It is a holiday, and no better way to spend the day off than to be “on” the racetrack; or “on” the simulcast facility; or “on” the ADW.  So, let’s have a few picks to put you “on” the money.

Here is a closer look at Monday’s card at the Fair Grounds:

1st: 6-1-2-5…Liberty Lane (6) cuts down in class, and picks up the hottest rider in Louisiana. This one has not been close against much tougher over the last 5, but really put together some nice runs before that with 3 straight wins last summer. Had a good work here on Christmas Eve and the trainer/jockey have teamed up to win with .22% of the last 9 together. Like the 5-1 odds. Big Kick (1) is 8-5 ML and is certainly the horse to beat. This one hit the board in 8 of 11 starts in 2017, but hasn’t been close to getting in front over the last 3 either. Drops in class for a high percentage trainer and the meet’s leading rider. Cutacorner (2) was claimed last time out when he nearly pulled off the win on the dirt. Throw out a poor grass run and this one has hit the board in the other 3 and 6 of the other 7 previous tries. Will stalk and/or push the pace, and picks up a hot rider who has 5-2-1 record in 18 rides over the last week. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the 6-1-2 in the exacta.

2nd: 5-4-3-2-1…Guitar King (5) took well to the grass in his first try over it here on Dec. 23. Ran well before tiring late, but still held on for third. Had the glasses on for the first time in that last try, too, and has come back to work well here on Jan. 7. Could improve enough to be tough in this spot. Grand Luwegee (4) sprinted last time out, and will have to add some distance to the run today. But he was closing hard in the turf sprint for a trainer and rider who could sure use a win right now. Nothings Changed (3) pushed hard on the front end of a good turf course here on Dec. 23. Tired late in that one. But the race two back on a firm course was very nice. Could be tough against these LA-breds on a solid footing. Nippy Red (2) should be the horse to beat off the last run, but it sure doesn’t look like Corey Lanerie is riding as good as he has in the past, or as good as he can. Tired or disinterested? After three straight poor rides on Sunday, I just can’t go back to the well today. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the 5-4-3 in one exacta.

3rd: 2-1-4-5…Noisey Boy (2) gets a drop to the basement, and that is a first for this 5YO gelding. Trainer hits with .18% of those racing for the third time off the layoff, and that is the case today. Trainer has but one win in 21 starts this meet and can sure use the victory now. Quiet Prince (1) ran off to an easy 9-length victory in a LA-bred maiden-claiming event last time out in the slop. Now, faces winners for the first time. That’s a tough step up, but not much comp in here to deal with. Heavenly Gem (4) ran a distant second at long odds at this level last time out. Hot rider gets back on today. Trainer has won just .05 over the last 13 months. Question mark. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the first two picks in one exacta and then key the 2-1 over the “all button” in another.

4th: 3-6-2-4…If this one comes off the turf, and the #7 draws in for the MTO, I have to put that one on top. If it stays green, then I go to Dontmesswithxjoanne (3) — who was a high pick for me in the last two when she burned a lot of money as the favorite. I go back for another dose only because she isn’t facing the same types as she has been, and the winner of the last two really ran well against open Stakes horses over the weekend. Top jock leaps back on board. My Best Bet of the Day, right here. If she runs the same as the last two, I think she whips this field. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then key the 3 over/under all the rest of the numbers listed.

5th: 1-3-2-5…Chesapeake City (1) was walked off in the last out, but that came after a long layoff. Hasn’t got a published work since then, but with the meet’s top rider getting up today, I have to think that this one is OK to try again. Deep drop into the lower echelons of racing today, and gets the blinkers off — which have not worked in either of the last two starts. Gasping here, but I’ll take the 8-1 longshot. Halifax (3) is such the best in this spot that I have to put in the top order, despite the rider’s recent poor performance. Drops to a career low level and if he does anything at all close to the same run he put on at Churchill Downs on Nov. 22, then he should drill this group. But…Chuck’s Quest (2) ran well enough against LA-breds only last time out, and may be good enough to challenge these, as well, if the top two falter — again. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta.

6th: 2-8-6-1-9-12…Great Kat (2) nearly pulled off the feat in the last try, before losing the lead very late as the favorite. Trainer hits with .26% with those returning for the first time after being bet down as the choice. Trainer is having a super good meet here, and looks eligible to improve on the third try after the long layoff. Like the 7-2 odds. Sky Force (8) is a first-time starter for the meet’s top trainer. Jock has hit with .38% of the last 39 horses that he has ridden for this barn. Trainer can score with first timers, especially on the sod. Big E (6) gets class relief after a nice try against tougher back in September at Churchill Downs. Trainer is off to a solid start here, and gets the services of one of the best riders in this colony. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

7th: 1-2-3-7…Fearless Kitty (1) looked like a winner on debut here Dec. 22 before tiring late as the favorite. Comes right back against similar today, and figures to be tighter and more fit for the second effort. Can’t see any reason why he can’t make the circle today — with the rail as golden as it has been. My second Best Bet of the Day right here. Bye Bye Shanghai (2) is a first time starter for Wayne Catalano, who scores with .19% of those making the debut. The dam has one winner from one starter to date, and the trainer rally does well with those that make debut on the MC level. Jock looks to be waking up, too. Great Sky (3) gets a huge drop in class for a trainer that does well with those making this drop and getting the blinkers for the first time. First time gelding, too. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed.

8th: 4-7-3-11-6-5-10-2-1…Last Play (4) gets my last Best Bet of the Day designation. Trainer/Jockey combo have hit with .41% of the last 29 runs together, and this one nearly pulled the win off here on Nov. 26 when she caught a firm grass course. Faltered a bit on a yielding track last time out with the first time blinkers. Now, the shades come back off and Jersey Joe — the best rider in these parts — gets up. Very nice work here on Jan. 4. Adds up for me. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under all the other numbers listed in the exacta.

9th: 3-1A-1-8-4-7…Watch My Smoke (3) ran away to an easy win last time out when dropped into LA-breds only and with a new rider. Same jock returns and there’s no reason to believe that this 10YO can’t repeat with another top performance in here. Both parts of the entry can hit the board in this spot and that is enticing. Fist Full (8) has faced much, much tougher and should appreciate the class relief in this spot for a solid barn operation. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene