By Dick Downey
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia may start in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes instead of the Risen Star. Connections are cititng training delays at the track caused by weather.
Both races are set for Feb. 22. On Thursday morning co-owner Loooch Racing's Ron Paolucci, who doubles as racing manager, expressed uncertainty about the filly's plans at Fair Grounds.
Ria Antonia has put in workouts on Saturday, Jan. 18 and Sunday, Jan. 26 at Fair Grounds since arriving in New Orleans. If she were to breeze each Saturday between now and Feb. 22, she'd have five workouts under her belt.
“The weather down there is really putting a damper on our plans,” Paolucci said. “We were on a tight schedule anyway, and when they closed the track for training again this morning for a third day, we’re even on a tighter schedule now.
The question is one of fitness and missed training time. Paolucci says he wants to do what's right for the filly.
“I realize we can’t help what Mother Nature does, but we originally had her scheduled for six breezes before her next race on a Saturday-to-Saturday schedule, then it was five and now we might be down to four,” Paolucci said. “It would cost me a lot of money to ship my filly somewhere else, but I can’t hurt my filly if she’s not ready in time. Our plans for her now have become more uncertain. We’ll just have to see how she does on a day-to-day basis – at least for the next few days.”