From the Fair Grounds Media Team:

With a million dollars in career earnings in her crosshairs, Hotshot Anna will attempt to win her sixth race in a row when she faces a field of eleven others in Saturday’s $75,000 Nelson J. Memorial Stakes scheduled to be run over 5 ½ furlongs of turf (Race 8 at 5:17 p.m. CT).

The Hugh Robertson owned and trained 6-year-old mare began the win streak in early August, taking an $80,000 allowance race over the turf course at Arlington International Racecourse. The daughter of Trappe Shot followed up with victories in the $100,000 Satin and Lace Stakes, the Presque Isle Downs Masters (G2) an $80,000 allowance Keeneland before showing up in the $75,000 Richard Scherer Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds on November 30. After sitting just off the pace, Hotshot Anna closed with a rush, out-finishing Klein Racing’s Play On to get up by a head on the wire.

The Pan Zareta at Fair Grounds on December 28 was the next logical spot for Hotshot Anna, but a superficial injury suffered in the Scherer cost her a start.

“She got hit in the eye really bad,” Robertson explained.  “I think that’s why she fell further back than she usually does early (five lengths). Whatever hit her caught her by surprise and kind of scared her. She had a big cut on her eye which is why we had to skip the race (Pan Zareta). We treated it for some time and she’s back to being herself and has been training well.”

On January 19, Hotshot Anna posted a four furlong work over the Fair Grounds main track in a a bullet 47.1, the fastest of the 57 works at the distance that morning.

“She’s always been a really good work horse and just does it her own way and well within herself,” Robertson said.

Santo Sanjur will be aboard for the first time as Marcelino Pedroza, who was aboard for her most recent score, continues to recover from a broken collarbone.

“She’s an easy horse to ride,” Robertson said. “She just needs to break clean and after that she does it on her own so no special instructions for Santo.”

Hotshot Anna is listed as the 5/2 morning line favorite, and will break from post five.

Play On, who was last seen winning the $75,000 Pan Zareta Stakes at Fair Grounds, will look to turn the tables on Hotshot Anna as the two meet again in Saturday’s feature. The 4-year-old daughter of Country Day has never been worse than second in her three career tries over the Fair Grounds turf course. The Brad Cox trainee is listed as the 7/2 second choice on the morning line, and will be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan (post six).

“Third race off the layoff,” Cox said. “She’s always trained well and seems to like the Fair Grounds. She had a good winter there last year and seems to enjoy it. She’s doing well. I’m hoping she can repeat what she did last time out and get there. Her two races off that break have been good and I think she’ll need to move forward with Hotshot Anna back in there but we’ll see what happens.”

(Brad Cox / Photo by Holly M. Smith)


Brad Cox on Mr. Misunderstood, multiple graded stakes winner who finished a head scratching last in the Colonel E.R Bradley Stakes last Saturday:

 “He’s fine and we’ll keep him in training,” Cox said. “A little bit of a head scratcher in what was a weirdly run race with the pace being so fast up front. Florent (jockey Geroux) said he just felt flat and didn’t have it that day. We didn’t see any reason physically to retire him. He’s back in the barn and is doing fine.”