Fair Grounds: Exotics Plays for the 2023 New Orleans Classic Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

March 22nd, 2023

A talented and well-matched field of eight will travel 1 1/8 miles over the Fair Grounds dirt in Saturday’s $500,000 New Orleans Classic (G2). The fine cast features numerous runners that prefer to be in the mix from the break, and I will take a look at a few of the contenders that prefer to do their best work late in the lucrative contest.

#7 Mr. Wireless (8-1) has come up just shy of recording victories in both the Louisiana S. (G3) and Mineshaft S. (G3) as of late and seems poised for a breakthrough for conditioner Bret Calhoun. The consistently solid son of Dialed In should be aided by getting a bit more ground to work with which will aid him on Saturday.

The five-year-old is a Grade 3 winner at nine furlongs, and the shape of the race should play to his strengths. The stalker figures to sit a nice voyage from off the swift and contested pace for regular pilot Deshawn Parker prior to being asked for his best approaching the turn for home.

Neil Pessin’s #6 Happy American ran uncharacteristically last time out in the Mineshaft S. (G3) following a pair of impressive scores on the course leading up to that performance. The stout late runner is more than capable of beating a field of this nature on his best day, and I fully expect him to improve in a big way on Saturday. The Runhappy gelding will trail the field early on and put in one run under the guidance of James Graham.

Pegasus World Cup (G1) champ #2 Art Collector is an obvious must use for Bill Mott. The six-year-old proved capable of rating off of the pace last time in registering his best result to date, but he might be susceptible as the likely big favorite in the field. Bruce Lunsford’s homebred drew into a field with substantial speed in the event, and from an inner post slot, a slow break could hamper his chances. Junior Alvarado has the assignment.

Grade 2 victor #3 West Will Power has reached new heights since joining Brad Cox and has the class to defeat this field for sure. The six-year-old son of Bernardini was a sharp second in the Razorback (G3) to commence his four-year-old campaign and any improvement makes him especially dangerous. The speedy sort, however, might be softened up from the expected sharp early tempo under Flavien Prat.

New Orleans Classic Wagers

  • $12 win and place: #7 Mr. Wireless ($24)
  • $4 trifecta: key 7 with 2, 3, 6 ($24)
  • $1 trifecta: 6, 7 with 2, 3, 6, 7 with 2, 3, 6, 7 ($12)