JAMES GRAHAM, TOM AMOSS, MAGGI MOSS WIN FAIR GROUNDS TITLES; INTERNATIONAL STAR & IíM A CHATTERBOX TIE FOR HORSE OF THE MEET
NEW ORLEANS (March 30, 2015) Ė Three players who teamed up for several scores throughout the 143rd thoroughbred racing season were named meet champions at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots where James Graham was named leading rider, Tom Amoss named leading trainer and Maggi Moss named leading owner. A pair of 3-year-olds who swept the sophomore stakes in their respective divisions, International Star and Iím a Chatterbox, were named co-horses of the meet in a tied vote.
James Graham, second in the Fair Grounds rider standings on four occasions, captured his first meet title at the New Orleans oval, tallying 106 wins over the 81-day meet, earning more than $3.2 million in purses. The 106 wins gave Graham his best Fair Grounds meet, a one-win improvement upon his 105 wins in the 2013-2014 racing season and provided him a 34-win margin of victory over his closest pursuers in the standings. Grahamís biggest win of the season came in the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap last Saturday aboard Call Me George, a 22-1 outsider. Not only was the New Orleans Handicap the most prestigious win of the meet for Graham, it also marked his 2,000th career win as a rider.
New Orleans native Tom Amoss captured his 11th Fair Grounds training title and second in the last three years when recording 41 victories, six more than his closest challenger while his runners collected a meet-leading $1.29 million in earnings from 152 starts. Ranked second all time in training wins at the Fair Grounds, Amoss has now recorded 1,051 victories at his hometown racecourse, second only to Hall of Famer Jack Van Bergís estimated 1,210 local wins.
Maggi Moss once again prevailed as leading owner, with her 15 wins earning her a fifth consecutive year atop the standings. Mossí runners earned $437,695 while finishing in the Exacta 52% of the time. Her royal blue and lime green silks could be found in the winnerís circle after several stakes races, including the Thanksgiving Handicap and Bonapaw Stakes with stable star Delaunay, and with Grand Contender after capturing the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes Ė both runners are conditioned by leading trainer Tom Amoss.
The series of Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks preps at Fair Grounds was little more than a two-horse show this season, with both International Star and Iím a Chatterbox sweeping the trio of stakes in their respective divisions, earning them the shared title of Horse of the Meet. International Star, owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey and conditioned by Mike Maker, posted three impressive victories this year under jockey Miguel Mena, proving best in the Grade III Lecomte, the Grade II Risen Star and the Grade II Louisiana Derby. His counterpart in the 3-year-old filly division was Fletcher and Caryolyn Grayís Larry Jones-trained Iím a Chatterbox, who was successfully guided to victory in three dramatically differing styles by jockey Florent Geroux in the Listed Silverbulletday Stakes, the Grade III Rachel Alexandra and the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks.
Voted on by 15 members of the media, the Fair Grounds racing office and the Fair Grounds publicity team, both International Star and Iím a Chatterbox received seven votes, with owner-trainer Jorge Gomezís hard-knocking Louisiana-bred Udoknowjack receiving one vote after winning four races at the meet including Saturdayís Star Guitar Stakes.
About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nationís third-oldest racetrack, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 11 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 143rd Thoroughbred Racing Season Ė highlighted by the 102nd running of the Louisiana Derby Ė will run from November 2014 through March 2015. More information can be found online at www.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com