Mandaloun (left) with jockey Florent Geroux aboard captures the 49th running of the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 13, 2021. Hodges Photography / Jan Brubaker

Mandaloun Set to Make Seasonal Bow in Louisiana Stakes

Edited Press Release

Juddmonte’s homebred Grade 1 winner Mandaloun is set to use Fair Grounds as the launching pad for his 4-year-old campaign when he makes his seasonal bow in the $150,000 Louisiana Stakes on Jan. 22 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. 

“That’s our plan,” trainer Brad Cox said. “He’s really come to hand quick. He looks amazing. Happy with the way his weight is and how he’s taken shape. Excited about getting him back going this year and we will see how things go on Jan. 22.”

Mandaloun has proven form over the Fair Grounds surface, winning the Risen Star Stakes (G2) last February following a third-place run in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes. The son of Into Mischief finished a puzzling sixth in the 2021 Louisiana Derby (G2) but bounced back with a huge second-place effort in the Kentucky Derby (G1) where was just a half-length behind Medina Spirit.

The bay colt went on to capture the TVG Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park last June before taking the TVG Haskell Stakes (G1) via disqualification. Following that elevated triumph, Mandaloun went to the sidelines with a sore foot but has been working steadily since late November. 

“He needed time off,” Cox said. “He made that decision easy. We stopped on him and gave him time. For horses to progress, whether it be from (age) 2 to 3 to 4, they need a break. He’s received his break and he’s come back.”

Mandaloun posted his seventh breeze since returning to training on Jan. 9 at Fair Grounds, stopping the timer in 1:13 1/5 for six furlongs.

“Listen, I’m not going to tell you that he’s working better than ever because he’s always a very, very good work horse to begin with,” Cox said. “I think anybody that watched him train up to the Kentucky Derby could believe the way he ran the way he was training. He’s definitely working as well as he was leading up to the Derby, or the Haskell, so we’re in a good spot with him. I think this is a race that makes a lot of sense as far as getting back racing and seeing how it goes.”

Also confirmed for the Louisiana is Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon, who, like Mandaloun, also launched a very successful sophomore campaign at Fair Grounds when he took last year’s Lecomte.

“They’ve raced against one another, let’s see, one, two, three, four maybe five times, I don’t know, it’s a lot,” Cox said. “They’ve mixed it up and made it exciting. Rivalries are good for racing. Midnight Bourbon is a very good horse. He’s going to be very tough to beat in that he’s not coming in off much of a layoff and we are. He might be a little tighter. He’s a big, beautiful horse. It will be an exciting match-up. We’re looking forward to it.” 

Should he perform well, the Mandaloun camp could have designs on the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) on Feb.  26.

“The Saudi Cup is something we’d look at,” Cox said. “Ultimately it will come down to the Juddmonte team. They will make the final determination. We work extremely well together. They’ll play it the way they always do. Horse comes first. It the horse is doing well and it makes sense, that’s definitely something we would look at doing. That was sort of our plan when we got back started in the fall. One step at a time.”

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TVG Horse racing insider news