Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ooh la la! Viva la French Park

In today's issue of the Daily Racing Form, Marcus Hersh wrote a nice little article about Helen Pitts. You may know her as the former assistant to trainer Ken "Bloodstock" McPeek. Or perhaps from foxhunting with her in her youth. Regardless, she is now a full-fledged head trainer, responsible for a stable full of horses. And that includes the very impressive 3-year-old filly, French Park.

My first introduction to French Park was back in early November in the Pocahontas Stakes (Gr III). She had one and only race in her then-2-year-old career, and it consisted of an eye-popping Beyer Speed Figure of 95, and she had won the MSW by more than 12 lengths. Like many horseplayers, I can be skeptical of big Beyer scores in career debuts. Can the horse duplicate the performance, especially as a 2-year-old? Toss in the factors of stretching out and graded stakes, and I spend a little more time viewing the competition.

French Park, I decided, required a modest wager. Apparently, I was not the only one, as she did go off as a soft favorite that day. And she displayed that she is the real deal.

Later in the month, she won the Golden Rod Stakes (Gr II). And from what I read and reviewed from that race, she rallied from the back. She gave it the gas when asked.

This weekend, French Park is slated for the Silverbulletday Stakes (Gr III) at the Fair Grounds Meet at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City. Jockey Mark Guidry won't be aboard, but she gets Calvin Borel, no slouch at LaD (17%).

Message to Helen: I'm glad that you didn't select foxhunting as a career. Keep up the good work! And Viva la French Park!

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