If you’re not able to make it to the French Quarter to party, then arguably the next best thing about Mardi Gras is the special program Fair Grounds puts on annually to celebrate the day’s festivities. The nine-race program Tuesday features the $75,000 Mardi Gras for filly-and-mare grass sprinters plus a trio of allowances. Here are a few runners that catch the eye going into the card.
Race 4 — Maiden
#3 GOLDEN LOCH (8-1) encountered trouble early in her Jan. 30 comeback in what turned out to be a caboose trip, and is capable of better in her second start back from a seven-month layoff. Although a 10-race maiden, she’s turfed only three times, and effort two back at Ellis fits comparatively well if repeated. Main concern is the lack of speed in the race, but she does have a maturity advantage over most that do.
Race 6 — N3X Allowance/$80,000 Optional Claiming
#1 SAILING SOLO (9-2) was pressed when attempting to wire last month’s Colonel E.R. Bradley S., and the 5-year-old understandably came up empty in the stretch. However, the pace doesn’t figure to be as taxing in this heat, and the Louie Roussel trainee could prove hard to catch this time with Murrill staying aboard.
Race 7 — N2X Allowance/$40,000 Optional Claiming
#4 FEDERAL CASE (8-1) debuts here for Al Stall after making little noise in a pair of dirt starts in Southern California over the winter. Perhaps didn’t care for the scenery out there, but worth noting his career got off to a fine start in Kentucky and Florida while facing tougher fields than this. Sheds the blinkers and looms a danger if he reproduce the pre-California form.
Race 8 — $75,000 Mardi Gras
#11 PLAY ON (6-1) figures to go off much lower than the morning line price with the expected scratch of stablemate #3 Break Even. This one has two wins and two seconds from four tries on the local sod, but let #5 Unbridled Class get away with a lonely lead last time while settling for runner-up honors. With some of the other speed likely to come out, look for this filly to show a bit more of the zip she’s capable of showing and still fight it out to the wire.