Just a day before the Louisiana Champions Day, and The Fair Grounds has carded a nice program for the fans both on-track, in the Big Easy, and those of us that will be watching live on TwinSpires.com. Did pretty well yesterday (Thursday) on my first day of using the Ed DeRosa specials over at Bris.net.  I like the additional information and I am working my way through finding all of my needed details. I will be meeting with Ed next week to get a quick tutorial on some of the added numbers, but this is one document full of detail and info. Check it out.

Here is a closer look at today’s races:

1st: 1-2-3…Star Rocket (1) gets my tepid nod in the first, a MC10 for Louisiana-breds. Drops all the way from a MSW event to this level and the trainer hits with .28% with the drop into the claiming ranks. Picks up a rider change to a guy who is certainly better than his recent numbers indicate. Coming back from injury is never easy, but I look for Francisco Torres to start picking up wins soon. If this one runs back to the race two ago, this son of Star Guitar should be in a good spot here. Quiet Prince (2) moves up in class a notch after pressing the pace and tiring in the last. Inside post positions should help both of the top two picks. Trainer off to a good start here with a win and two seconds in the first 4 tries. A Crown for Beau (3) moves from six straight on the turf over to the dirt. Trainer is suspect with this move (.08%), but drops a notch in class and was the beaten favorite in the last. Trainer responds with .17% with those types. Has a shot here. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one small exacta.

2nd: 6-2-3-5…Frisco Girl (6) went way wide into the second turn in a Stakes event at Retama Park for a solid barn operation in the last. Picks up a huge rider switch today and looks to return to top form, when on full display three back. Drop in class today certainly helps this one who has faced much tougher in the last two. Arabella Bella (2) goes for a low percentage trainer, but this one has been in tough, facing the likes of Miss Mo Mentum in her last.  The latter will be on full display at Los Alamitos in a nice Stakes event on Saturday. She has also run up against both Heavenly Love and Ultima D, both of whom were in the Breeders’ Cup. Solid company there. Gets Corey Lanerie today. Aubrey (3) gets a drop in class from Stakes company, as well, for a high percentage trainer, who does very well with this rider. Don’t ignore. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in the exacta.

3rd: 8-3-1A-6-1-4…Glory Kingdom (8) has hit the board in four of his last five tries, and will be closing with a rush today for a new rider, who is off to a solid start here. Trainer hits with .24% in the claiming ranks and the same level with routers. This one is both. The choice for me. Tabaddol (3) gets the saddle from Joe Sharp, who is off to a super start here (18-4-2-3) and they team up with the hottest rider on the grounds. Won easily here in their last endeavor and no reason to think they can’t duplicate that effort today, although a slight advancement in class. Cooking Up a Storm (1A) is buried on the far outside and that has not been a good spot at this meet. But this is the second start off a considerable layoff and he should improve. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in the exacta.

4th: 4-1-5-2…Valadorna (4) is a filly that I have watched for a long time and she, undoubtedly, has the ability to dominate this race and field today. As such, she is my Best Bet of the Day. You probably won’t get the best of odds in this spot, but anything close to even money would be a good bet. She was off from February to November, but came back with a strong performance, just missing by a length despite the layoff. She should improve off that performance and be in a great stalking position for this one. She won over this dirt surface in January and then ran a nice third to Farrell in the G2 Rachel Alexandra here in February. She is the class here. Larkin (1) comes into this one off two straight wins for a top/hot trainer, who has hit on .71% of the last 7 races with rider Joe Bravo, who looks poised to have a super meet here. Factory of Faith (5) goes for another hot trainer in Anthony Rini, who has put together a 3-1-1 record in his first 7 saddle jobs this meet. I bet the 4 to win and then key over the other numbers in the exacta.

5th: 2B-8-1A-5-1…Babalight (2B) is a part of an entry for trainer Tim Dixon, who has been running this Alabama-bred gelding against open company all year. Has the back class to be in a nice stalking position for this one, and has put up a 2-2-2 slate in 10 starts this year. Indy’s Code (8) has hit the board in each of his last 7 races, and has four straight seconds in a row. Why not another? Bugging Out is Brisnet’s top pick here, and they are good. This one has been running in stakes company two of the last three tries and won this same race a year ago. Has only one race under his belt since January, though, and the 6YO may need another? I bet the 2B to win and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta and then key the top 3 over the other two in a smaller version.

