Well, we are down to the last two days of 2017. But we still have a shot at making some money, right? Great races abound all over the U.S. of A. today, and if you get a chance, check out for Saturday Preview Show — hosted by Dave Baker — where we take a look at all of the Stakes events carded around the country — including the Fair Grounds, Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park. In addition, we have our Saturday Races Forecast, located in our “Breeding Segment” today. This is a written run-down of the Stakes, as well.  We hope that we can provide you with as much information and detail as you want and need.

Here is a closer look at today’s full card at Fair Grounds:

1st: 9-4-6…This is a 51/2-furlong sprint on the grass for LA-breds only, and I get a Best Bet right off the bat. Al Stall — who is off to his usual solid start here in his home turf, so to speak — sends out Starlet Guitar, who ran second here on Dec. 9 in her debut effort. That came going 6-furlongs on the dirt, and now she will try the grass for the first time — and the trainer wins at .18% with horses running in their second career race and .11% with the switch in surfaces. This one worked very well here on Christmas Eve, and looks primed. The only serious question is that trainer wins with only .05% of firsts on the turf. Still, gets my top nod in here. Fame Feather (4) ran third in that same debut race as the preferred choice, and was beaten a length that day. This one made a nice little middle move, but hung and never seriously challenged. According to my great friends at BRISNET, this one’s dam has had 5 winners from 6 starters with one turf winner. Now that is info you don’t get anywhere else. These guys are the best handicappers in the game today. Barn none. You should really check out their products. Deezee Dial (6) is by a really nice stallion who has had a good year in his first crop. Pressed the pace early from a wide post in the first out here on Dec. 9. Has come back to work really well. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then key the 9 over/under the “all button” in the exactas.

2nd: 5-4-3…This one is a MC for LA-breds only, and I go directly to a solid choice in Lougarou (5). This gelded son of My Pal Charlie nearly won on debut for Stall on Nov. 23 here. Beaten a neck that day, after making the lead late. Comes right back at the same level, and gets the addition of blinkers. The trainer is .14% win with the addition of the equipment and is even better at .31% with beaten favorites. Solid pick here. Atomic Element (4) and Lookingforroses (3) both have a shot. The latter ran second at this level on Dec. 10 and keeps one of the hottest riders on the grounds in Shaun Bridgmohan — who has 5 wins, 1 second and 2 thirds in the last 17 mounts over the past week. Take note. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in the exacta.

3rd: 5-2-3-1-4-6…Play the Break (5) is a mare that was claimed off Ian Wilkes two races back. Had her hands full in the move up in class in the last out, but this one had hit the board in the previous five races. Gets back to the claiming ranks today and that should help. Joe Bravo gets the mount today. Should I write any more? My solid pick at 5-1 ML odds and my first Upset Special. Tom Amoss sends out his first of the day in this $30,000-claimer with So You Know (2). Gets the meet’s top rider aboard and will be making her first start for the new barn — who hit with .24% of newcomers. Trained super here on Dec. 12 and has hit the board 8 times in the first 11 races. This is a PA-bred running against open company, but has a decided class advantage on paper. Dandy Gal (3) gets a nice little class drop today for a solid trainer/jockey team. She won her last out in the mud at Hawthorne, and this IL-bred has 8 wins in her resume out of 23 starts. Solid work here on Dec. 16. Trainer is .30% with first time claimers. Take note. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then key the 5 over/under all the rest.

4th: 5-3-2-1A-7-12-8…This 1-mile Turf event for $10,000 claimers is wide, wide open. My top pick in here has never been on the surface in the first 52 races of his career. But he had a super work over at Tampa Bay on Dec. 20, and is shipped over here for this one? Has been running on the all-weather up in PA, and has hit the board in 8 of the last 9 tries against tougher. A NY-bred gets Robby Alvarado, who is off to a quite start here this meet. Time to wake up? Nice odds at 6-1 ML. Minecraft (3) goes for a hot trainer and a cold jockey. Likes to press the pace and be close, if not on, to the lead. In the last 10 races, he has been on the board 9 times with a fourth — when beaten less than a length for all of it. Facing tougher today, though. Svindahl (2) goes for a red hot trainer/jock combo — who have teamed up to win at a .35% clip over the last 34 races together. Ran a game third her against these types on Dec. 10. Will be closing late. Has a chance. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta and then key the top 3 over the rest in another.

5th: 5-6-2-7-1-4…Another wide open race, for me. I finally go to Line Judge, another for the team of trainer Joe Sharp and rider Adam Beschizza. This one has not been out since Nov. 23, when he spit the bit at Churchill Downs in a much tougher event. Gets the drop today to the lowest level of his career. Has speed and can stalk, and I think the class relief can propel this one to the top again today. Has 4 wins under his belt in the first 10 starts. Call the Colonel (6) is 10-1 ML and I like his chances in this one, despite the lack of success to date. Gets a huge drop in class and had a nice training session here on Nov. 22. Will be closing late and with a good, clean run may light up the board a bit in the exactas. Rocky Tough (2) is an Amoss-Mena entry, but has been running against better, too. I like the race at Churchill two back and he came back to win at Delta Downs on Dec. 1. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta, and then key those 3 over the rest in another.

