Mischievous Rogue (Photo by Hodges Photography)

Caramel Chip Cruises In Claiming Crown Ready’s Rocket Express
After stalking duelers Concrete Glory and High Cruise through the first call, Caramel Chip wasted no time moving for the lead in the far turn before pulling away down the stretch to win the $75,000 Ready’s Rocket Express at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots by 3 ½ lengths. Beverly Park, who won his 15th race of 2023 on New Year’s Eve at Fair Grounds, kicked home strongly to finish second.

Owned by Bianco Stables and trained by Jose D’Angelo, the 5-year-old by Midshipman handled the slopy track to finish the six furlongs in 1:10.25 with Florent Geroux in the irons. Sent off as the 2-1 second favorite, Caramel Chip paid $6.60. Seven of Caramel Chip’s 10 wins have come in 2023 along with the lion’s share of his $286,490 lifetime earnings.

Florent Geroux, jockey on the winner Concrete Glory
“The trainer seemed confident. He said he shipped the horse in early and told me he’s going to run big for you. I was following the 4 (Concrete Glory) and as soon as the 6 (High Cruise) headed him, he drifted out of contention, so I thought you know what I’ll keep it simple and make my way around the 6 and secure my spot. If the 4 was going forward, I would’ve followed him. Those starter horses are good horses. If you want to win you’ve got to run a 90 Beyer.”

Marcelino Pedroza Jr., jockey on place-finisher Beverly Park
“He ran a great race. When we turned for home I thought we were going to win it. But the other horse was going really well too. Beverly Warrior is a true warrior. I was on him here at Fair Grounds when he won number 15 last year and he’s running just as well now.

Xylophone’s Trip Fits $100,000 Glass Slipper Perfectly
Staying wide and looking for room to open up Xylophone in Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ long stretch, Mitchell Murrill piloted Xylophone victoriously from off the pace in the $100,000 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper. Finishing 3 ¾ lengths back in second, My Good Fortune rounded out the Chris Hartman Glass Slipper exacta. Run at one mile, Xylophone beat the field of nine fillies and mares home in 1:39.02.

Owned by Joseph Longtin and trained by Chris Hartman, the 5-year-old mare has now amassed $189,224 in career earnings with a lifetime record of 31-6-6-1. Xylophone paid $8.80 as the public’s top choice.

Mitchell Murrill, jockey aboard Glass Slipper winner, Xylophone
“With all this rain, Chris (Hartman) and I discussed it this morning that sitting on that far turn and keeping her four or five off the rail was the trip we wanted. Get a good clean path on the high ground then I could pick my spot down the lane. It seemed to work out perfectly. Each stride down the lane she kept reaching and reaching and reaching, so I knew it was over turning for home.”

Patient Rides by Graham Prove Successful Aboard Anatolian in Tiara and Time for Trouble in Iron Horse
After staying away from the fray down the backside, Anatolian muscled his way through and drove clear to win the $150,000 Tiara on Claiming Crown Day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Finishing 2 ½ lengths ahead of Enchanted Nile, Anatolian stopped the clock going 1 1/16 miles over a sloppy main track in 1:46.11. The Tiara was taken off the turf.

Owned by Jordan Wycoff, Anatolian extended trainer Mike Maker’s record number of Claiming Crown wins to 22. Piloted by Jockey James Graham, the 4-year-old son of Not This Time now has $313,840 in the bank through a career record of 13-5-2-0. Anatolian paid $5.00.

James Graham’s natural Claiming Crown double covered the Tiara and Iron Horse, securing Graham’s career wins number 2,998 and 2,999.

At the 1/8th pole, four of the eleven 3-year-old and up males looked like potential winners of the $75,000 Iron Horse Kent Stirling Memorial, but Time for Trouble launched the winning rally to outgame Proverb by a head.

Owned by Thorndale Stable and trained by Jeff Hiles, the 6-year-old by English Channel covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.17. With the Iron Hose score, Time for Trouble now has a career record of 28-10-4-0 totaling $450,757 in lifetime earnings. The post-time favorite paid $4.20.

James Graham, jockey of Tiara winner Anatolian
“I felt I let her do a little too much early on, so I settled there behind the group down the backside going into the second turn. Let her carry me a little more before I pushed on her. At no point did I ever feel like we were getting beat.”

James Graham, jockey of Iron Horse winner Time for Trouble
“Down the backside I’m off the bridle and I’m saying ‘stay where you’re at, don’t drop back anymore just stay.’ And he did. I thought we can get a piece of it. I had to take a little hold of him and he started pulling and at the 3/8ths pole once he spurted I said it’s over. When you ride good horses it’s easy to be patient because they hit the holes when you need to.”

Mischievous Rogue Travels Comfortably Winning Tom Metzen
Given a perfect off the pace trip by jockey Luan Machado, Mischievous Rogue travelled comfortably off the pace saving ground before swinging wide out of the far turn to fly home and win the $150,000 Canterbury Tom Metzen Memorial by 3 ½ lengths at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Taken off the turf but still run at 5 ½ furlongs, the final time for the sixth Claiming Crown race on the card was 1:04.20.

After pressing Bodenheimer through the first three calls, Counterstrike fought off late bids to finish second.

Owned by Southern Comfort Stables and trained by William Cowans, the Into Mischief 5-year-old was guided perfectly by the “Axe Man” Luan Machado for his first career win at Fair Grounds. Through a career of 18 races, Mischievous Rogue has now won 6, amassing $411,297 in purses.

Luan Machado, jockey aboard winner Mischievous Rogue
“He had never run on a sloppy track like this. I don’t think it’s about me. I let them feel comfortable and make their own run, and that’s what we got today with Mischievous Rogue.”

Richiesonaroll Survives New Tactics Winning Rapid Transit Photo Finish
Speedster Richiesonaroll came from off the pace to win the Claiming Crown $100,000 Raid Transfer Starter at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. A 3-year-old facing older company, the Illinois-bred traveled in fifth of ten through the stretch call before floating out and kicking strongly through the final stages. Prevailing past tiring rivals and surviving a photo finish a neck over Startdfromdabottom.

Owned and trained by Jose G. Rodriguez, Richiesonaroll was piloted by Emmanuel Giles. Covering 6-furlongs over a sloppy sealed track in 1:10.64, the long shot winner paid $33.60. Richiesonaroll now has a career record of 13-4-5-0 with $143,170 in the bank.

Jose G. Rodriguez, trainer and owner of winner Richiesonaroll
“Giles rode confidently through the wire. I wasn’t sure we won the photo. Wins like this don’t come very often. There was a lot of speed but we didn’t plan out a perfect trip. It worked out and we are glad for it.”