New Orleans native Ron Faucheux earned his third consecutive training title with 42 wins at the Fair Grounds meeting which concluded Sunday. The trainer’s title went down to meet’s last day as Bret Calhoun, the early leader who was in search of his first local crown, and four-time champ Brad Cox were both in striking range, but had to settle for a tie for second with 37 wins apiece.
With 64 wins, Rey Gutierrez captured the first leading rider title of his young career. The 27-year-old’s top moment came when Southlawn (Pioneerof the Nile) posted an upset in the GII Fair Grounds Oaks, offering personal redemption for Gutierrez after he and his mount Hidden Connection finished a diminishing nose shy of Echo Zulu last year.
With 20 wins from 137 starts in their first full meet at Fair Grounds, Genesis and Sylvia Castillo’s L and G Racing Stable won the track’s owners’ race.
Fair Grounds offered the richest stakes schedule in Louisiana history at $8.5 million during its 151st season of racing, with the Mar. 25 Louisiana Derby Day card leading the way with a $3.1-million single-card record for purses offered in the state.
“Our 151st season was one for the books,” Fair Grounds president Doug Shipley said. “Throughout the entire season our racing team proved once again they are the best in the business. Starting with an amazing Thanksgiving celebration to kick off the season and finishing with a fairytale ending with the Shantel Lanerie Second Line celebration. There were tears on the course this year as jockey Corey Lanerie returned to Fair Grounds to take home the win in the race named to honor his beloved-by-all wife. Their daughter Brittlyn served as the Grand Marshal for the Second Line walk completing out the season with full hearts all around.”
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