Total Day Results 13 / 4-8-4
2021 Overall 206 206 / 61-72-79
Win % of Top Pick 29.61%
Payoff% of Top 3 Picks Overall 34.30%
2021 Top Pick in the Money Overall — 123-198 62.12%
2021 Top Selection ITM / TP 79-132 59.84%
2021 Top Selections Win / TP 40-132 30.30%
“Key Horses” @ TP 19 / 8-3-2 42.11% Win / 68.42% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2021 33 / 15-7-2 45.45% Win / 73.73% ITM

OK. Have to admit. Going a little stir crazy. Too much snow. And, that’s from a guy who loves snow. Too little live horse racing. And, that’s from a guy who really does love some live horse racing.

So, we have dropped down to New Orleans — virtually — and done a little Mardi Gras handicapping. Too much rum punch? No such thing, and that’s coming from a guy who knows his rum punch.

Here’s a look at the Friday card at the Fair Grounds:

1st: 8-4/5-7/6/1…As Fast as You Can (8) gets the nod in the lid-lifter down at the “Big Easy,” which can be the “Big Difficult” for the handicapping ranks. Especially if you have been paying more attention to Turfway Park this winter. This 6YO mare drops to the bargain bin for the first time since she won at this level in June of 2020 at Louisiana Downs. Gets a red-hot rider, who has gone 5-4-0 in the last 19 mounts. Third off the layup, and the barn wins with .10% of those. Like the cutback and barn wins with .18% when going route to sprint. My pick. Money In the Starrs (4) is a Washington-bred mare who has a win and a third in two previous runs here. Both of those came in there last two races. Returns as a beaten favorite here and the barn wins with .24% of those. Rider has won with a whopping .42% of the last 26 mounts for this barn, too. Wow. I bet the 8-4 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 8-4 over/under the 5-7-6-1 in two smaller units.

2nd: 5-(9)-8/2-4/6-3-1/7…Goingtoagogo (5) gets the nod here, if this event stays on the sod for the Louisiana-breds only. The 4YO daughter of American Pharoah nearly won at this level last time out. Beaten just a 1/2-length after making the lead late in the proceedings. Barn is winning at a huge .22% clip this meet with 121 starters. Gets a rider who fits this one, too. In 5 previous runs here? Has 2 seconds and 3 thirds. But does have a tendency to hang late. Hmmm. Rose of Paris (9) will get my top pick if it moves to the dirt. This one is entered for the MTO, and goes for a barn that is due. Two starts back ran a solid one and gets a top rider up. I bet 5 across the board and then key the 5 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas, if it stays on the sod. If it comes off? I go to the 9 and do the same thing, with the key over/under the numbers listed. 

3rd: 2-1-7/8/4-6-3…Day Trip (2) drops from the $15,000 price category all the way to the bargain bin here. Should fit nicely with the class drop. Only beaten 11/4 lengths last time. Barn wins with .33% when dropping this much at once, and with .28% when taking the blinkers off. Hot rider up. Should be salty. Twilight Fantasy (1) is another class dropper. Barn wins with .50% when dropping this much and with .25% of those making the 2nd start for the new barn operation. Was claimed just two starts ago for $30,000. Now in for the $5,000. Need a bigger truck. Rider has a win in two previous mounts for this barn. Chance. Goforthewinecourse (7) ran a good one at this level two starts back and has a second and a third in three previous tries here. Speed candidate. Must catch. I bet the 2-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 8 in two smaller units.

4th: 2-11/3-7/6-8/10-9…Gifted Talent (2) is another that I will lean on if this 7.5-furlong event stays on the sod. This 4YO daughter of Star Guitar nearly broke the maiden last time out. Nipped a nose. Now has a 0-3-3- mark in 10 starts. Has had her chances in the past. Always found a way to lose. Today my be the day with a top grass rider up. Lively Lea (11) was off from December of 2019 until just recently on Jan. 28. Long time between drinks of water. But she ran a huge one and just tired late. If she improves any off that exercise, she will be salty here. Bounce candidate for me, though. I bet the 2 across the board and then box the 2-11 in the exacta. I will key the 2 over/under all the numbers listed in two more smaller units.

5th: 5/3-4-7-1/8-2…The first Key Play of the Day comes here with Gold Account (5). This 4YO son of Goldencents returns to the dirt today after a debacle over the grass here on Jan. 30. Before that, ran two solid seconds. Barn wins with 2 of 3 when dropping this much in class and a top rider gets up again Turf to dirt angle? Barn wins with .11% of the 44 to quality for that sample. In two races here? Two seconds. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then key the 5 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas.

6th: 2-4-8/1-3-9/(12)/10-5/6-11-7…This is a turf event just for the LA-breds, and I will hang my hopes on Budro Talking (2). This 6YO gelding is dropping in class and may have found a soft spot. Gets back to the sod after a misfire over the mud here on Feb. 6. Toss for me. In 16 grass races? Seven wins, two seconds and a third. Likes this distance, too, with 5 wins in 10 tries. My choice. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 2 over/under the 4-8-1-3-9-12-10-5 in two smaller units.

7th: 2-4-6/1-3/5/7…Sovereign Change (2) will make the 2nd career start for trainer Joe Sharp, who wins with a very nice .21% when going from the MSW ranks into the MCL level for the first time. Gets a top rider in the saddle here  and with a little better trip could find this to be his day. Should be closing with a purpose. Look out. Man On the Moon (4) ran at this level the last two times out and came up 4th each time. Barn wins with .25% on the third start off a layup and with a whopping .33% when returning to the gate as a beaten favorite, too. Could be a tough out here. Okudah (6) is my first Longshot Special of the Day. This 3YO is getting the Lasix for the first time and will start today as a gelding for the first time. Either one of those two changes may be enough to spark a little life. Both of them could do the trick. Worth a shot with a red-hot rider taking the reins. I bet the 2-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 1-3 in two smaller units.

8th: 10/11-1-5/8-4-6/7-1A-9/2-3…The second Key Play of the Day comes here with Guitar Slim (10). This 4YO son of Star Guitar comes into this one off two straight impressive wins. Moves to the grass for the first time today and the barn wins with .19% of those. Looks to be a good LA-bred and comes with a closing kick that should suit the grass just fine. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then key the 10 over/under the numbers listed in the exactas. More with the 11-1-5. Little less with the 8-4-6. Little less, still, with the 7-1A-9. 

9th: 9-3-10/6-4/2-5/1-7…Today’s finale is a 6-furlong event for the MCL ranks and I will give the edge to Faith’s Raceday (9). This one has started 6 times already and has had his chances, finishing second on one occasion and third on three more. But he seems to find trouble in each and every start and each and every way possible. Drops into the MCL ranks for the first time today and the barn wins with .21% of those kind. Might be the move the world awaited. Thunk (3) has raced 11 times. Never won. Does drop in class for this one today and picks up a top rider in the meantime. Could be a threat at this level. Miller’s Pointe (10) drops into the MCL ranks for there first time, as well, and the barn wins with .24% of those. Has not been inspiring yet, but this one could wake up a bit today against the likes of these. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 6-4 in two smaller versions.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene