Here are today’s picks for Fair Grounds:

1st: 7-8-3-2…Our Bernattete (7) ges a slight nod in this spot, coming off a 4th place finish in a tougher spot. This will will be airing from the get go, but if she can catch a dry track, she may be able to carry that speed farther. Casino Beach (8) drops out of MSW events for Louisiana-breds only into open company. Normally, not a good angle, but she has a shot in this group and worked well on Nov. 1. She’s Loves Leather (3) gets a drop in class for a trainer who does well with first timers in his barn. Should be tough today. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and box the top 3 in the exacta.

2nd: 10-9-4-2-11…Ghurair (10) gets the barn’s top rider today after a solid effort against much tougher in the last here on Nov. 30. Finds the lowest spot he’s ever been in and should be able to stalk out a good spot for this one. Cadet Captain (9) is an Illinois-bred who will wing it from the get-go. Outside posts do not do well on this course, but this 7YO should be able to find a spot early with the speed. Can he hang on? Montana Kid (4) nearly scored in this same condition on Nov. 18. Will be closing with a rush for a trainer that does well with beaten favorites returning. Jock returns for this visit. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then box the top 3.

3rd: 1-6-5-7-2…How Sweet It Is (1) has hit the board in each of his last 8 tries, and drops into the same level claiming ranks where he won at Arlington back in July. Should like the inside spot, which has been golden the first part of this meet, and should like the class drop. This one gets the first Best Bet of the Day. Heir Apparent (6) has had two rough outings in a row, but has the back class to compete at this level with his best. Gets a return to the same rider who he won with back in September. In Full Swing (5) is a 3YO filly who bombed in her last try and gets the plunge for a top trainer today. Showed some class at Evangeline back in the summer. Can’t dismiss this barn. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed.

4th: 3-7-10-4-8-11…Thirsty Actor (3) gets back to the level he belongs after an ill-advised try in the Hawthorne Derby in the last. This one has tactical speed and draws inside. The one to beat, for sure. My second Best Bet. Cordero (7) goes for a red-hot barn which wins with .26 of those making their seconds start after the claim and second start with the trainer. Love the 6-1 ML odds. Get a Valentine (10) draws a tough post for a trainer who struggles with turf starters (.04%), but this one has the talent to dominate in this drop today, if ready. I bet the 3 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.

5th: 4-3-1-5…Meadow Gem (4) goes for a trainer who hits with .24% of horses making their debut with the barn after a claim. Such is the case with this team today, and he ran a lights out performance against softer at Churchill Downs two back with his same rider. Trainer excels with these kind. Racey Reecey (3) didn’t show much in the last try, but the three previous tries were all solid. Gets a huge rider switch today and should be in a good stalking position for this one. Lovely Charlie (1) won the last two and is spot on right now. Moves up a notch in class, but is good on the lead and draws the golden rail. The one to catch. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and box the top 3.

6th: 6-3-9-8-2…Excessivespending (6) is a filly I touted and bet in her last try and she caught an awful trip — in the 8th path the whole way. Awful. My third and last Best Bet today on the return here. She will be closing strong and if Miguel Mena can scope out a good spot and an opening, she will be tough, tough, tough in this spot. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key her over/under all the other numbers listed.

7th: 2-1-4-5…Oater (2) gets the nod in a wide open race here an my choice is a tepid one. This one caught a sloppy track at Churchill on Nov. 18 and went 7 wide in that first try after a claim for a solid barn operation. Gets a huge rider switch for this one and if he can find a dry track, he may just return to the same level he showed two back. Russell Cave (1) hasn’t been close, really, in any of his first four tries, and drops back to a sprint distance — which he may prefer? Spelletto (4) is a first timer starter for a barn that hits with .14% of those making the debut in a MC event. Hasn’t shown he can’t run, yet. And, that’s a plus here. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under in the exactas.

8th: 3-10-2-1…Morrison (3) drops out of two straight tries at G3 races for a trainer who is off to a great start this meet. This colt is a NY-bred going against open company, but has shown the ability to exceed, any way. Had a nice work on Dec. 2 and looks ready for this one. Zee (10) won on debut for a top trainer, who is off to another outstanding start here. This one, obviously, steps up in class today, but he just may have the talent to do it with style. Gets Joe Bravo in the saddle, and he may be the best in the colony here. Outside post does not help. Dr. Baskin (2) is another NY-bred and another facing winners for the first time. Goes for a top barn, though, and is training well. I bet the 3 to win/place/show solidly and then key the 3 over/under all the numbers listed.

9th: 9-3-1-2…Miss You Jo (9) gets an outside post, which is no bargain here these days, but this one will be closing late, so should be able to drop over and save the necessary ground early. Liked the drop into LA-breds only in the last and might score against the same today. Dickie Do Wrong (3) jumped right out to a quick lead on debut before tiring late. If that exercise helped, he may be tougher today. Lookingforroses (1) goes for a high percentage trainer (.21%) and gets a rider who has one win in two starts here. Drops in class for this one and gets the rail. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then key the 9 over/under all the rest listed.

Good Luck &

All the Best/Gene