Just a couple of more days left in 2017, and, for one, I can’t say I’m going to miss it. But, as they say, life goes on. And, for those of us brave enough to soldier on, so do we. It’s been a couple of really nice betting days at the Fair Grounds the past couple. Hope you jumped on board with some of our picks over the past 48 hours. If not, can’t say that our luck will continue. But I can say that our spirit will.

Here is a closer look at today’s card:

1st: 2-7-4-1…Tough turf sprint for LA-breds to start off the day, but I go directly to #2, Future Ruler. This gelding nearly beat open company on debut back in August at Evangeline Downs, but has wilted late in two tries since then — including one here on the dirt on Nov. 18. Gets over to the grass for the first time, and that may be the trick. He is out of an El Prado mare, and the Irish-bred sire was a dandy on the turf. Had a super training session here on Dec. 23 and looks primed. My first Best Bet of the Day comes here for this one trained by Al Stall. Aw Shucks (7) ran a solid third and beat the preferred choice in their last match-up. Looks like they tried a bit of a different running style in the last try, coming from a bit farther back. And, it may have helped. Gaga Man (4) ran a good one before tiring late here on Dec. 9. Could improve with the move to the grass, and the rider has hit with 4 of his last 12 mounts. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under all the others listed.

2nd: 6-3-8-9-1…City Seduction (6) gets the edge in a wide, wide open race here. This one may have had the best year of any of these, posting 3 wins and a third in 9 tries. Gets a nice class drop here for a trainer who has won just once out of 21 starts this meet. But he has 3 seconds, and has won with .10% of his 461 starts in 2017. Cold rider did win one on Thursday. May be ready for another. Miss Lucky (3) has only one win in 11 starts this year, but does have 2 seconds and 4 thirds. Always around at the end, and ships in from Penn National for this one. Starship Journey (8), Angelic Score (9), and Notional Star (1) all could upset in this spot. The latter has 3 wins, 2 seconds and a third in 9 starts this year. I bet the 6-1 across the board and then box those two in one exacta and then key those 2 over/under all the rest. Tread lightly here, my friends.

3rd: 7-6-5-8-2-3-1…Another bargain basement claimer here, and another one where the winner could come from any where. My dart lands on Tashreeh (7), who is trained by Mike Maker and will be making his plunge to the basement for the first time ever. Nearly won at a level above this in the last try at Churchill Downs, and wheels back for this one. Won over $116,000 last year and may be just running out of steam. Galatasaray (6) did run out of steam, literally, in his last out on Nov. 16 at Churchill. Made the lead into the stretch, but the distance was just too much. Shortens up a bit today, and his speed may carry him home. Firespike (5) has hit the board in each of his last two tries and won two back at Hawthorne. Could be right back in the money again today. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then key the 7 over/under all the rest of the numbers listed in the exactas.

4th: 8-10-5-6…Louisiana Voodoo (8) is a solid pick in this MC event for LA-breds only. Drops way down from her last out into these ranks and picks up one of the meet’s top riders in Miguel Mena. Needed the last out on Nov. 10 after a year layoff, and she was right there nearly for all of it, before tiring late. If that helps any, she could be salty in this group. Sabe Marcelete (10) finished third at this level in the last out here on Dec. 16. Wheels right back for more action today. Has 3 seconds and 4 thirds in 16 tries this year. Underneath? Fiftyshadesofnay (5) shows back up at the same level, and nearly pulled off the win in the last out, while well supported at the windows. The one to beat, for sure. I bet the 8-5 across the board and then  box the top 3 choices in the exacta.

5th: 7-5-1-6…My clearcut pick in this MC event for LA-breds is Starfish Point (7), who gets the saddle from W. Bret Calhoun, who is off to a solid meet so far with a record of 6-3-4 in 39 races. This one gets a nice class plunge from MSW company into the MC ranks and the trainer has scored at .28% with this drop. Fuhr a Slam (5) ran second — coming from the clouds — against similar in the debut here on Dec. 7. If she can get a better break, she may be tougher to hold off. Goes from slop to dry? That certainly could help her cause, too. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then key the 7 over/under all the rest listed.

6th: 3-6-2-1…Fashion Bid (3) gets my top shot in this MSW event for LA-breds. This filly by Old Fashioned ran second against similar in the las try and this will be the third try off an extended layoff. She was the beaten fav in the last try, and the trainer hits with .25% of those that are coming back after being bet so heavily. Trainer is over due for a win here, too. R Queendom (6) ran just behind the preferred choice in the last matchup. Has two third place finishes in a row and the rider scored a win here on Thursday. Can’t dismiss this one. Musket’s Cup Cake (2) and Mi Copa Rebosa (1) both have a legit shot to improve here today. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the 3-6-2 in one exacta and the 3-6-1 in another.

7th: 1-2-5-4-1-6…Anyone’s guess in this bunch. I settle on Tessa’s Treat (1), who goes for a trainer that can get them ready after a freshener, and does well with shippers (according to my great friends over at BRISNET). Daughter of Include has two seconds in 4 starts this year and has faced much tougher all her life. Swanky Princess (2) is another who will get a tremendous class relief in this spot. Trainer hits with .27% with those that are making this type of plunge. Last race came in January, though, and the trainer is .13% with this long of a layoff. Caroline Conquest (5) drops from $17,500 to $7,500 today. Never been this low for a high percentage trainer, who knows his way around Cajun Country. Picks up a nice rider switch. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in the exacta. I’m not overwhelmed by my confidence in this one, either.

8th: 3-6-2-4-5…Medal of Courage (3) gets a Best Bet designation in this spot, after running off to a 6-length victory against similar in his last effort over at Delta Downs. Picks up one of the meet’s top riders and goes for a high percentage trainer, who knows how and when to spot them. This guy has 4 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds in 11 tries this year and looks good right now. Superstar Leo (6) has hit the board in the last 4 and has finished in the money in 18 of 28 lifetime starts. Usually close at the wire. Was beaten as the favorite the last time out, and the trainer comes right back to win with .20% of these kind in the next try. El Charro (2) was claimed by Brad Cox out of his last race. Drops now for the first try after the purchase, and Cox wins with over .31% of these kind. Watch out here. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and the box the top 3 solidly in one exacta and then key the 3 over/under all the numbers in another.

9th: 1-6-7-4-2…I Am Ready Again (1) was 22-1 in his last out here on Dec. 7 and nearly pulled off the shocker. Ran a solid 2nd after stalking the pace that day on a good track. The trainer scores with .29% of those making their second route race, and that is what is happing with this 2YO gelding. Custom Ridge (6) and Iron Grip (7) both could improve enough to make a difference. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed.