NEW ORLEANS, LA – Maxis Stable’s Enterprising benefited from a ground-saving trip under Tyler Gaffalione to come out a neck ahead on the winning end of a three-horse photo in the Grade 2, $300,000 Muniz Memorial Handicap, the marquee turf event of the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots meet.
Wimborne Farm’s Ignacio Correas IV-trained race favorite Kasaqui closed stoutly for second under Robby Albarado, a nose ahead of Oscar Nominated, who was close to the early pace and held on for third for Florent Geroux and trainer Mike Maker.
A 6-year-old Florida-bred by Elusive Quality, the winner completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.41 over a turf course rated good.
Breaking from the inside post, Gaffalione settled Enterprising in mid-pack, keeping him on the rail around the first turn and down the backside. Into the far turn, they shifted out one path to move into striking position before finding daylight on the inside again, assuming the lead approaching the 1/16-pole.
“We saved all the ground, and when we came into the stretch, the rail opened and my horse hit the hole running,” said Gaffalione, who was riding at Fair Grounds for the first time.
Kasaqui rallied from the back of the pack but had to circle five-wide into the stretch. Oscar Nominated, meanwhile, had a clean trip closer to the pace but gave up ground three-wide on both turns.
“I had a great trip. I saved ground on both turns,” Albarado said. “I came out turning for home and he ran hard. I can’t take anything away from the winner.”
Longshot Sky Flight set moderate fractions of 23,77, 48.27, and 1:11.90 before retreating sharply. Bullards Alley, last from the start through the 3/4 mar, charged late to get fourth. One Mean Man, Special Ops, Blarp, Granny’s Kitten, Roman Approval, Pumpkin Rumble, and Sky Flight completed the order of finish.
Enterprising also won last month’s Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap and hasn’t finished out of the money in eight starts since being turned over to trainer Mike Maker. The $180,000 winner’s share of the purse boosted his career earnings to $774,040 from nine wins in 29 starts.
Enterprising returned $14.20, $5.80, and $3.60. Kasaqui brought back $3.60 and $2.60, while Oscar Nominated paid $3 to show.
Fair Grounds Race Course