Star Guitar colt Touchuponastar, ridden by Timothy Thornton, wins the Louisiana Champions Day Classic
Set-Hut LLC’s 3-year-old Touchuponastar tallied the biggest win of his career when leading a every pointing of call and coasting to a 4 ¾-length win Saturday in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds.
The victory marked two Champions Day stakes wins for Touchuponastar’s sire, Clear Creek Stud resident Star Guitar, and his breeder, Keith and Ginger Myers’ Coteau Grove Farms in Sunset, Louisiana. Star Guitar also sired A G’s Charlotte, who scored in the $100,000 Ladies Distaff, and Coteau Grove Farms also bred Late September, winner of the $100,000 Juvenile.
Ridden by Timothy Thornton for trainer Jeff Delhomme, Touchuponastart set an uncontested pace, was briefly headed by runner-up Behemah Star nearing the stretch, but easily rebuffed that rival when called upon in early stretch, cruised clear. He returned $12.40 for the win.
Who Took the Money was third.
“We knew he was a special horse all along,” Thornton said. “We knew we were coming here to beat (favorite) Who Took the Money, but when I was able to get that first quarter as slow as I was going, I thought Calhoun’s horse (Highland Creek) was going to pressure me. When they left me alone, I knew I was going to have plenty left, and he was definitely able to show how special he is today.”
Touchuponastar covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.66 on track rated as fast while earning his first stakes win and improving to 4-1-1 from six lifetime starts, all this year. The $90,000 winner’s share of the Classic purse boosted his career earnings to $163,100.
Produced by the Lion Heart mare Touch Magic, Touchuponastar was a $15,000 purchased by Jake Delhomme’s Set-Hut at the 2020 Texas Thoroughbred Association’s Yearling and Horses of Racing Age Sale, where Eaton Sales consigned.
“He’s young and has a big future ahead of him,” Jeff Delhomme said of Touchuponastar. “We were leaning towards the Classic the entire time (instead of the Sprint). We didn’t run in the prep because earlier in the career we swung back in three weeks, and we think that ended up being a little too fast. It opens a lot of doors for us to be able to get nine furlongs, even outside Louisiana-bred horses.”
Also on the Champions Day card, Thomas M. Galvin’s homebred A G’s Charlotte ($2.90) snatched slim lead from pacesetter Winning Romance at the three-sixteenths pole, then battled that determined rival to wire to win by Ladies Distaff by a nose in a thrilling finish. Marcellino Pedroza Jr. was aboard for trainer Patricia West and coaxed the best from his mount, who completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.72 while besting 3-5 favorite Winning Romance by the slimmest of margins, her fourth win from 10 starts this year and second straight stakes victory. It was 7 3/4 lengths back to third-place finisher Fort Polk in the eight-horse field. A G’s Charlotte is a 3-year-old daughter of Mo Tom out of the Indygo Shiner mare Adrianne G.
Kevin Stedman’s Late September drove to a 2 1/4 length triumph in the Juvenile, covering six furlongs in 1:11:04 under Jose Rodriguez. Trained by Jose Camejo, the Munnings colt won for the third time from six outings and increased his lifetime bankroll to $166,120. Tumbarumba, the 3-5 favorite, last of seven runners at the half-mile mark, rallied between horses in the final furlong to take second, four lengths in front of Calicoco. Late September, who returned $12, was bred by Coteau Grove Farms from the Lemon Drop Kid mare Hello Maggie May.
Camejo and Rodriguez also teamed with Brittlyn Stable’s homebred Ova Charged ($2.40), who scored a repeat win in the $100,000 Ladies Sprint Stakes. The daughter of Star Guitar out of the Dehere mare Charged Cotton led gate to wire over three overmatched rivals while rolling to a 4 3/4-length win in 1:10.38 for the six furlongs. The win was the fifth consecutive for the 4-year-old filly. Free Like a Girl was second, and Spirited Beauty was a third. There was no show wagering.
Kendel Standlee’s homebred Big Chopper rolled from off a :44.79 opening half mile to win the $100,000 Sprint going away at 6-1 for trainer Scott Gelner and jockey Corey Lanerie. He was followed home in by longshots Relentless Dancer (15-1) and Mike J (46-1). After pressing into a hot pace, 2-1 favorite Bertie’s Galaxy finished last of the 12. Big Chopper, a 3-year-old Shackleford colt out of the Unusual Heat mare Miss Well Molded, was timed in 1:10.24 for the six furlongs, notching his second stakes triumph and returning $15 for the win.
Mansfield Racing’s highly regarded Free Drop Maddy ($4.40) held off favorite Norah G by a neck under Reylu Gutierrez to win the $100,000 Lassie. Fair Grounds leading trainer Bret Calhoun won the Lassie for a second time after scoring in 2009 with Speedacious. Free Drop Maddy covered six furlongs in 1:11.66 while earning her third stakes win. The daughter of Free Drop Billy out of the Half Ours mare Solo Buena, bred by Clear Creek Stud, never finished off the board in six lifetime starts. Her career line stands at 3-1-2 and earnings of $225,800.