Leigh Court, owned by Peter Fluor’s Speedway Stable, let the good times roll and justified her favoritism in the $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes on Tuesday, winning her first race since being purchased at auction for $1 million in November of 2014. In what was both her fourth start for Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ leading trainer Mike Stidham and 6-year-old debut, Canada’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2013 won for the eighth time in 16 career attempts and tallied her sixth stakes victory.
With meet-leading jockey Florent Geroux in the saddle for the first time and making her initial start since early October, the daughter of Grand Slam bobbled slightly at the start, but quickly recovered to take the lead within the first eighth of a mile in the 5½-furlong turf event. Leading through fractions of 22.59, 46.41 and five furlongs in 58.11, she finished up in a time of 1:04.39, while three-quarters of a length in front of two rallying multiple stakes-winning daughters of Mizzen Mast – Lothenbach Stables’ Neil Pessin-trained Eden Prairie and L. T. B. Inc. and Hillerich Racing’s Bernie Flint-trained Mizz Money – who were separated by 1¼ lengths.
The victory by Leigh Court, who returned $3.20, $2.60 and $2.40, earned her $36,000 to boost her career earnings to $708,331.
“She broke so sharply, she bobbled a little bit, but she was plenty fast,” Geroux said. “She went pretty well the second quarter and when I asked her she showed good acceleration and was very brave.”
“This was the race we needed to get back into her to get her confidence back and get a win,” Stidham said. “She didn’t win a race last year and was really close in a couple tries. We’re happy to have her back in the winner’s circle. Thanks to Mr. Fluor and John Adger for giving us the opportunity with such a nice filly.”
The continuition of seven-time winner Eden Prairie’s career, a four-time stakes victress over the Stall-Wilson turf course, was dependent on a good effort. Sent off at 16-1, she loomed the only threat late under Brian Hernandez, Jr., and looked sharp in her 6-year-old bow.
“Everything went well. We had a great trip,” Hernandez said. “When we got out, we got out a little late, but she ran hard and was just a jump too late.”
“I think we’ll give her another (race),” Pessin said. “That was pretty good.”
Eden Prairie returned $9.20 and $5.40, while graded stakes winner Mizz Money returned $4.40 to show under Jesus Castanon.
The remainder of the Mardi Gras Stakes order of finish was completed by Lindisfarne, Run Zippy Run, Adrianne G, Stoupinator, Prayed For, Angie’s Prim Lady and Sugar Sweet.
Source: Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots