Record to Date:

174 races: 45 wins, 72 seconds, 90 thirds

Win %: 25.9

ITM%: 40.0

The Fair Grounds kicks it back up on Thursday, with a very nice card, indeed. There are some nice turf races, along with a huge Maiden Special Weight event that will include some very nice 3YO colts, that could turn up in some Stakes events in the near future. Let’s take a deeper dive into the races:

1st: 3-8-1-9-2…Heartbreak Hill (3) gets back to the level that she won at two races back, after getting a bump up in class for the last try. She will shorten up a bit in distance to the same route of ground she won at 2 back, as well. Has a win over this grass course, and will switch jockeys  for this one, as well. Princess Lu Lu (8) won her last out, but loses that condition and moves up a notch in the class department. Ran well here at this distance in that win on Dec. 2. Has a nice record of 2-1-4 in 10 grass starts to date. Lady Soul (1) has not been close in the last three tries, but gets a huge class drop for this one. Before the last three, she was really good with two wins and a nice second. Can she bounce back at this level? I bet the 3-8 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta.

2nd: 3-2-4-7-1-5-9…Gator Tough (3) gets a huge class drop after a woeful effort against tougher in open company here on Jan. 15. Will get back to LA-breds only in this spot, and will shorten up a bit for this try, too. Trainer is having a solid meet, and picks up the meet’s winningest rider. Quiet Prince (2) broke his maiden two times back by 9 lengths. Fell apart in the last one, but this one has been better with the goggles and will get renewed with the rider he won with two back. Sergeant Granado (4) broke his maiden at odds-on favorite in the last. Moves up to the big leagues today, and will face winners for the first time. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. Tread lightly.

3rd: 9-8-7-1-6-5-4…Wicked Stride (9) will go for the barn of leading trainer Brad Cox for the first time today after being picked out of the claiming ranks last time out. Cox wins with .39% of those making the debut in his gear, and this one nearly won the last time out, any way. Any improvement at all, and this one will be back in the winner’s circle for the first time since last July. Picks up a huge rider switch. The solid pick here, and my first Best Bet of the Day. Minister’s Strike (8) won his last time out for a top barn who saddled him for the first time. Comes right back at the same level, and one of the meet’s hottest riders will get back on board. The one to beat, for sure. Liberty Lane (7) comes off a win, as well, but the rider switches over the the #8 over this one. This will be this son of Proud Citizen’s first try on grass. Could go either way. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then key the 9 over/under all the other numbers listed.

4th: 7-8-3-6-1…Timuquana Place (7) is another who hails from the barn of Cox, and this filly has three 2nd place finishes in a row. The last two, she has lost as the favorite. But she gets a move to Corey Lanerie today, and he has been rocket hot of late. She figures to snap the maiden label today and move into the winner’s circle for the first time. Malibu Song (8) is a first timer for the barn of Steve Asmussen, and he wins with .20% of those making the debut in the claiming ranks. Had a very nice work here on Jan. 21 and looks ready for these kind. Medlin (3) has tried to break the maiden on 5 previous occasions, and has been found wanting. But she does have a second and a third, which came in her last time out with the blinkers on for the first time. Trainer is having a very nice meet here and this one figures in this group. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top three numbers in the exacta.

5th: 6-7-4-5-1…Hold Her Tight (6) made a nice late run in her career debut here on Jan. 12, which she ran a comfortable second to what appears to be a good runner. Came from last in that one, and now picks up one of the hottest riders on the block. If she can break a tad sharper and not have to go so wide in this one, she figures to be closer at the end. Barn hits with .21% of those making their second career start. Real Sister (7) ran well for a half in her career debut, but she spit the bit in the later goes off that one, contested over a sloppy surface. Has shown some speed, and if she can catch a drier racetrack, she may carry that farther today. Sweet Arithmetic (4) is an interesting sort, who will be making her career debut for a trainer that has done well with limited numbers this meet. This one has worked lights out and the rider has won a race in three tries for this barn, too. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta and then key the top 3 numbers over the other two in another smaller version.

6th: 5-3-8-6-10-2-1-7…Power Song (5) gets a drop in class after a nice little vacation. Has been working very well here for this return to action, and the barn does very well on those transitioning from the turf to the dirt (.31%). Mine My Time (3) caught a real good one the last time out, and was gelded after that performance. The race two back was against another good one, too, and now gets the class drop. Lanerie sticks with this one and he figures to have a shot right here with the move back to the dirt, where he has performed better. Turner Time (8) is a first timer for Cox, and he worked very well here on Jan. 29. Do not dimiss Overanalyzfakenews (6), who will get the saddle from my good friend Buff Bradley. This one nearly won on debut here on Jan. 15, and, normally, Buff’s horses need a race or two to crank it up and into high gear. If this one improves off that effort, then he could be mighty tough at a price here. I bet the 5-3 to win/place/show and then box the 5-3-8 in one box and then the 5-3-6 in another. 

7th: 6-5-3-8-2-7-4…This is a really nice MSW event going a sprinter’s distance on the turf. Souper Shenanigan (6) ran really well against a nice one here on Dec. 28, and, despite running 6th that day, he was beaten only 11/2 lengths. If Brian Joseph Hernandez can carve out a little better trip and not have to go so wide this time, this son of Into Mischief might be ready to graduate at a nice price. Shirl’s Ready (5) will get the saddle from the Steve Asmussen crew today and this dead closer has been facing some tough ones in his previous 7 tries. Has 2 seconds and 2 thirds in those efforts and will need just a little luck (steadied in the last one) this time to get his way to the front with a closing rush. Super work down at Evangeline Downs on Jan. 27. Watch out. Vandelay (3) was gelded after a debacle of a trip last time out — which was last June at Churchill Downs. Gets a new rider for this one and has been training well for the return to the races. Will try the sod for the first time today, but is out of a Dynaformer mare and that should help. Love the 6-1 ML odds, that may drift up. I bet the 6-5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I key the top 3 numbers over the rest in a smaller version.

8th: 6-10-7-12-5-4-3-1…A super race for a MSW event. New Colossus (6) is a horse that I have been watching and waiting for a long time. I bet him on debut, when he ran here on Jan. 13, and so did a lot of others. He was bet down to favoritism, although facing some tough ones — like Fascillitator, who comes form the Asmussen barn. That first trip was probably too short (6F) for New Colossus, a son of Curlin who has been tearing up the morning works for trainer Larry Jones. Now, he stretches out to a 1 mile & 70-yard event. Should be right up this one’s power line. Watch out today for this one. He can be really good. Like Stakes Company good. Like, maybe, Triple Crown Road good. My second Best Bet of the Day. But, that being written, this victory will not come easily. Entered to run for the first time is Ego Trip (10), a son of Bernardini that Gary and Mary West (who also own West Coast) purchased for a whopping $600,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sales. This one has been working super for the Asmussen Team and if he can negotiate a good start, may be tough to run down late. Triple Dog Dare (7) is a 3YO who ran in the G2 Remsen in December for another trainer. Will make his debut today for Brad Cox, who wins with .32% of those making their first appearance for the new connections. If this one can return to the form he showed at Belmont Park last October, he may be a tough customer, as well. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under all the rest of the numbers listed. I also key the 6 in all of the horizontal bets that I can find.

9th: 10-9-6-3-2…Iquique (10) is a French-bred filly who drops in half for this event today. Ran well to break the maiden two races back and then held her own against much tougher in the last out, despite having many traffic issues. If Jersey Joe Bravo can negotiate a good trip late, this one figures to be tough at the wire. Hopeful Joy (9) has registered a win and two seconds in the last three starts, and picks up the greatest jock change that one can muster with the addition of Corey Lanerie in here. Figures to be stalking the lead from the get-go and will get the first crack at the front runners in this spot. Frisco Girl (6) goes for a barn that has been ice cold all meet in the win department. But they have gotten multiple seconds and thirds. This one may fit into the runner-up positions with a return to the grass today. Picks up a huge jock improvement, too. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I key the 10 over/under all the numbers in two more, as well.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene