New Orleans horse wins Illinois Derby
By Neil Milbert Tribune reporter
(Lamarque pictured (at left) with Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard)
Recapturetheglory has put Louie Roussel, Ronnie Lamarque and the city of New Orleans back on the road to glory.”What better name can you have?” asked co-owner Lamarque after the 15.90-1 long shot’s front-running four-length victory in Saturday’s Grade II $500,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course.”We want to recapture the glory for the city of New Orleans. Katrina has been a catastrophe—the city is fractured, but it’s a resilient city. We’re ambassadors for the city of New Orleans. We want to recapture the glory we lost in the [ Kentucky] Derby with the best horse in America, which was then Risen Star.”Kentucky better be ready. That’s all I can tell you.”
In 1988, Risen Star ran third behind Winning Colors and Forty Niner in the Kentucky Derby for Lamarque and the colt’s trainer and co-owner, Roussel, but came back to win the Preakness and Belmont in smashing style.”I’ve changed since 20 years ago,” said the 62-year-old Lamarque, peering in his rearview mirror and seeing in his mind’s eye the bygone days when he roamed Bourbon Street and let the good times roll all night long. “Then, I was rockin’ and rollin’. Last time I made all the parties. This time it’s not going to happen. Today I’m a different person. I have an 11-year-old boy now. I just talked [on the phone] to my lovely wife, Natasha—we’ve been together 17 years. We won today, praise God; if we had lost, praise God.”Recapturetheglory, who began his career at Arlington Park last July, came to Hawthorne from the Fair Grounds in New Orleans with only one triumph to show for his five previous outings, a nose victory in a September maiden race at Hawthorne.In his only previous race this year, he faded to third in a Feb. 29 Fair Grounds allowance race on the grass.”There were no races for him on the dirt, so Louie ran him on turf just to get a race in him so we could run here,” said Roussel’s assistant, Lauren Van Deren, who saddled the son of Cherokee Run in the trainer’s absence. “Turf back to dirt was good.”With E.T. Baird riding him for the first time, Recapturetheglory left from the inside post position and seized an immediate lead. Golden Spikes, the 5.40-1 fourth choice in the wagering, moved into challenging position and Z Humor, the 4.80-1 third choice, settled in third place in the field of seven.That’s the way they remained the rest of the race.”All I did was try to get him out of the gate running and see how it unfolded in the first turn and take it from there,” Baird said. “In the stretch if somebody was going to run by me, I knew he had to really be running.”Golden Spikes attacked at the top of the stretch, but Recapturetheglory pulled away with authority to win the 11/8-mile race on a fast track in 1:49.01 and return payoffs of $33.80, $15.60 and $10.”He kept going and I didn’t,” Golden Spikes’ jockey, Tim Thornton, said.”We got the trip we wanted. It didn’t work out exactly how we had it planned, but he dug in and tried his heart out.”
As many of you may remember, Ronnie wrote and performed songs for both of his championship horses in the 80’s.
Risen Star and Kandaly.
To enjoy more of Mr. Lamarque’s musical stylings, click on the link below.