Pan Zareta Winner Oeuvre Stays Sharp for Menard

January 12, 2023

Oeuvre winning the Pan Zareta at Fair Ground Dec. 3, 2022. (Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography)

Kevin Kilroy/Fair Grounds

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Winner of the Pan Zareta Stakes in December, Oeuvre returns to face an oversubscribed field of 13 in Saturday’s $100,000 Nelson J. Menard for 4-year-old and up fillies and mares going 5 1/2 furlongs at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Whereas the Pan Zareta was moved to the dirt course, the Menard will be run over the Stall-Wilson turf course. Scheduled as Race 8 with a 4:45 p.m. CT post time, the portable rail will remain set at 34 feet on the turf course and starters will be limited to eight.

Richard Perkins’ 4-year-old Oeuvre has put in three local workouts since her impressive stakes score in the Pan Zareta, including a fastest of 89 bullet on Jan. 8 when breezing 4 furlongs in 48.00 seconds. The Illinois-bred is trained by Chris Block, who guided her to a nearly flawless (7 for 8) sophomore campaign, with two of those wins coming over firm turf courses. 

“Her recent workouts have been really good,” assistant trainer on the grounds Martin Martinez said. “She’ll be dangerous if she moves as well on the turf (course) as she has (on the dirt).” 

With Jareth Loveberry aboard, the 2-1 morning line favorite Oeuvre will break from post No. 7.

Installed as the highest price in the morning line at 15-1, NBS Stable’s Aboukir Bay has been overlooked by bettors before. Winner of her last two for trainer Jason Barkley at double digit odds, she’s proven herself going 6 1/2 furlongs across the challenging Kentucky Downs turf course (paying $27.66 to win) and traveling 5 1/2 furlongs across the more traditional turf run at Keeneland ($44.50). 

“We’ve been waiting for the turf course to open back up for her to run,” Barkley said. “She’s basically been sitting on go, so we’ve made sure not to overdo it in the mornings with her but still keep her sharp (pointing to this race).”

The Lord Nelson 4-year-old progressed nicely in terms of speed figures this past fall, and if she can run back to those numbers, she fits against the Menard field. Drawing post No. 8, Aboukir Bay will be piloted by her partner-in-longshot-crime, James Graham, who guided her home at high odds in her last two.

NELSON MENARD STAKES FIELD
P    Horse                                Jockey                      Trainer                    MLO
1     NEW BOSS                      David Cohen              Bret Calhoun          8-1 
2     TOUCH OF CLASS          Brian Hernandez Jr    Bernard Flint           8-1 
3     ASTUTE                            Florent Geroux           Brad Cox                3-1 
4     VIOLENZA                        Corey Lanerie             Brendan Walsh       7-2
5     CHARLIE T                       Mitchell Murrill            Lee Thomas         10-1 
6     EVE’S DELIGHT               Alex Castillo               Garland Goins      10-1 
7     OEUVRE                           Jareth Loveberry         Chris Block            2-1
8     ABOUKIR BAY                 James Graham           Jason Barkley       15-1 
Also Entered
9     TIZPLENTY                       James Graham           Steve Asmussen    6-1 
10   CHARLIE’S PENNY          Rey Gutierrez             Chris Block             3-1 
11   PERFECT HAPPINESS     Mitchell Murrill            Chris Hartman        4-1
12   MINUTE WALTZ                David Cohen               Philip Bauer            6-1 
13   HAZY COMMAND             Edgar Morales            Tom Amoss            6-1

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