A field of eight fillies and mares will travel 5 1/2 panels on the Fair Grounds lawn in Saturday’s feature, the $75,000 Nelson J. Menard Memorial S.

Nelson J. Menard Analysis

The early leader will be the rapidly improving #4 Elle Z (7-2), who is coming off a wire-to-wire score in the Pan Zareta S. on the course in her latest performance. The Chris Hartman pupil will receive more pressure in the early stages on Saturday, however, and I will play against her.

#8 Play On (3-1) was prominent from the break in the Pan Zareta before tiring late off the long absence. The Brad Cox trainee has trained well in the interim, and she will force the action from the opening bell with Bridgmohan back in the silks. The three-time local winner thrives on the Fair Grounds surface, and she was a strong second in the race in 2020, too. Country Day mare is my top pick.

Morning-line choice #3 Into Mystic (9-5) will also be in the mix in the opening furlong for conditioner Brendan Walsh. Stakes-winning daughter of Into Mischief flashed her considerable speed when leading turning for home in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) two back, and she had a fine prep when a closing runner-up in the Pan Zareta last time out, as well. She will be a tough beat with her best performance.

From off the pace, #7 Eyeinthesky (8-1) rates a live top-three chance at a number for Casse. Fourth in the race last campaign, the Sky Mesa 5-year-old has run fairly well in three straight outings. Florida-bred will have Gabe Saez in the silks.

Nelson J. Menard Wagers

  • $20 Win #8 Play On ($20)
  • $5 Exacta Box: 3-8 ($10)
  • $1 Superfecta: 3,8 with 3,8 with 7 all ($10)
  • $1 Superfecta: 3,8 with 3,8 with all with 7 ($10)