‘This Horse Just Might Be Cajun’: Horse For Course Surveillance Captures Fair Grounds' Thanksgiving Classic - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘This Horse Just Might Be Cajun’: Horse For Course Surveillance Captures Fair Grounds’ Thanksgiving Classic

Surveillance, outside, totes James Graham to victory in the Thanksgiving Classic

Surrounded by a spirited crowd and a festival atmosphere, Big Chief Racing, Rocker O Ranch, and trainer Keith Desormeaux's Surveillance won the 98th edition of the $175,000 Thanksgiving Classic at Fair Grounds.

Some handicappers might call him a horse for the course, some might say the six-furlong distance suits him best, but Desormeaux thinks he knows why all four of the 5-year-old Constitution gelding's wins have come at the New Orleans track.

“He loves the surface here, he loves (jockey) James (Graham), or an even simpler explanation: The horse just might be Cajun,” Desormeaux said in the winner's circle.

In a field of seven sprinting on the fast main track, Chattalot broke sharply to the lead and moved through the opening fractions in :22.12 and :45.16. The filly Carribean Caper kept closest to the leader, but after maintaining a one-length lead at the stretch call, Chattalot opened up late and appeared poised to wire the field.

After stalking on the rail from midpack, the favorite Heart Rhythm battled past the filly in the homestretch, but right when he struck for the lead, the dappled gray Surveillance came hustling late on the outside of those two to win by a half-length while covering six furlongs in 1:09.93.

Heart Rhythm rallied on terms with the winner, but settled for second. It was another two lengths back to the pacesetting Chattalot, who held on for third. Carribean Caper rounded out the superfecta.

“(Surveillance) can be a little bit tricky,” Graham said. “I was happy where I was sitting (coming out of the turn), and when I squeezed him, he went. He didn't slow down much coming toward the wire.”

Surveillance, bred in Kentucky by Kendall E. Hansen, M.D. Racing LLC, returned $10.80.

With the Thanksgiving Classic trophy in hand, Desormeaux explained how he used the recent Bet On Sunshine Stakes at Churchill Downs to ready Surveillance for the win.

“Him being a tricky horse is an understatement,” Desormeaux said, echoing Graham's comment. “I know it seems different for me to run him back 10 days after another stake, but the horse is really difficult to train and I actually used that stake as a prep for this race.”

Surveillance has $346,367 lifetime earnings and a career record of 4-3-5 from 20 starts. His dam is the Mizzen Mast mare Majorelle. Big Chief Racing bought him from consignor Scott Mallory for $25,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

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