6th: 11-14-12-7-2-5-3…The Pago Hop Stakes…Farrell (11) — who was one of the favorites for this year’s Kentucky Oaks — has won over $700,000 in her 10 race career and has been tremendous at this track, with wins in the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks, the G2 Rachael Alexandra, and the Silverbulletday. But all of that has come over the dirt. Today, she will try the grass for the first time for a trainer who has said publicly that he was looking to do just that. She is very well bred, and her dam — by Unbridled’s Song — has produced 3 Turf winners to date. Today, may be the 4th. She is coming into this one off a front-running win in the G2 Chilukki Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. Looks like she will try to get a nice stalking spot, but the post position is challenging. I’m Betty G (14) could be the upset play in here, but she is stuck so far wide and will have to use here abundant speed to try to carve out a good trip. This one has run in three straight Graded Stakes events over the grass and she finished third in two of them and fourth in the other. Gets Bravo in the saddle and has a big shot on the lead today. Sensitive (12) has been on my HTW list for much of the year. She has two nice seconds in a row, but will move up in class for this one. Must find a new rider today. Will be the true closer in here, and will need some racing luck and room. I bet the 11-14 across the board and then box those two strong. I then key the 11-14 over/under all the rest listed.

7th: 1-5-6-7-2…Gorse (1) will get the saddle from Jordan Blair, a nice, youthful trainer with some talent. He has not hit the board yet with his first 4 starters at this meet, but has won with .20% of his runners this year. He is overdue. This one has already won 2 races in his career, including a front-running win at Churchill Downs on Nov. 11. Keeps a solid rider aboard. Grit (5) is one of two that will be saddled under the name of Steve Asmussen in here. But this one, unlike this teammate, has already won 6 times in his career. This one is a LA-bred, but will be closing from deep off the pace. Finished third in a similar race last time out and was beaten only a length then. could be good odds. Han Sense (6) and Spikes Shirl (7) both have a shot in here, too. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under all the rest of the numbers listed.

8th: 7-5-12-8-9-3…The Woodchopper Stakes…Woodchopper was one of my longshot plays for the Kentucky Derby, back in the day. He didn’t win, but he ran a huge second at some long odds, and helped reap some nice returns for the old, home team. Fond memories. Today, I go with a mild upset in here and land solidly on Big Bend (7) — who is 6-1 ML odds. I would love to get those numbers on him at PT. This guy is coming into this one off three straight wins for red-hot trainer Tom Proctor, who nailed two wins here on Friday. In his first 8 starters here this meet, Proctor is 2-4-1. He is coming off an impressive win in the G3 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland. and will press the pace from the get go in here. The distance — backing up to a mile — is my only question. Mr. Misunderstood is undefeated on the grass, having won all 7 races he has run over the surface. In that grouping, he has two wins over this grass course, too. He is 4-1 ML, but is likely to drop from those numbers. He is a closer type and will be shortening up to a mile in here. Has won here at this distance twice, but will need to kick it in quicker for a new rider (TBD). The big number in this race may go to Caribou Club (12), who has won two in a row out west and has hit the board in 8 of his 9 lifetime tries. Will be stalking the pace from the get go and may fit this distance perfectly. Gets the expert services of Joe Bravo, and I would be crazy to leave this guy out of the equation. I am going to bet the 7-12 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers solidly. I am then going to wheel the 7-12 over the other numbers listed, looking for an upset today.

9th: 4-2-9-6…Conquest Tiz One (4) was claimed off Michael Stidham two races back and ran very well against much tougher here on Dec. 10. Now she gets the class drop back down and will face LA-breds only for the first time since March. This one will like to stalk and press the pace, and goes for a trainer who has hit with half of his 4 horses making their second start for the barn. All the numbers add up here for this one. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key over/under all the rest.

10th: 1-5-3-9-6…Diamond Delight (1) is my solid choice and my last Best Bet in this spot today. He has 4 starts to date, and has run second in 3 of them. I think he finds the winner’s circle today, for a solid barn who hits with .33% with this rider over the last 15 races together. Probably pressed the pace a little too fast in the last one, when he tired late. But he draws the golden rail (.27% win clip) today and shortens up to a mile. My solid choice here. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under all the rest.

11th: 5-10-7-8-1…How do you not go with the exacta box of Fiftyshadesofbay (5) and Quiet Seduction (10). Really? To make it even better, put Watch My Smoke (7) in the equation. Hunch bet time for the $5,000 claimers. But I bet the 5-10 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

Good Luck &

All the Best/Gene