It is President’s Day, and that is exactly what we are going to try to win a few of this afternoon at the track in the Big Easy. A few green backs with the pictures of Presidents on them.  So, sit back. Enjoy the holiday. Watch a few races. Take to and win a few “Presidents.”

Here is a closer look at today’s card:

1st: 3-7-8-5-2…My picks marry up almost exactly with those being offered on this race by my good friends over at — the finest production of handicapping materials and advice in the world. We both prefer Timuquana Place (3) in this MC event, despite the fact that she didn’t run much at all in her last effort here on Feb. 8. Not much of an excuse can be found for that poor effort, as the odds-on favorite. Fast track. Same distance. Just didn’t fire. The good news is that the three races before, she ran second each time. Today, she gets the same rider back who guided her to two of those runner-up finishes. She is the beaten favorite in the last three races. So…how much money can she burn? I go back to her one more time. Hard Headed Woman (7) goes for the hottest trainer/jockey combo on the grounds. They have combined to win .32% of their races together and they have 62 mounts in the last 60 days. This filly has managed to carve out 3 thirds in 8 tries to date, but does drop mightily in class today, and the trainer hits with .31% with this kind of dropper. This is the second start that the trainer has put the saddle on this one, and he scores with .24% of those. Adds up. Lovemelikeyoudo (8) has not run well in back-to-back starts since being claimed for $30,000 at Keeneland in October. Before that, though, she almost scored at Kentucky Downs for $75,000 MC. Drops all the way to the $12,500 ranks today and if that doesn’t wake her up, I don’t know what can. Should respond late, if she is up to running. I bet the 3 to win/place and then key the 3 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas.

2nd: 7-5-3-1-9-8-2…Cotton Up (7) is listed as 9-2 ML odds, and may drift up the scale by post time. This 4YO gelding ran fourth last time out at a level above this one, but was beaten only 21/2 lengths. Three back, he won against LA-breds. Gets a drop down a notch and will face only state-breds again today. Both of those conditions should elevate his game. Trainer having a solid meet with limited runners. Lucas Henry (5) has faced open company the last two outs and didn’t fare well. But he, too, drops down in class and gets back to the restricted company. Both of those things should help him, too, and he picks up one of the hottest riders in the country right now in Miguel Mena. Mena has 5 wins and a third in the last 18 rides. D’money Honey (3) broke his maiden here back in November. Has not fared well since against tougher company, but gets the drop to the basement today. Apprentice rider did get a win over the weekend. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta and then key the top 3 over the rest in a smaller version.

3rd: 6-4-5-3-2…Sterling Miss (6) nearly won this same race condition here on Jan. 26, closing strong in the stretch to miss by only a length. Wheels right back to try again, and one of the best turf rides in the country stays up for this one. Jersey Joe Bravo and trainer Tom Amoss have teamed up to hit with .47% of their 17 mounts together over the last 60 days, and Bravo has scored with .28% of his mounts overall this meet. Filly had a super work here on Feb. 6 and looks ready to score today. Katie’s Reward (4) looks to be the horse to beat. She hails from the barn of Brad Cox, who still sits atop of the trainer’s standings here this meet with 35 wins in 114 starts. This filly has faced some tough customers over the last three tries, and should fit better with these today. She’s All Skeet (5) will get the saddle from Joe Sharp, who is close on the heels of his buddy Cox. Sharp has 33 wins in 127 starts, and will try to inch closer to the top today. This filly ran against the top two listed here in the last race. She was fourth, right behind the top choice and right in front of the second choice. You could have thrown a blanket over all three of them in there. Figures to be close at the wire again today. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas.

4th: 2-4-6-1-3…Extricate (2) nearly got the job done in his last try, running just a length behind the winner at the wire. Picks up a new rider today, and one that has been firing on all cylinders this entire meet. Had a nice maintenance move for the barn of Steve Asmussen there on Feb. 11 and this one has posted 2 seconds and 2 thirds in the first 4 career efforts. If he can stay healthy — which has been a job in the past — then he is likely to get to the winner’s circle soon. Like today. My Eminence (4) has raced 14 times to date. He has 5 seconds and 2 thirds. And, he has faced some tough guys along the way. But, eventually, it gets time to cash the big ticket and move along the condition book. The last three efforts have not been as good as the ones in the past, but this guy did fire a really nice move here on Jan. 12. May be back on his game today, but is his game “seconditis?” App (6) is a 4YO son of Flatter, and will be making his career debut for trainer Al Stall, Jr. Nice series of works leading up to this debut, and the trainer does hit with .20% of those making the first appearance. The trainer and jockey have combined to win 3 of their last 4 outs together over the last two weeks. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta and then key the 2 over/under the numbers in two more.

5th: 9-3-1-5…Golden Days (9) is a first time starter for Cox, who hits with .20% of these kind. This one is working nicely for the debut (look at the Feb. 4 move). Jockey has rode only one other horse for this barn in the last 60 days, but that was a winner. Take note. Nothing But Tom (3) is another first time starter, and another one who has been working lights out in the mornings (look at the bullet on Feb. 1). Well bred son of Street Cry cost over $130,000 at Keeneland September 2016, and will get the meet’s winningest rider up. Lots to like. More Fun Again (1) is the third first timer that I prefer in this tilt. Trainer Tom Proctor has been a bit cool on the front end this meet, but has hit the board 17 of 29 times out. This daughter of Arch was bred by Governor Brereton C. Jones and is now owned by his farm manager Tim Thornton. He must have saw something in this one. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

6th: 6-9-5-3-4…Russell Cave (6) nearly pulled off the win in her last try, losing by a short neck in the final jump. Comes back today at the same level, and a similar run will make him mighty tough in this spot, too. This son of Street Cry is owned by the trainer, and has hit the board in the last three tries. The winner two back has already returned to win again, and this guy may be ready to graduate today. Wild Will (9) picks up Florent Geroux today and gets back to the dirt surface, which it appears that this guy prefers. Drops to a career low level, and that should help this one wake up, as well. Zarski (5) gets a nice class drop from the MC30 ranks all the way to $12,500 for this one. Will go for a new trainer for the first time, and he is having a tough meet to date — what with only 1 win in 18 starts. Still, should be competitive at this low level. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

7th: 1-7-6-3-4-5-9-8…La Flor (1) ran a nice third despite a rough trip last time out, and now comes right back at what is essentially the same level. The stretch out in distance, though, should help this closer, despite the 45 day layoff. Gets a new rider for this one. Track Rose (7) has not been close in the last two, but showed some class in the debut run back in September at Churchill Downs. Gets a huge class drop today for a top trainer, and picks up a brilliant grass rider for this one. Definitely the one to beat. Diane Fame (6) has never been close in three previous tries. I toss the last one, though, when she ran over the slop here. Gets another drop in class and a return to the sod for today, and the work on Feb. 5 is promising. I bet the 1-7 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta and key the top 3 over the rest of the numbers in a smaller version.

8th: 4-6-9-1-5-8-7-2…What a nice race carded here. In fact, this could have some implications on the Louisiana Derby, which will highlight this meet in a few weeks. My top pick is San Elijo (4), who broke his maiden in impressive fashion in his last race here on Jan. 13. That was just his second career start, after losing to Zing Zang on debut in December. That one will run today in the Southwest Stakes over at Oaklawn. This 3YO gelding by Alternation goes for a trainer/jockey duo that has teamed up to win with .29% of their previous 28 starts here together. Nice work on Feb. 9. Looks ready. Dark Templar (6) ran a came second to the undefeated Retirement Fund, who will also start in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park today. This 3YO son of Tapit has never missed the board and will get the services of Florent Geroux. Has been working well for this one, too, and he cost $475,000 as a 2016 yearling at Keeneland September. The one to beat. Lone Sailor (9) has had a couple of tough runs in the last two, but that came in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club and the G3 LeComte. Now, gets back to the allowance ranks, which should help. This one lost by just a head to Gotta Go in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill last October. And, Gotta Go still sits on my top Derby contenders. So…I have to use this one. I bet the 4-9 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. 

9th: 11-3-1-7-8-9-4-2…Tap City Danzer (11) has posted a second and a third in his two previous races and now goes searching for that elusive first win. This one has plenty of speed, and will move over the the grass for the first time and stretch out to a mile for the first time. While that does not really compute, it may be the perfect angle. The trainer wins with .20% with first time routers and at .19% with the shift from dirt to turf. Looks well bred for the grass. Big Shanty (3) didn’t run a step in the debut effort, but was bet down to favoritism in that initial run. Comes right back for more today, and the second place horse in that debut effort has already come back to win. Works of late have been good. Another shot today. Come on Get Higher (1) will make his debut for a new trainer, who scores with .23% of those making the debut with the new barn. Ran a solid second last time out and could improve off that effort today. I bet the 11 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta and then key the top 3 over the rest in a smaller version.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene