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

1st: 3-4-2-1-5-7…Off Cycle (3) will get back to the dirt surface today, and, by the looks of things, this may be her preferred condition.  Gets a nice drop in class, and will get back to facing LA-breds only, too. Both should help her. Gets a positive rider switch for this one and will be closing late. Needs pace and a opening in front of her. Our Millie (4) goes for a trainer who got off to a super slow start here this meet. Has picked it up since moving to the new year, and gets a HUGE rider switch for this one, too. Drops in class and figures to be pushing the pace from the get-go in this one. Could be a factor. Diva’s Ransom (2) won last time out and has hit the board — with two wins — in the last three. Teams back up with the rider who has booted home in front on both occasions, and has a good record (2-0-2 in 6 starts) at this track. Can’t dismiss in this one. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

2nd: 2-1-3-5-6-8…Tether (2) will slip down into the claiming ranks for the first time after three starts last year. The trainer scores well with this kind of class drop (.27%), and this one has been training forwardly for the return to the races. The dam of his one was a Stakes winner and she has produced 4 winners from 6 starters to date. Looks the best of this group and I make my first Best Bet, if you can get anything close to the 9-2 ML odds. Old Fashion Amour (1) goes for a trainer who is having a good meet here with very limited numbers. Has a couple of really nice runs in the first 5 races and now drops to the claiming ranks for the first time. Should like the relief, and getting good odds (8-1 ML). Daddy Boat (3) is another class dropper, and should be able to move right along from the get-go with this level of fillies and mares. Like the work on Feb. 15. Should be ready. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under all the numbers listed.

3rd: 6-3-10-5-8-9…Esperanza Diamond (6) gets the blinkers for the first time after two solid races. Trainer hits with .25% of those getting the shades addition. This one had a super nice breeze here on March 14, and the winner of the debut race has already come back to win. Looks solid in this spot. Mi Coppa Rebosa (3) nipped the preferred choice in the last race and nearly pulled off the first win before tiring late in that one. Gets a super hot rider in the irons for this one, and will be the one to beat, most likely, from the get-go. But…she has started 12 times already and has 4 seconds. Can she overcome? B’s Ten (10) draws the 10-hole, aptly enough considering the name. Ran well over the grass here on Dec. 26. Hasn’t been seen in the afternoon since, but had a nice work on Feb. 20 and was a beaten favorite last time out. Trainer scores with .27% of those types when returning to the races. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in the exacta. I key the 6 over/under all the numbers in two smaller versions.

4th: 7-6-1-3-2…Baby Spencer (7) will get a huge class drop today for the meet’s top trainer, who is trying to hold off a late rally from Joe Sharp to win the Trainer’s Title this meet. This one ships over from Oaklawn Park to try this sprint. Has faced much tougher in the first 4 races, but does have a win and a third to show for his efforts. Gets a top rider in the irons. Adds up. Moonlighting Magic (6) is the one from the Sharp barn, and will try to inch a win closer in the two-man race for the championship. This one was previously trained by Todd Beattie before moving to the Sharp barn. Won with the new outfit on first ask here on Jan. 27, but running off to a 71/4-length win. Now faces winners for the first time, but has been training super. Will try to take them gate to wire. Watch out. Fasten (1) gets a class drop for a trainer who has scored two wins here in just 5 mounts. Had two really good races in a row before the last. Late closer may try to split the top pair. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top 2 strong. I key the top two over the rest in a smaller, saver version.

5th: 8-3-5-9-2-6-7…Swimsuit Issue (8) is a Scat Daddy filly who ran very well here on Jan. 26. Was wide throughout that one but really seemed to pick it up late. Will need a cleaner run today, but could be an upset maker at odds of 6-1. My Upset Special. Brielle’s Appeal (3) has run two really good races in a row for a top trainer here, and now picks up the meet’s leading rider to pilot. Solid work here on Feb. 24 which indicates the one is ready for the return from the October layup. Funny Holiday (5) will be making her turf debut for a trainer that really can get one to make the surface switch. Most importantly, though, this one will get the blinkers for the first time, and that is a huge move for this barn (.23%). Good work here on March 17, and may be ready for a surprise effort. I bet the 8-5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I key the top 3 over the rest in a smaller version, as well.

6th: 8-9-1-2-5…Dorfman (8) gets my “dot” (must use) and my second Best Bet designation in this spot, despite the low odds. This guy was claimed out of the last, when running for the third time over a sloppy racetrack. Won that day and now gets the class drop for the Sharp barn. Had a work here on March 1 and 15 for the new connections, and now looks ready for the debut with the barn — who hits with .23% of newcomers after the purchase. Samargo (9) wheels right back at the same level for a trainer having a real “sneaky good” meet here. Has 7 winners in just 23 starts, and the rider won on this one twice already — once at a higher level. Could be a pace presence. Full Heart (10 has four thirds in the last 5 races. So, I pick him third. Right? I bet the 8 to win/place and then key the 8 over/under all the numbers listed.

7th: 5-2-7-8-1-6-9-3…Hollow Point (5) is a deep closer that hails from the barn of Mark Casse, who has hit with .20% here this meet. One of the hottest rides in the States stays aboard, and he comes into this one off a near-miss second at the same level. Wore blinkers for the first time in that one, and he ran well late. May help again today. Turbo (2) won on debut here Jan. 26 for the barn of Joe Sharp. Now moves to the grass for the first time, but the trainer does score with .15% of those surface switchers. Worked great here on March 10 and has a nice stalking style. Can he convert to the grass. We shall see. Lawton (7) has hit the board in 9 of the last 1 races. Was second last time out, and ran behind Hollow Point two back. Always close, it seems. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I key the top 3 over the rest in a smaller version.

8th: 7-3-5-6-2-1…Promise of Spring (7) was a game second as the favorite here on Feb. 22. Had some traffic issues in both turns that day. Before that ran in two straight Stakes events and gave a good account in one of them. Looks to be the one to beat in this spot, especially after the nice work here on March 14. Solid credentials with a 2-2-2 record in 10 starts to date. Wicked Lick (3) has a record of 1-4-1 in 7 tries here. Ran just a head behind the preferred choice in the last one and was wide throughout that affair. With a cleaner trip, this late closer may be very tough to hold off at the wire. Good work on March 15, too. Flora Dora (5) was just behind the top 2 in the last race, less than 2 behind the preferred choice. That was the first time that Florent Geroux was up on her. Now, the two are experience. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in the exacta.

9th: 9-4-5-8-6-7-10-2…Strike the Flag (9) gets the slight nod in this one after closing well to run second in his debut on the grass here Jan. 20. Son of Smart Strike is bred for the grass, and his dam has already had two other turf winners and a Stakes winner. Very nice female family here for a top notch breeding operation, who owns this one. My solid selection. Combustible (4) has closed nicely in both of his previous grass races, too, and should be tough with a little better start than before. Shirl’s Ready (5) will stretch back out after trying a sprint distance in the last. Should benefit this one who will be making the third start off a layoff, and the barn hits with .21% of those types. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then key the 9 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas.

10th: 1-1A-2-5-6…Pay My Feed Bill (1) and Yella Wally Gator (1A) both have a shot to hit the board in today’s finale for a trainer who definitely knows how to win races. He hits with .22% of claimers, and .23% of routers. Both of these look to have credentials to run very well at this level. I bet the 1-1A and hope to hit the board with both of them. I key them over/under the “all button” in hopes of catching a long shot underneath. 

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene