It is my daughter’s Birthday Eve, and when your baby is turning 30 years young, it is worth celebrating both the day before and the day of, right? So, I am hoping that my beautiful girl has a wonderful day, night and weekend to enjoy the search for the elusive groundhog and her monumental birthday.

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

1st: 2-4-7-3-1…Runningdowndreams (2) is my top pick here, after hitting the board in each of the last 4 tries and 6 of the last 7. The only miss in there was a lone try on the turf, which didn’t go well. Stretches out to a mile today after sprinting in the last few goes of it. Trainer hits with .17% of those stretching out from a sprint to a route. This daughter of Colonel John is a closer going shorter. Let’s hope the added distance can step her up a cord. Lurey An (4) is the horse to beat, for sure. Goes for a top trainer here this meet; gets Lasix for the first time and likes to show off her speed in the early going. Ran third in the last two. She will need to hold on late. Charzee Baby (7) gets the blinkers added after two really nice runs here. Nearly won this condition in the last try, but was 1/2-length short at the wire. Trainer does well with this rider up, and could be right there with any improvement at all. I bet the 2-7 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

2nd: 9-6-4-3-1…Too Dim (9) won two races back and was nipped a nose in the last one here on Jan. 14. Turns right back in two weeks for trainer Tom Amoss, who is having his normal super meet here. One of the meet’s winningest riders stay atop. Should be really tough again today. Snapper Bite (6) has not been close in any of the last 4, but those were against tougher. Winner of the last race has already returned to win. Before that, this one had 3 wins in a row against better. Drops to the basement today, and I give a shot with these. Just Due (4) lost the rider in the last try and it’s might tough to win without a jock aboard. At least in the eyes of the stewards. Before that, though, this one had won two of the previous four and had hit the board in all of them. Drops to the bottom today in a nice plunge. I have to use. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

3rd: 5-1-3-9-1A-6…Humor (5) has been right there at the end of the last 6 tries, but hasn’t seen the winner’s circle in awhile. Drops in half today, from $30,000 to $15,000, and that may prove to be enough to move this 6YO up enough at the wire. Beltway (1) goes for top trainer Tom Amoss, who is winning at a .28% clip this meet. Claimed last time out and now moves up in distance and tries the grass for just the 4th the today. Had a nice second against tougher at Ellis Park last summer. The one to beat. Roar of the Lion (3) has been close in each of the last six and has 4 in the money finishes in the first 10 tries. Deep closer will be trying at the end. I bet the 5-1 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

4th: 1-3-2-7-6…Yooou Den (1) is a horse that I have touted before and have come up wanting. Moves from the grass to the dirt today, and drops all the way to the bottom. The combo of those changes may prove enough to jump start this mare. Won at Keeneland against tougher in October, and will be trying late. Harbor Jedi (3) won three races back against tougher and now gets the class drop to the lowest level of her career. Has a third in the only start over this track. Stately Defense (2) was claimed last time out and now goes for a trainer who wins with .17% of those making the debut for the barn. Won the last try, but ran well behind the preferred choice two races back. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed.

5th: 8-3-11-10-2-6…Feisty Embrace (8) has never been worse than 3rd in any of her five lifetime starts and ran a game second against LA-bred Stakes horses in the last out. Should like the drop in company for a top barn today, and had a super work her on Jan. 22. My first Best Bet of the Day comes right here. Yes Gorgeous (3) has recorded a win and 5 seconds in 9 lifetime starts. I like her a lot today — underneath. Andthebandplayedon (11) is another who hails from the barn of Al Stall, Jr. (.21% wins this meet). She has a win and two seconds in just 4 starts. Comes out of a stakes event, too. Figures. I bet the 8-11 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta; I key the 8-11 over all the numbers in another.

6th: 1-3-4-6-2…Jenda’s Agenda (1) faces a tough bunch today, and will be making her first start since March of 2017. But she comes from a barn that knows how to get them ready off the bench. Trainer hits with .25% of those away this long and she has been working lights out here since December. Gets the golden rail for this sprint and one of the meet’s best riders aboard. All adds up to being 7-5 ML odds. My second Best Bet of the Day. Sister Kan (3) got really, really good late last year, winning four in a row. Walked away by over 13 lengths in her last race of 2017, back in August at Indy. Has been training well here for the return and the trainer does well with these types of layoffs (.26%). Nineteenth Street (4) won here in the slop on Dec. 20. Came back to post a super work here on Jan. 25. Looks sharp. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta; I key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed in two more.

7th: 1-5-7-8-4…Go right back to the rail for this one with Deadline (1), who was a beaten favorite the last time out. If you throw out the lone dirt try (which was a G2 event), this one has been might good and consistent on the grass surfaces. Looks to have found the right spot here and should be tough if she can avoid the severe traffic jam that compromised her in the last try. Yes to the Dress (5) is the one to beat, for sure. She has posted two wins and a tough-beat nose job in the last. Loves the front end, though, in a race that looks to have an abundance of front runners. That could compromise her in this spot, since she has never gone this far on the grass before. Luna (7) just broke her maiden here on Dec. 20, running over a sloppy track. But she had closed well in the previous grass try and looks to be training well for this one, too. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed.

8th: 7-1-6-3-2-8…Warleggan (7) gets the drop from MC30 to MC15 today and that should help this son of Data Link. Will move from the grass to the dirt for the first time, and the trainer hits with .19% of those making the switch. Has some solid works of late, and maybe the blinkers that were added two back with have more of an affect today against lesser competition. Uncail (1) goes for a solid, young trainer who is trying to get his first win of the meet. May come right here with a son of Uncle Mo, who moves from the turf to the dirt for the first time. Solid work on Jan. 13 and should appreciate a huge class drop, as well. No Limit (6) goes today as a gelding for the first time. Corey Lanerie sticks on this one, and he is riding super good right now. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 number in one exacta.

9th: 1-6-3-8-2…A solid field in a nice turf event going 11/16-miles. I like the #1 today, and, sure enough, go to the rail with It’s Your Nickel (1) in here. This will be the first time in the last 6 races that this one has NOT faced Stakes company. And, he ran up against the likes of Mr. Misunderstood — undefeated on the grass — in the last one here on Dec. 30. This one is a deep closer and will need racing room and luck, but he could score at a price today. My Upset Pick of the Day. Kitten’s Cat (6) is a pace-pusher and will get first try to take the lead at the top of the stretch in this one. Has run two good ones in a  row, but backed up in each of those. Has a second and a third at this distance in a race full of horses that really have proven that want no part of this ground. One Mean Man (3), High Noon Rider (8), and No Distortion (2) all warrant a shot, but not a one of them have won at this distance in 15 tries collectively. So…I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under all the rest.

10th: 5-6-4-1-9…A wide open affair, with no clear cut horse to tout. If I must, I guess I settle on Hermano T K (5), who ran second last time out here against tougher. Lanerie sticks on board and this one should take care of business, with any improvement. The horse to his immediate outside, Taft’s Lil Boy (6) drops all the way from the MSW ranks for LA-breds only to MC10. Huge class relief. Should appreciate. The key horse, though, may be the #9, Ash Tax. He will be making his career debut and we simply don’t know how much talent, or lack thereof, he has. And, could use the 12-1 odds. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then key the 5 over/under the “all button.”

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene