Two futurities highlight last race day of 2012

NEW ORLEANS — The 2012 calendar year for the Fair Grounds Race Course concludes Monday with a 10-race slate that includes two $100,000-plus futurities, both six-furlong dirt races.

A Louisiana Futurity for 2-year-old, Louisiana-bred fillies is the fifth race Monday, with Sittin At the Bar, ridden by Mark Guidry and trained by Brett Brinkman, the overwhelming favorite with 4/5 odds. However, several other fillies, such as Taralicious at 5/1 and Nola Girl at 8/1, have outside shots of catching the favorite and are excellent choices for place and show.

“We’re hopeful she’ll run well,” said Nola Girl’s owner and trainer, Dallas Stewart. “There are several good horses in that race, but right now (Nola Girl) is running really well.”

Nola Girl will be jockeyed by Brian Hernandez Jr.

The total purse for the filly futurity is $105,615.

The other featured race, a Louisiana Futurity for 2-year-old, state-bred colts and geldings, is the seventh race and scheduled to go off shortly before 4 p.m. Favorites for the $105,615-purse futurity include Heitai (3/1), Butcher (7/2) and Nubin Ridge (4/1).

Butcher trainer Bret Calhoun said the Raintree Farm-owned, Jamie Theriot-jockeyed colt has been groomed in recent weeks with Monday’s futurity in mind.

“Our horse is ready,” Calhoun said. “He’s had plenty of training since his last race with this race in mind. We’ve been training for it. It looks like there will be a couple of exceptional horses in there.”

Calhoun said he thinks the Fair Grounds’ track will run fast Monday, thanks to recent quickly changing weather.

“We had some rain (Friday), and it was a little cool (Sunday) morning, but it will probably warm up a bit,” he said. “The track should be pretty fast.”

The first post is at 1 p.m. Also highlighting the slate is the day’s eighth race, a roughly one-mile turf allowance optional claiming race that carries a total purse of $47,000 and features inexperienced, 2-year-old fillies. The favorite for that event is the Wayne Catalano-trained Flashy Gal, who will go off at 3/1 with jockey Shaun Bridgmohan aboard. Other potential placers include Propelleroneway and Every Way.

Monday will be the last major stakes card of the Fair Grounds’ 2012-13 meet until Jan. 19, when Road to the Derby Kickoff Day will culminate with the 69th running of the Grade III, $200,000 Lecomte Stakes. The race day will kick off the two-month build-up to the 100th running of the Louisiana Derby on March 30.