Versatility Crowns Brooke Marie the 56th Pan Zareta Stakes Winner

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Versatility Crowns Brooke Marie the 56th Pan Zareta Stakes Winner

Elle Z shows all she is quickest but falls a nose short

New Orleans (December 4, 2021) – In a field full of early foot, the late turn of Castleton Lyon’s Brooke Marie proved best in Saturday’s $75,000 Pan Zareta Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Speedster Elle Z set the pace from the inside post and was joined by far outside drawn Short Summer Dress and a surprisingly keen Elle’s Town through opening fractions of 21.92 and 45.97 over a turf course rated as firm. Her speed on full display, Elle Z led every step of the way except the last inch, the one that counts, as she was seized by the marvelous Brooke Marie and jockey Adam Beschizza, who stopped the timer in 1:04.61 for the 5 ½ furlong distance. Kela’s Turn (34-1) edged Elle’s Town (36-1 for third). The 2.00-1 favorite Love and Money, exiting a first-level allowance win at Keeneland, settled into the pocket early but failed to seriously threaten thereafter, settling for fifth.

Training forwardly by all accounts at Keeneland and at Fair Grounds coming in, this Lemon Drop Filly has shown tremendous growth and maturity since joining Eddie Kenneally’s barn last April.

“We freshened her up this summer and being a big mare expected her to need a race,” assistant trainer on the grounds Kelly Wheeler said. “She really impressed us at Keeneland and came out of the race well. We thought this was a good spot for her even though it was a bit of a step up and she proved that she belongs with this kind.”

Given a sensational ride by perennial meet title contender Beschizza, Brooke Marie broke sharp and settled five lengths back in seventh at the first call. Patiently going two-wide when there was no room in the tightly bunched mix, Beschizza took his live mount four-wide gaining position to fifth behind the slow starting Yes It’s Ginger, who had rushed up into a stalking spot. That rival came back to her at the top of the stretch, pushing Brooke Marie out one lane five wide into the fresh paths of the Fair Grounds lawn. Fully extended, Brooke Marie surged to perfection for the head victory.

“She has done phenomenal since Eddie got a hold of her,” winning rider Adam Beschizza said. “She is like a fine wine; she seems to be improving with age. She’s not one dimensional–she’s universal, she can close, she can stalk, be on the lead. She is a delight to ride as a jockey and I’m sure she is to train.”

With a field full of live horses looking to assert their presence at Fair Grounds, the last out wire-to-wire winner showed a new trick up her sleeve with her late-kick tactical advantage. With only 6 ¾ lengths separating first to last in the field off 11, others showed grit and growth sure to be on display for the Nelson J. Menard Memorial Stakes, the next fillies and mare turf sprint stakes on January 1st.

After going all out with a clear indication of returned form, Elle Z’s connections were left wondering what else they could have done.

“She ran hard but just didn’t quite hold on,” jockey Mitchell Murrill said. “Not enough. Elle Z’s a great horse herself, but I guess today wasn’t her day. She may have got a little tired on me towards the end, but she gave 110%. All I can ask for.”

The win was Brooke Marie’s fifth overall, but first in a stakes (13-5-3-1). With the victory, the 5-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid boosted her career bankroll to $281,230.


About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 150th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 109th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 25, 2021 through March 27, 2022. More information is available online at