NEW ORLEANS, LA – WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, SF Racing, and Head of Plains Partners’ Good Samaritan handily won with relative ease in Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds.
Breaking from post 5 under Joel Rosario, Good Samaritan made his customary early move to the very rear of the field (at one point, sitting over 8 lengths behind the leader) while the post time favorite The Player led through initial fractions of :23.88, :48.18, and 1:11.85. Rosario gave Good Samaritan the cue nearing the far turn, rallying through and emerging five-wide onto the long Fair Grounds stretch. The Bill Mott trainee only needed one tap of the whip to take off, crossing the wire under a mild hand ride in a final time of 1:49.87 for the 1 1/8-mile main track event.
“It was nice to see them pressing toward the middle of the backside,” said Riley Mott, who saddled the winner for his dad. “Joel knows the horse and he knows he’ll give him a run. We were confident he’d put in the run that he did, and he had the long stretch to do it, and it all worked out.”
Hollywood Handsome took second, finishing 2 1/4 lengths back of the winner. Scuba took third, while Han Sense tired down the stretch and completed the order of finish. The Player began fading in the far turn before appearing to take a bad step near the 5/16-pole, then was pulled up and vanned off. Leofric was scratched.
Good Samaritan’s win came in his first start of 2018. The 4-year-old son of Harlan’s Holiday improved his record to 11-4-3-1, while the $240,000 winner’s share of the purse pushed his career earnings past the seven-figure mark (now at $1,191,116).
“He’s a pure racehorse,” Riley Mott said. “He can run on dirt, turf, multiple distances. We really have an array of options, but we’d love to get a Grade 1 on the dirt with him; that’s the primary goal.”
Good Samaritan returned $4.60 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.20 to show. Hollywood Handsome brought back $7.40 to place and $4.20 to show, while Scuba paid $2.80 to show.
The Player’s trainer, William “Buff” Bradley, later confirmed to DRF that his horse had fractured both sesamoid bones in his right front leg and would be undergoing surgery on Monday in an effort to repair his leg. The injury is very similar to the one that Irap suffered shortly after finishing the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby last September. Though the surgery was successful, Irap soon succumbed to laminitis, an (often lethal) disease of the hoof. All of us at RacingDudes.com wish the very best for The Player and hope that his surgery is successful.