02/17/2015 5:36PM

Divine Beauty prevails in Mardi Gras Stakes

Lou Hodges Jr.
Divine Beauty, with jockey Kerwin Clark aboard, scores in the Mardi Gras Stakes on Tuesday.

On Mardi Gras day at Fair Grounds, Divine Beauty went to the head of the parade and decided no one else belonged there.

Fending off several challenges – the last from Starship Duchess, who briefly threatened to crown herself queen of Carnival – Divine Beauty led nearly from start to finish in the six-furlong Mardi Gras, winning by a neck.

Ridden by Kerwin Clark for trainer Larry Jones and owner-breeder Brereton Jones, Divine Beauty jumped on top and laid down splits of 22.32 and 45.38 seconds while hounded by Kiss to Remember. Table Three Ten moved on the far turn, stacking up three abreast into the homestretch, but it was Divine Beauty who went on with it, with Starship Duchess coming over the top to challenge late.

Starship Duchess appeared to stick her head in front between the stretch call and the finish, but Divine Beauty quickly reasserted her superiority on this day and was going away again at the wire. She was timed in 1:10.20 for six furlongs and paid $8 to win. Street Story, who had a troubled trip while making her first start since August, finished third, two lengths behind Starship Duchess.

Divine Beauty, by Divine Park and out of the Ghazi mare Ghazo, won for the fourth time in seven races. She is 4 for 4 going six furlongs and 0 for 3 in races at seven furlongs and one mile.

“She’s just better suited and better at sprinting,” said Larry Jones.