01/14/2012 6:11PM

Fair Grounds: Cherokee Queen rules Fair Grounds turf in Marie G. Krantz

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Lou Hodges Jr.
Shaun Bridgmohan let Cherokee Queen loop the field wide to win the Marie G. Krantz on Saturday.

Seven-year-old Cherokee Queen is spending her first winter in New Orleans, and she likes it.

Cherokee Queen narrowly won the Blushing K.D. Handicap in her Fair Grounds grass-course debut Dec. 17, but was a more dominant winner of the $75,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap on Saturday, coming from last in a nine-horse field to beat Juanita by 1 1/4 lengths while reinforcing the notion that she’s a cut above the rest of the local filly-and-mare turf division.

Shaun Bridgmohan rode Cherokee Queen like she was better than her eight opponents. Bridgmohan let his mount settle at the back of the pack in the 1 1/16-mile turf race as Weekend Party set splits of 24.50 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 50.06 for the first half. Bridgmohan showed no interest in saving ground around the far turn, pulling Cherokee Queen wide before the three-eighths pole rather than risk a traffic jam. Sixth at the top of the stretch, Cherokee Queen mowed down the horses in front of her over the final three-sixteenth of a mile, reaching Juanita inside the final sixteenth and drawing clear before the finish.

She was timed in 1:45.59 for 1 1/16 miles over firm turf and paid $6.20 as the favorite. Juanita finished a clear second, with Pleasantly Blessed up late for third over Weekend Party.

Steve Margolis trains Cherokee Queen for owner Clark Brewster, who purchased her primarily as a broodmare prospect at an auction last fall. Cherokee Queen, a daughter of Cherokee Run bred by J. Mack Robinson, has been booked to be bred to Malibu Moon during the 2012 breeding season, Margolis said, and it has yet to be determined if, when or where she might race again.