After a day of torrential downpours, lightning strikes, thunderous thunders that caused track management to cancel races after the 3rd event on Saturday, we are back for some racing action in the Louisiana Purchase. We did move over to the sunny Florida coast on Saturday and performed very well. But we are back in the Big Easy today. We are Off the turf and the main track is listed as “good,” as we start the program. Handicapping reflects these changes. Here is a look at today’s card:

1st: 4-3-5-1…Champagne Problems (4) has tackled some pretty tough company in the last few, and today she gets some nice class relief. Ran 4th against Valadorna in the Tiffany Lass Stakes here on Dec. 26. Before that, though, she had five finishes in a row in the top 3 slots. Nice work here on Jan. 21 for top connections. Regular rider gets back up. Definitely the one to beat. Song of Spring (3) is 8-1 ML, and picks up Corey Lanerie again, after a misfired in the same stakes as the preferred choice in the last effort. This one likes to close from off the pace, and should benefit from a tiring track? I think so. Flora Dora (5) goes for the barn of Wayne Catalano, who is off to a rather slow start here. Should heat up soon, though, and this one had a super nice work here on Jan. 6. Can’t dismiss this filly, despite the fact that she was 0-for-3 in 2017. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under all the numbers in the exacta.

2nd: 1-3-4-6-7…The first Best Bet of the Day comes right here, with Givemeaminit (1), who went picked his last time out here on Dec. 31. Jockey absolutely fell asleep in that event and asked him way too late, and went so far wide that it compromised all his chances. Gets a new rider in Corey Lanerie today, and we all should expect a more vigorous ride from the get go. This one out-talents this field by many. I bet the 1 (despite the low odds) to win, only, and then key the 1 over all of the numbers listed. Very small “all button” over the 1 to cover. I key the 1 in all the horizontals.

3rd: 7-8-6-1…Proud Commander (7) gets top billing in this 1-mile event, which is off the turf. This gal will be stretching out off a 6-furlong effort back in August at Delaware Park. But she has hit the board in each of the last three tries and is training super well for a class trainer. Gets a new jock aboard today, and he is riding super, as well. The horse to beat. Heavenly Kingdom (8) goes for the meet’s top trainer, but she has never been on the dirt before. Picks up Lanerie in the saddle today, and that should help. But she is a question mark with the surface switch. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then key the 7 over/under all the rest listed.

4th: 4-3-1-7-2…Whistling Wind (4) gets my nod in this spot, despite tiring and fading off to a 7th place finish in his last out. Was wide throughout that trip, but gets a rider switch today. Trainer hits with .19% of beaten favorites returning. And, has trained right along since the last race debacle. Going Country (3) gets the saddle from an ice-cold trainer, who has scored only one trip to the winner’s circle this meet in 18 tries. And, this one was pulled up and vanned off in the last race. But? Good news? This one has been on an “off” track 4 previous times and has 2 seconds and a third. Numbers move way up on a track listed anything but fast. Returns to LA-breds only, too, and that will definitely help. Zac’s Star (1) gets a career class drop all the way to the bottom. Shortens up and gets back to the dirt. Will push the pace from the rail, which is golden. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under all the other numbers listed.

5th: 2-6-1-4-9…Another event moved off the sod to the dirt. As a result, a number of scratches to take note. I go with Star Performer (2), who will be going for the barn of hot trainer Al Stall. This one was well supported at the windows on debut, but tired very late in that effort. Still held on for third. Bred for the dirt on the sire side, and should have no problem with the surface switch. R Queendom (6) has 4 previous starts — all on the dirt — and has put up a second and two thirds. Should be ready to go today, from a stalking spot. Saint’s Girl (1) breaks from the rail and will be closing. Should like the extra distance today, and could be tough late with a clean trip. I bet the 2-1 to win/place/show, and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta, and key the top 3 over the rest in a smaller version.

6th: 4-6-2-1…High Moon (4) gets a class drop off a win, which came at Hawthorne on Dec. 8. This one has won two of the last 3 and has 3 career wins already in the belt. The trainer hits with .50% when he drops off a victory. Take note. Meet’s top rider gets up today. Aurora’s Kid (6) gets much needed class relief and drops to a level he has never seen before. This should wake up this deep closer, who had a good 2017 with 7 Top Three finishes out of 13 starts. I can’t leave out Firespike (1) either. Claimed last time out by a trainer who wins with .26% of first timers off the purchase. I bet the 4-1 to win/place/show and then box the 4-6-1 in one exacta and the 4-1-2 in another.

7th: 9-5-3…Another event moved from the turf to the dirt. Number of scratches here. As a result, only three horses left to contest. I go with Legallini (9), who was entered for the Main Track Only. Goes for a top barn and rider combo. Should air in here. I bet the 9 to win and then key over the other two in exactas.

8th: 7-5-2-1-8-6…The top 4 numbers are the key horses in this spot. I land with All Out of Aces (7) for the barn of Larry Jones. Picks up a solid rider change for this one, and has been training super good. Shortens up a bit for this try and that should help this one, who likes to be close to the lead throughout. Aggressive rider will get her there, and the question is whether she is good enough to stay there. Lieutenant Seany (5) and Etruscan (2) both warrant a look at the upset possibility. The latter is 12-1 ML and may rate a shot with the ship in from Evangeline Downs. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then key the 7 over/under all the other numbers in the exactas.

9th: 7-6-14-5-3…Mark Casse, whose barn has sent out .21% winners in 48 starters this meet, gets the nod here with Lucky Move (7), despite the move to the dirt surface. This filly has good enough breeding lines to take to the surface switch, and has shown that she can move nicely over it in the a.m. works. Aikenetta (6) is definitely the horse to beat. She hails from the barn of Neil Howard and has shown that she can run over the dirt, as the race two back at Churchill Downs demonstrates. This one will stalk and close, and looks to be in fine form for this try. Gets a rider switch for this effort. Drawing in from the AE list is Glory Train (14), who ran third on a sloppy track here back in December. I bet the 7-6 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta.

10th: 7-1A-1-2-6-8…Fuhr a Slam (7) should be the PT favorite for today’s finale. This 3YO filly ran a game second on debut and followed that up with a 4th, despite going wide throughout. Gets back to 6Fs today and that should assist this closer. I bet the 7-1 to win/place/show (hoping the 1s can both hit the board). I key the 7-1 over/under the rest.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene