Equipment Change Aids Oeuvre for Second Menard

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  • Ova Charged Crushes Bob F. Wright Field 
  • Bron and Brow Scores Second Palmisano

New Orleans, La (Jan. 6, 2024) – An equipment change helped Richard Perkins’ Oeuvre run down a longshot to defend her title in the $100,000 Nelson J. Menard Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Saturday. Scheduled for the turf, the 5 1/2-furlong filly and mare contest was moved to the “fast” main track after Friday’s heavy rains.

Trained by Chris Block and piloted by Jareth Loveberry, the Illinois-bred 5-year-old beat six foes to the wire in 1:04.09. 

“She’s a tough filly and battled all the way down the lane,” Loveberry said. “She’s all heart and proved again how good she is. She had something to point at (in the homestretch) and Chris Block had made a little (equipment) adjustment, which helped her a lot. I want to thank him and Mr. Perkins.”

Having demonstrated late-in-the-race antics bolting out in her last three starts, an equipment change kept Oeuvre on the straight and narrow to pull away by 1 1/2 lengths over the 36-1 front-runner Sweet Temperament. 

“We put a bur on the outside of the bit,” Block said. “It’s a little rubber burr that sticks right there and if she tries to get out feels the pressure and brings her back in. I didn’t want to put a run-out blinker or anything drastic like that. I have no idea why she’s doing it. We made this little adjustment to see if it would make a difference and I think it did.”

As Oeuvre broke a touch slow, Sweet Temperament shot out to the lead, setting comfortable fractions of :22.90 and :45.88. Stalking to the outside of three foes through the turn, at the top of the stretch Oeuvre had her rivals lined up. When attempting to lug out down the lane, she was corrected and set down her run to prove best. A one-paced Carimba held on for third.

“(Oeuvre) is really something special,” Block said. “I knew when she came into the barn that she had a lot of talent, but I didn’t know she was going to do this. She can do anything you ask her to do. The two turns was something I really wanted to do, and I was really proud of her there (winning) at Keeneland. I’m honored Mr. Perkins decided to put her into our barn. My staff, Martin, Ray, and all the exercise boys who have been on her have done a great job. She can be a little bit tough. She’s a happy thing all the time but she’s always 100% on go.”

Made favorite in the market, Oeuvre offered backers $3.80, $2.80, $2.10. Sweet Temperament paid $23.20, $9.20. Carimba returned $2.40

“We were going to try to freshen (Oeuvre), but she didn’t want any part of that,” Block said. “We were thinking about the Blushing K.D. but we decided to go here and it all worked out well. I would say we’d point towards (defending her title in the Mardi Gras Stakes), assuming she comes out of the race good and she’s acting like herself.”

Having swept the filly sprint series last year and now adding her second Menard, Oeuvre has a lifetime record of 24-15-3-3 and has stacked $773,706 in career earnings.

Ova Charged Crushes Bob F. Wright Field 

Going faster than the Palmisano-winner Bron and Brow, Brittlyn Stable’s Ova Charged cruised to victory on Saturday in the $100,000 Bob F. Wright Memorial at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. 

Trained and piloted by the current meet-leaders Shane Wilson and Jose Guerrero, the 6-year-old daughter of Star Guitar won the Wright by 6 3/4 lengths over Beleout. 

“She felt amazing,” Guerrero said. “When she came out of the gate and I asked her a little bit, she went, but I said ‘not yet.’ Last race she was coming off of the layoff, but the way she warmed up today, I knew she was 100% good to go.”

Never being menaced by any of her six foes and leading at every call, Ova Charged stopped the clock in 1:09.75, which is .80 seconds faster than the male stakes winner earlier on the card. 

“We knew she was going to get tired in the (Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint),” Wilson said. “I stuck my neck out after that last one and said anybody can come and try her now that we had that race under her belt. I think we showed it today–she is the best sprinting mare in the state. We’ll get her back on the turf (next). She’s undefeated on the turf so we want to show that angle again, too.”

