Rapid Rhythm leads parade in Mardi Gras Stakes

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NEW ORLEANS – Robert S. Evans’ Rapid Rhythm flashed her typical late kick to run her record to a perfect 5-for-5 on the Stall-Wilson turf course when taking Tuesday’s 74th running of the $75,000 Mardi Gras Stakes.

Ridden by James Graham, the 5-year-old daughter of Successful Appeal assumed her typical position at the back of the field behind splits of 22.60 and 46.22 set by Lovable Lyss and Clairenation. After spinning widest of all into the stretch, the Mike Stidham trainee showed sharp acceleration in the final eighth to collar Tigertail Ranch’s Danny Pish-trained Wheatfield by a neck in a final time of 1:03.73. Diego Saenz was aboard the runner-up who was two lengths lengths clear of Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Steve Asmussen-trained Simple Surprise under David Flores.

“She latched on a little better today and punched home like a good horse should,” Graham said. “She’s got a really hard turn of foot and she keeps finding more. She gives you a boost and then finds a little more.”

“She’s so special,” said Hilary Pridham, assistant trainer for Stidham. “She knows where the wire is and she really wants to win. She’s so professional and she shows up every race and guarantees she’s going to give you her best.”

The win was Rapid Rhythm’s eighth in 18 lifetime starts, and the $45,000 winner’s share boosted her lifetime bankroll to $245,903. The winner returned $4.60, $3.20 and $2.20, with Wheatfield paying $6.20 and $5.40 and Simple Surprise returning $3.

Blip n’ Th Bye, Equation, Boom Bam Bing, Lovable Lyss and Clairenation completed the running order.

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