News and STORIES

Play On Beats Hotshot Anna in Mardi Gras

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Wednesday February 26, 2020
Break Even and Play On, two stakes-winning fillies from owner Klein Racing and trainer Brad Cox, were both entered in the $75,000 Mardi Gras Stakes Tuesday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. However, the only one who took part was Play On.

Play On ran in third as she stalked the pace, but in the midstretch, she moved into the lane to take the lead among the field of 10. She was able to hold on and beat Hotshot Anna by a head on Fat Tuesday. Hotshot Anna is a dual grade 2 winner.

Winning rider Shaun Bridgmohan spoke about the filly's performance after the race. Following the scratch of Break Even, he picked up the mount. 

"She is so tactical; she makes my job easy," he said. "When they did hook up, I was able to get the trip that I wanted."

Play On raced a couple of lengths off the pace of :21.68 and :45.91, which was set by 16-1 longshot A Thousand Reasons. She moved down the stretch and completed 5 1/2 furlongs on a firm turf course in 1:03.99. With her victory, she paid out $10. 

The Rest of the Field

Eyeinthesky finished third, 1 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up. The 5-2 favorite Unbridled Class finished a half-length behind in fourth. Unbridled Class pressed the pace for second but was faced with traffic down the stretch.

Bell's the One, who was the only other graded winner besides Hotshot Anna, finished seventh.

Flipped Outcome

The outcome of the Mardi Gras was flipped, compared to an earlier finish at the meet from Nov. 30 at Fair Grounds. In that race, Hotshot Anna ran against Play On and pushed ahead in the closing strides. She was able to beat her rival by a head in the Richard R. Scherer Memorial Stakes. 

Bridgmohan spoke about the filly after the race.

"She's close to a million dollars," he said of Hotshot Anna. "Obviously, she tries very hard. She always puts a run in, and you have to respect her for that. I am just happy we came out on the winning end today."

Hotshot Anna's earnings are now at $972,190. 

Klein Racing

The 4-year-old Play On, a homebred for Klein Racing, took her third stakes victory with the Mardi Gras. The Klein family also raced her sire, Country Day, and her dam, the More Than Ready mare Vote Early. Both of those were stakes winners. 

Vote Early has six foals to race that are all winners. One of those is Will Call, a full brother who won the Twin Spires Turf Sprint Presented by (G3T) in 2018 at Churchill Downs. 

By winning the Mardi Gras, Play On made $45,000 and improved her record to 5-for-10. Her total earnings are $212,883.

According to Cox assistant Ricky Giannini, Play On is a candidate for a grass sprint stake in Kentucky, aiming for this spring. Those that were mentioned included the $150,000 Giant's Causeway Stakes April 11 at Keeneland or the Unbridled Sidney Stakes at Churchill. 

The latter was contested in early May of last year during the week of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). 

The full spring stakes schedule has not yet been released for Churchill Downs.