As the 7-5 second-favorite, Ova Charged paid $4.80, $3.20, $2.10. Beleout spiced up the payouts to the tune of $8.20, $2.80. As the public’s top preference, Free Like a Girl returned $2.10. 

“When I saw 1:09 I knew she was back,” Evelyn Benoit of Brittlyn Stable said. “She needed the break. Jose Camejo had taken good care of her but the Wilsons took over and everything has worked out perfectly. So excited for Star Guitar. Can’t tell you enough how much I love that stallion.”

Wilson reported he is considering the $100,000 Mardi Gras Stakes on Feb. 13 for Ova Charged’s next start. It would be her third try against open company. 

Other than a second-place finish in the Victory Ride (G3) at Belmont, a loss last summer at Keeneland, and a local defeat at the hands of statebred males last spring, Ova Charged has never lost. Undefeated facing statebred fillies, she also has an open company allowance win at Monmouth and can boast a 13-10-1-0 lifetime record with $488,780 in the bank.

Bron and Brow Scores Second Palmisano

Driving down the lane and being defended every step of the way, Gary Barber’s Bron and Brow muscled his way into the clearing to score his second $100,00 Gary P. Palmisano at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. 

Trained by Mark Casse and receiving the services of Reylu Gutierrez, the Louisiana-bred 5-year-old beat five foes going six furlongs in a final time of 1:10.55. 

“We’re very proud of the horse and thankful to Mr. Barber,” David Carroll said, assistant trainer on the grounds to Mark Casse. “I can’t speak enough about this horse’s heart and guts, he’s a class horse to be around. Truthfully, I don’t think it was his best race. I think it was a savvy ride by Reylu. Down the backside I was a little bit concerned that he wasn’t traveling as smoothly as he normally would be. Bron and Brow at the end of the day was the best horse on the day and showed a lot of guts and determination and we’re very proud of him.”

Mike J and Not On Herb both broke sharply, but Mike J led the duel making the first two calls in :22.42 and :45.65. Breaking near the lead himself, Bron and Brow was settled, giving the leaders several lengths, and soon guided to the four-path keeping Autumns Strong Man in his sights. Invited to the rail by that foe, Bron and Brow took the bait in the far turn, leaving him in a precarious spot needing to get clear as Autumns Strong Man matched his every stride. Shouldering out at the 3/16ths pole, Bron and Brow took aim and drove past Mike J at the 1/16th pole as the convincing 2 1/4-length winner.

“Credit to the horse and the staff,” Gutierrez said. “I knew he was much more ready today (than his second-place finish in the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint). Mr. Carroll has had him in his hands for about a month now. I saved a little bit of ground in the turn and from the quarter pole home, got him in the clear. This is a tremendous horse and he beat some nice horses today.”

Sent off as the even money favorite, Bron and Brow paid $4.00, $2.40, $2.10. After doing all the dirty work on the lead, Mike J returned $3.80, $2.40. Mangum made a late move to return $2.10.

“Gary Palmisano was a great mentor to me when I first arrived (at Fair Grounds),” Carroll said. “Now with his son Gary (Jr.) working for Churchill, it is just a great thrill to win this race. After Bron and Brow ran in Ellis in June, Mark and Mr. Barber decided to give him a break, get him ready for the Fair Grounds meet. Hopefully we can continue on this route and take him back to Delta (Downs) and repeat what we did last year. It worked out beautifully today even though there were a few worrying moments.”

With two Palmisano’s on his resume, Bron and Brow’s lifetime stats sit at 16-6-4-3 and $384,370 in earnings. 


The race week continues on Sunday with an 8-race program featuring a $5,830 carryover in the $1 Pick 6. First post is 12:45 p.m. CT. 


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 16 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 152nd Thoroughbred Racing Season–highlighted by the 111th running of the Louisiana Derby–will run from Nov. 17, 2023 through March 24, 2024. More information is available online at



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