len Hill Farms' Compelled fired off the bench to take the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots' Fat Tuesday feature- the $75,000 Mardi Gras Stakes, which is run at five-and-a-half furlongs for fillies and mares on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course.
Trained by Tom Proctor and ridden to victory by Corey Lanerie, the 4-year-old daughter of War Front came from well off of a pace set by Triple Chelsea, who set opening fractions of 22.09 and 46.27. Triple Chelsea maintained the lead at the top of the stretch but was eventually passed up by the favorite Finley'sluckycharm who did not hold the lead long and was gunned down by Compelled who captured the Mardi Gras Stakes by one length in a time of 1:04.32. Finley'sluckycharm was second and Triple Chelsea finished third.
“(She started to kick in) at the five-eighths pole,” Lanerie said. “At the three-eighths pole I kind of gathered up a little bit and wanted to stay on the inside at least through the turn where I could save some ground. I was able to work my out and find a clear run and never really thought I was going to get them until the end. She's got a lot of class and Tom had her ready to roll.”
Meanwhile Bret Calhoun, trainer of Finley'sluckycharm, was gracious in defeat.
“You're disappointed when you don't win but we got what we needed,” Calhoun said. “I don't think the surface was her favorite. (Jockey) Brian (Hernandez, Jr.) said that she just didn't have the normal gears that she has. Turning for home he thought he would go by pretty easy. He said that she didn't have a quick turn of foot or normal gears like she normally has. At the end of the day we would have loved to have won but we got what we needed.”
Calhoun went on to say that the 5-year-old daughter of Twirling Candy would likely point to the Grade I $300,000 Madison Stakes at Keeneland on Apr. 7.
Compelled has never been worse than third in her eight career starts and has not been beaten more than 1½ lengths. She boasts a lifetime record of 8-3-2-3 and earned $45,000 from her Mardi Gras win which enhanced her career earnings to $202,320. The Mardi Gras Stakes was the second stakes victory for Compelled. As a 2-year-old, she won Gulfstream Park West's Juvenile Filly Turf Stakes.
She rewarded her backers in payouts of $15.40, $9 and $2.80 while Finley'sluckycharm returned $4 and $2.80 to place. Triple Chelsea brought back $2.20 to show.
Rounding out the Mardi Gras Stakes parade were Burma Road, Excessivespending, Luvin Bullies, Wheatfield, Contributing, Justa Lady, Sweetbaby, Some Say So and Go Kart (Ire.).
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