By Ryan Martin
This Saturday’s $75,000 Pan Zareta Stakes will feature a showdown between two horses that are in winning form.
Breaking from post ten for the 5½-furlong event for fillies and mares over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course is Sandra New’s lukewarm morning line favorite Oxford Comma who has proved highly effective since switching to the turf and is unbeaten in her three starts over grass. Trained by Tom Amoss, the 4-year-old daughter of Majesticperfection made her turf debut at Indiana Grand Race Course on August 14 where she was 11-1 and defeated fellow Pan Zareta aspirant Goldberry (post seven, 6-1, Florent Geroux). She found the winner’s circle over the Indiana Grand turf once more in her next effort on October 9, which she won by 6¾ lengths. Oxford Comma shipped to Gulfstream Park to win the Claiming Crown Distaff Dash Stakes on December 2 in her most recent start. She will guided by current Far Grounds leading rider James Graham.
Trainer and owner Hugh Robertson will saddle Hotshot Anna (post 11, Marcelino Pedroza, 7-2) as she makes her first start since winning the Grade II Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes on September 17. The 5-year-old daughter of Trappe Shot won her last three starts against stakes company over all weather surfaces. On June 23, she set a new track record at Arlington International Racecourse in the Grade III Chicago Handicap where she stopped the clock in a time of 1:20.93. Next out she shipped to Presque Isle Downs to win the Satin and Lace Stakes before her recent triumph in the Presque Isle Downs Masters. She has made five starts over grass with her lone victory taking place in the Northbound Pride Oaks at Canterbury Park in May 2017. Hotshot Anna boasts the highest amount of lifetime earnings in the Pan Zareta field with a total of $523,640.
Looking for her first stakes victory is Dixiana Farms’ Brielle’s Appeal (post four, 6-1, Shaun Bridgmohan) who is one of two entrants that will be saddled by trainer Al Stall. Jr. The 5-year-old daughter of English Channel enters the Pan Zareta off of a second place effort in the Richie Scherer Memorial Stakes where missed a nose to Justa Lady over a firm Stall-Wilson Turf Course. She started off her career having won three of her first four starts, including a local victory in a first level allowance event which she won by 5½ lengths. Three starts back she was third beaten a neck in the Grade III Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint Stakes on September 8. Stall also sends out Wild About Star (post one, 20-1, Colby Hernandez), a five-time wining daughter of Star Guitar who is a full sister to stakes winning Minit to Stardom.
Finishing third in the Richie Scherer Memorial Stakes is She’s All Skeet (post eight, 8-1, Adam Beschizza) who also is seeking her first stakes win. Owned by Jerry and Joni Butzow, the three-time winning 4-year-old daughter of Trappe Shot was a wire-to-wire winner at Kentucky Downs two starts back on September 6.
Completing the field are La Dame Blanche (post two, 30-1, Jose Valdivia, Jr.), Contributing (post three, 15-1, Joe Bravo), One Last Shot (post five, 8-1, Miguel Mena), Stonefactor (post six, 30-1, Ty Kennedy), Excessivespending (post nine, 8-1, Mitchell Murrill), Touch of Bling (post 12, 20-1, Corey Lanerie). Also eligible entrants include Persephone’s Dawn (post 13, 30-1, Edgar Morales) and Upset Brewing (post 14, 12-1, Gabriel Saez).
The Pan Zareta Stakes is named in honor of the winningest mare in history who recorded a total of 76 wins in 151 career starts many of which took place at Fair Grounds. She was named Champion Older Mare in 1914 and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. She is buried in the infield at Fair Grounds next to 1924 Kentucky Derby winner Black Gold.