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NEW ORLEANS, LA – M Bar O’s Elle Z took the lead at the start and held off the favored Into Mystic‘s late bid to wire Saturday’s $75,000 Pan Zareta Stakes at Fair Grounds.
Elle Z and jockey Mitchell Murrill posted opening fractions of :22.18 and :45.39 while Play On applied pressure from her outside.
Set down for the stretch drive, Elle Z kicked away from Play On and repelled Into Mystic’s deep stretch challenge to cross victorious by a length.
The Chris Hartman trainee completed the 5 1/2-furlong good turf sprint in 1:03.13.
“I had a little pressure to her outside, but I kept letting her do her thing and stayed in front,” Murrill said. “Once she was able to get there, she got a nice little breather. Off the far turn, she pricked her ears up, got comfortable, and when I asked her to run, she gave everything she had.”
Into Mystic held off a late-running Winning Envelope and a stubborn Play On by a pair of necks for second.
A Bit of Both, Change of Control, Dance Rhythms, Best Kept Secret, Sterling Miss, Xanthique, Mucho Amor, and On Probation completed the order of finish.
Dixieincandyland and Our Lost Love were scratched.
Elle Z’s win came in her stakes debut and backed up a similar gate-to-wire score at Keeneland last time out in her first time under Murrill. The 3-year-old City Zip filly’s record now stands at 7-4-0-0 with $131,024 earned.
“I honestly wasn’t afraid of any of them,” Hartman said. “It takes a quick horse to get in front of her. My horse ran the way she has been training. Like Rodney Dangerfield, she doesn’t get any respect.”
Elle Z returned $28.60 to win, $12 to place, and $8.40 to show. Into Mystic brought back $3.80 to place and $3.20 to show, while Winning Envelope paid $4 to show.
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