Exotics Plays for Mardi Gras S. at Fair Grounds Feb. 21

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February 20th, 2023

Fair Grounds Race Course will celebrate Fat Tuesday with the $100,000 Mardi Gras S. for fillies and mares on Feb. 21.

The 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint drew an overflow field of 16, with four on the also-eligible list and another four listed as main-track only entrants.

Multiple stakes winner Oeuvre is a slight 5-2 morning line favorite and will go for her fifth consecutive victory on Tuesday.

Below we offer a full field analysis and provide our best exotics plays — including exacta, trifecta, and superfecta tickets — for the holiday stakes race for females four years old and up.

Mardi Gras S. selections

  • #4 Oeuvre (5-2)
  • #8 Goin' Good (4-1)
  • #6 Miner's Queen (12-1)

Mardi Gras S. wagers

  • $10 Exacta: 4 with 8 ($10)
  • $2.50 Trifecta: 4 with 3, 8 with 3, 6, 8 ($10)
  • 50-cent superfecta: 4 with 3, 8 with 3, 6, 8 with 1, 3, 5, 6, 8 ($6)

#1 ABOUKIR BAY (8-1): The Lord Nelson four-year-old placed fourth in the 5 1/2-furlong Nelson J. Menard Memorial S. last out, finishing 4 1/2 lengths behind Oeuvre, who re-opposes here. The chestnut filly was also beaten by two more of today's race rivals, second-place finisher Charlie T and third-place finisher Astute, who came home 1 1/4 lengths in front of Aboukir Bay. Conditioner Jason Barkley is a 19% winner in non-graded stakes but just a 9% winner in his last 100 turf races. James Graham will retain the mount.

#2 MINUTE WALTZ (6-1): By Nyquist, the five-year-old mare was last seen finishing fourth in the six-furlong Holiday Inaugural S. on Turfway Park's all-weather track and has failed to finish in the money in her last three, all on different surfaces — Tapeta, dirt, and turf. She'll add blinkers for the first time here, but trainer Philip Bauer is 0-for-14 when adding the equipment, and he's just an 11% winner with horses coming off a layoff of 46 to 90 days. Minute Waltz will also get a rider switch with David Cohen, a 6% winner this meet.

#3 ASTUTE (3-1): The Brad Cox pupil failed as the favorite in the Nelson J. Menard when she was brushed by an inner foe into an outer rival before checking from crowded quarters early on, but she rallied willingly to finish 3 1/4 lengths behind Oeuvre. The Speightstown mare will now make her second start for Cox, a winning move 19% of the time for the trainer, and Cox is a 30% winner with beaten favorites. Florent Geroux will stay in the saddle, and he's gone 16-for-38 paired with Cox over the last two months. Astute is 1-for-2 at today's distance with a career-best 87 Brisnet Speed rating at 5 1/2 furlongs.

#4 OEUVRE (5-2): Trainer Chris Block has Shackleford filly Oeuvre on a hot streak, with the four-year-old scoring four straight victories, with three of those on dirt. Last out, she returned to turf and stalked three wide then bid for the lead outside of Charlie T turning for home, sparred through upper stretch and edged away from her inner rival in the closing stages. The win marked her third from three tries at 5 1/2 furlongs on grass, and Block is a 19% winner with horses that won their last race. Regular rider Jareth Loveberry will stick with the filly, and Oeuvre's sharp four-furlong workout on Feb. 15 indicates there's no slowing down for the four-year-old.

#5 PERFECT HAPPINESS (6-1): The six-year-old ran on dirt in her last three, most recently finishing fourth in the six-furlong American Beauty S. at Oaklawn Park on Jan. 21. The Harlan's Holiday granddaughter will try turf while shipping to Fair Grounds for the first time. She's 0-for-2 on grass but finished third by 1 1/2 lengths last time she ran on turf, back in May of 2022 in an allowance optional claimer at Churchill Downs. Trainer Chris Hartman is a 21% winner at Fair Grounds and strikes at a 12% rate with horses transitioning from dirt to turf. Mitchell Murrill will hop in the saddle and is a 22% winner paired with Hartman over the last 60 days.

#6 MINER'S QUEEN (12-1): The five-year-old finished far back in 11th in the Holiday Inaugural S. on all-weather, but a return to turf can trigger improvement. Two back, the Bernardini mare flashed an 89 BRIS figure when winning by a length in a turf allowance at Keeneland, and she's 4-for-8 when running at today's distance. She'll also get hot jockey Reylu Gutierrez, a 22% winner at Fair Grounds, in her first start in more than two months. Trainer Rey Hernandez is a 17% winner with shippers, but he's 0-for-17 with horses switching from all-weather to turf.

#7 NEW BOSS (12-1): A distant sixth to Oeuvre last out in the Nelson J. Menard, New Boss has struggled when running at today's distance, going 8-1-2-0 for her career. Her last three races have produced BRIS figures between 76 and 79, far below the par winning figure for today's conditions, and new jockey Deshawn Parker is just a 10% winner on turf.

#8 GOIN' GOOD (4-1): The other Cox runner in the field, Goin' Good weakened to fourth last out in the 6 1/2-furlong Wishing Well S. to record an 80 BRIS figure in the all-weather event but two back, she finished two lengths behind in fifth in the 5 1/2-furlong Andy Guest S. on turf with an 89 Speed rating. Her last four on turf — all at today's distance — have each produced Speed figures between 89 and 96, but she continues to settle for minor awards. Last year, she finished second by 1 1/4 lengths in the Mardi Gras S. to Elle Z.

Also-eligibles of note

#9 CHARLIE T (4-1): Second by two lengths to Oeuvre in the Nelson J. Menard, Charlie T came back to finish a half-length second in the five-furlong Ladies' Turf Sprint S. at Gulfstream Park with a 94 Speed rating. The Indian Charlie granddaughter owns a 6-3-3-0 record at today's distance as well as on turf, and she's a strong contender for the minor awards if she draws into the field in her third start off a layoff.

MTO entrants of note

#14 HAZY COMMAND (3-1): The four-year-old has won two straight at six furlongs, recording 91 and 93 Speed figures on dirt, since joining the barn of Tom Amoss.

#15 LASTCHANCEFORLOVE (7-2): The six-year-old Violence mare has won by a combined 20 1/4 lengths in her last three, all at six furlongs on dirt while racing at Lone Star and Remington Park.

#16 MERCY WARREN (7-2): The four-year-old romped to a 16-length win over a track labeled good in a six-furlong allowance optional claimer at Fair Grounds on Jan. 1. She's since posted four bullet workouts at four furlongs.