6th: 5-3-2-1-7-6-4…My top three numbers are much preferred in here today, led by Breaking Beauty, who hails from the barn of Wayne Catalano. The “Cat Man” has two seconds in his first 3 starts here this meet, and this one is coming out of two straight stakes races after breaking her maiden on debut. Daughter of Into Mischief turned in a nice work here, too. Class relief should help today. Yes to the Dress (3) is coming off back-to-back impressive and easy victories at Delaware and Laurel. But she will be stretching out from 51/2 furlongs to a mile today. That’s a huge piece of ground to chew off, and it will be interesting to see if she can carry her considerable speed that far in this one. Dynashe (2) has been racing at the same two venues as the previous pick, but she has been running routes. Won a dirt debut by 9 lengths and came back to tire late in a mile race at Laurel on the class jump. Goes for a top trainer/rider combo and I can’t dismiss here. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta and then key the top 3 over the rest in a smaller version.

7th: 2-7-6-8-1…Beltway (2) picks up top rider Corey Lanerie today and drops all the way to the C15K ranks, which is the lowest price tag he has ever been offered. Shortens up a bit for this try and it may appear that the connections will try to run down the speed in the lane today. Should be solid at this level. Top Mention (7) is another from the Stidham barn, but he gets Robby Alvarado in the saddle for this one. Has been off since July 2016, which is a long, long, long time. But this one has been training super right here and may be ready to hit on the return. Trainer is .18% with layoff runners. Eights Wild (6) is a Louisiana-bred facing open competition, but sways top rider to jump off the preferred choice to mount up here. Gets back to the dirt and that should help this one and has been training well, too. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta, and then key the top 3 over the rest in a small one, too.

8th: 4-5-7-9-1…Keep an eye out to see if the 13-14-15 get in from the Also-Eligibe list. They can contend, despite the outside posts. If not, I key on Holly Go Lightly (4), who gets in here with some nice 5-1 ML odds. This one was right there on debut, before tiring late for trainer Steve Margolis. Miss Katie Bug, who won that race, is a good one, and this one should be better today for that effort. Trained well here on Nov. 29 and the new rider teams up well with this barn. My solid choice. Streetlady (5) is a first timer from the Stidham barn, and Bravo sticks here. This one is training lights out for the debut. Watch out. Naples Legacy (7) is a debut runner for Al Stall, who is hitting at a .40% clip so far this meet. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 solidly in the exacta. I key the 4 over/under all the numbers in two more, as well.

9th: 3-1-2-6-9-8…Keep an eye out for the AE here, too. Both the 14 & 13 have a shot if they draw in. If not, I land solidly on Effecting (3) in this Louisiana-bred affair. This one has been very tough since the get-go, what with 2 wins and 3 seconds in 6 lifetime starts — including a win a restricted Stakes event two back. Trainer and jock team up with .46% winners over the last 13 tries. All signals point to this one, and I would take 3-1 odds right now. Juno’s Starlet (1) gets Lanerie today and this one has won the last two. Unfortunately for these connections, those races came back in January and February. Now, comes in today off an extended vacation. Training well — take note of work on Nov. 15 here — and trainer does well with comeback efforts. Princess Samurai (2) is another coming back from a long layoff. She got a race in October at Delta Downs, but that was her first effort since April. Ran well in the return and should benefit from that effort. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then key the 3 over/under all the other numbers listed.

10th: 8-6-2…Wide open one to finish the card today, but I land on the outside horse, Commanding Action (8). Although the outside has been a tough post all meet, this one looks to lay off the pace, get to the rail as soon as possible and then bake one run at the end. Got a tightener in November and stretches back out to a more comfortable distance, it would appear. Picks up a hot rider, to boot. Ella Wally Gator (6) has a third and a second in two races to date and could improve for a high-percentage trainer, who is still looking for his first win of the meet. Could come here, with an apprentice in the irons. The weight allowance could help. Fiftyshadesofnay (2) has shown enough to give her another try, as well. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene