Mountain and Sailing Solo to his outside at the start before settling into a well-off-the-pace third. Sailing Solo and Factor This dueled up front through opening fractions of :22.76, :46.95, and 1:10.60, but their sizeable early lead wore off as Dontblamerocket narrowed the gap.
Tipped out to run three-wide at the top pair, Dontblamerocket engaged his boosters and quickly shot past them on his way to the front. Continuing to draw away in the stretch, the Norm Casse trainee crossed 3 lengths the best in a final time of 1:40.55 for the 1 1/16-mile event over the firm turf course.
“He did great,” Leparoux said. “We had a great trip. We stayed a couple lengths behind the two leaders and he was traveling around nice and relaxed. When I asked him, strong and was trying very hard for me.”
Midnight Tea Time advanced in the stretch from his mid-pack position to take second over a weakening Factor This. Captivating Moon headed Sailing Solo for fourth, while Space Mountain was a neck back in sixth.
Completing the order of finish, Parlor took seventh by a neck over Mr. Misunderstood, the 3/2 favorite who never factored into the running.
Tone Broke, Blended Citizen, Silver Dust, and Roiland scratched in favor of running in the Louisiana Stakes (G3) one race earlier on the card. My Boy Jack and Temple were also scratched.
Dontblamerocket’s win came in his stakes debut and was his third straight since Casse claimed him for $50,000 on May 24, 2019. The 6-year-old gelded son of Blame improved his record to 14-7-2-3 with $276,650 earned.
“We had a big run around the turn and the race was over after that,” Casse said. “I think everybody dreams of winning a stakes race off the claim. I think we have been really successful doing it (claiming) just because we are realistic. Horses kind of dictate our decisions. This horse deserved to be in stake races because he had earned it. We look forward to seeing what he will do after this. I’d say that would be ideal thing to do is stay at Fair Grounds for the series (of turf stakes (Fair Grounds Stakes up next on February. 15).”
Dontblamerocket returned $14.80 to win, $7.80 to place, and $5 to show. Midnight Tea Time brought back $15.40 to place and $8.80 to show, while Factor This paid $5.80 to show.