Hotshot Anna looms large in Nelson Menard Memorial

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

January 23rd, 2020

An overflow field of 13 will sprint on the Fair Grounds lawn in Saturday’s Nelson J. Menard Memorial. The 5 1/2-furlong dash features a strong field of turf sprinters in what appears to be an excellent betting opportunity.

The race will go through the consistently excellent #5 Hotshot Anna (5-2) for conditioner Hugh Robertson, and it’s hard to go against her. Chestnut daughter of Trappe Shot has won nine of her last 10 assignments, with her lone setback coming when second in the Chicago (G3) at Arlington Park in June.

Kentucky-bred defeated a few contenders in this field when winning the Richard R. Scherer Memorial on the course in November. Six-year-old has tactical speed and a fine turn of foot as an imposing contender under Santo Sanjur.

I do not expect the pace of the Menard Memorial to be suicidal, and I will tab a trio of speedy sorts underneath for the gimmicks. Joe Sharp’s #1 Classy Act (10-1) has only raced on turf on three occasions, but she has shown an affinity for the lawn each time. Into Mischief mare is a winner from one local turf outing, and I expect her to be a major contender while saving ground throughout.

#6 Play On (7-2) shows two wins and a second from three local assignments to date. Brad Cox charge missed by a head to Hotshot Anna two prior, and she came back to capture the Pan Zareta on the Fair Grounds lawn last time out. Country Day filly will be forcing the issue from the start beneath Shaun Bridgmohan.

#10 Unbridled Class (10-1) put in a pair of sharp turf sprints on the course last campaign, and her early foot makes her interesting at a big number. Stakes-winning Indiana-bred didn’t fire at Delta Downs most recently, but I expect the lass to make a big step forward on this occasion. She will be stubborn if she clears the field early on.

Nelson Menard wagers

  • $10 Exacta: 5 with 1,6,10 ($30)
  • $3 Trifecta Key: 5 with 1,6,10 ($18)