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NEW ORLEANS, LA – Barry and Carol Conrad’s New Boss passed her two-turn debut with flying colors, as she set an extremely slow early pace and easily held off favored Saranya for a 2 3/4-length win in the featured $75,000 Allen “Black Cat” LaCombe Memorial for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
New Boss (5/2) broke running under Adam Beschizza and assumed the early lead, walking through early fractions of 25.36 and 50.64 while Spun d’Etat shadowed her a 1/2-length behind. Saranya, favored at 8/5, lagged in eighth and Earth Strike, the third choice at 9/2, was sixth, which clearly put them behind the eight-ball.
Beschizza let New Boss run off the far turn and she immediately kicked clear, opening up an insurmountable 5-length lead in midstretch. She coasted home well ahead of Saranya, who ran well to salvage second, 1 3/4 lengths clear of Earth Strike in third. New Boss completed the about 1-mile distance in 1:38.94 over a firm Stall-Wilson Turf Course.
New Boss, a daughter of Street Boss, went 1-for-3 on dirt to begin her career for trainer Bret Calhoun but blossomed when she tried turf to end 2020. She was second sprinting in an optional-claimer December 6 then easily broke through at that level by 4 1/2 lengths some 22 days later. Calhoun backed off after that sharp win and aimed for the LaCombe, which was New Boss’ first two-turn start. He entered the stakes debut with an equal amount of confidence and trepidation.
“Obviously it was a big question (going the distance), a couple of months in between races and a speed filly stretching out,” Calhoun said. “The thing I liked is when she won last time, she was under a little pressure and it didn’t seem to bother her at all. She rated very kindly. Obviously it’s a lot of difference between 5 ½ and a mile, but she gave us the indication she would settle. Obviously with no pace in here today, we kind of had it our own way, and that was a big key. I think it opens up a lot of options for us.”
Beschizza got aboard New Boss in her turf debut and was up for the win last time, which gave him plenty of confidence for her two-turn debut.
“She’s a real versatile filly and even the thought of going from 5 ½ (furlongs) to a mile was never an issue,” Beschizza said. She’s so chilled out with her mind. (Stretching out from) 5 ½ (furlongs) she had that good gate speed to secure a lead. With her good mind, she settled. She has a real explosive kick, which can get you out of trouble. I think this is a filly that can really move forward off of this.”
Saranya entered off back-to-back local wins for trainer Brad Cox and ran well in defeat, but was a victim of circumstance. The daughter of The Factor broke her maiden on the lead in January then closed from sixth to win an optional-claimer February 5. Shaun Bridgmohan was aboard for that last win and left with a bit of a helpless feeling.
“I had a great trip around there but unfortunately I had no pace to run at,” Bridgmohan said. “She was comfortable and I had to ride her from there, but I just wish I had something to run at because she was full of run.”
Oak Tree Stable’s homebred Offspring took advantage of a race flow that played to her strengths, got first run on defending champion Net a Bear, and easily held that rival at bay for a 1 3/4-length win in Saturday’s $60,000 Red Camelia for state-bred fillies at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The win helped make amends for her third-place finish as the favorite behind Room to Finish and Net a Bear in the local Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Turf in December.
Brian Hernandez Jr. kept Offspring (3/1) in close attendance to a dawdling early pace as Marywood got loose and carved out tepid fractions of 25.10 and 50.65. Meanwhile, even-money favorite Room to Finish was a compromised fifth along the rail early and Net a Bear took all the worst of it as she settled in last in the field of 8.
The tempo quickened entering the far turn. Marywood came under fire and Offspring was produced four-wide while taking dead aim on the leader with Room to Finish taking an inside route and Net a Bear rallying widest of all. Offspring took charge in deep stretch as Marywood relented and Net a Bear closed fastest of all to secure the place by a 1/2-length over the game pacesetter, with Room to Finish a disappointing sixth.
Offspring finished the about 1-mile distance in 1:39.80 over a firm Stall-Wilson Turf Course.
“We were able to get the perfect trip from the outside,” Hernandez Jr. said. “We were able to slide over to the 2-path and here on this grass course it makes a big difference to save all the ground as much as possible and that’s what we were able to do today. It makes it easy when you have a filly like her that was taking me there the whole way.”
Oak Tree Stable bred Offspring, a 5-year-old daughter of Into Mischief, but sold her at auction for $130,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company June 2018 Two-Year-Olds & Horses of Racing Age Sale. She went 3-for-13 for trainer Carlo Vaccarezza , which included a pair of state-bred optional-claiming wins over the Stall-Wilson in March of 2020, then struggled in a pair of off-the-board finishes in Kentucky last September and October.
Trainer Joe Sharp claimed her for her breeders for $62,500 at Keeneland in October with an eye to the state-bred grass stakes this winter in New Orleans and Offspring rewarded her old but new connections with a strong third here behind Room to Finish and Net a Bear in the Ladies Turf. She hit the board in a pair of off-the-turf races here in January and February but clearly relished getting back to the Stall-Wilson while moving her lifetime mark to 4-for-17.
“She’s really just had tough luck with the weather this meet and we obviously know grass is her preferred surface,” Sharp said. “She’s just an honest mare that’s made a living all winter off-the-turf and making he best of bad situations. I was happy for her to be able to get the stakes win that she needed for her future.”
Room to Finish couldn’t double up on her Ladies Turf win over her two biggest rivals while running for the fourth time at the meet for trainer Wayne Catalano. The 6-year-old daughter of Giant Oak was also second in the open Marie Krantz Memorial in January and entered off an eighth-place finish in the open Albert M. Stall Memorial March 6. Room to Finish hugged the rail much of the way in the Red Camelia under Adam Beschizza but couldn’t deliver her patented late run behind the slow early fractions.
“The pace didn’t help,” Beschizza said. “She’d rather be held together than having to chase her. I was happy and comfortable where I was but they just didn’t come back to me. She was beaten fair and square.”
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