It is closing day. Whew. A long meet, to be sure. But a fun one, no doubt. And, a learning one, without question. We have found out a whole lot about Louisiana racing; the State-bred program; and the Kentucky contingency that stable down in New Orleans for the winter.

It was great to see Kentuckians, Brad Cox and Joe Sharp, battle it out all the way to the wire in the Trainer’s Race. It was great to see England’s own Adam Beschizza come over, and, not only hold his own with some of the best riders around, but also give them a run for the Jockeys Crown.

Here’s hoping that Miguel Mena, who had a super meeting going on until he was injured in a spill, that may have cost him all chance at the riding title, heals well and quickly.

Here’s hoping that The Player, who sustained two broken sesamoids in the right front ankle during the New Orleans Handicap heals well and quickly.

And, here’s hoping that TV analyst and handicapper Joe Kristufek makes in back to the Commonwealth of the Bluegrass healthy and sane. Too many crawfish and gumbo will make a different person out of you.

And, here’s a look at today’s final card, abbreviated style:

1st: 2-4-6-3…Cool Arrow (2) has not raced since running in a grass Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Day last year. That didn’t go well. But he’s a talent, and appears to be training very well for the return (take note of the move on March 3). Trainer hits with .15% of those away this long. Will love to see this one back in action. St. Louie Guy (4) is definitely the one to beat, and gets a huge rider switch to Florent Geroux. Claimed last time out for a trainer who hits with .27% of newcomers on debut. I bet the 2-4 across the board and then box those 2 strong in one exacta. Key those 2 over the other 2 in a smaller version.

2nd: 6-8-3-5…Splash Hit (6) hasn’t raced since last April, but the barn does well (.20%) with these kind off the bench. Won a Stakes in last appearance, back in April 2017. Move on March 17 indicates may be ready for the return. Lady Soul (8) is one that has been on my “Horses To Watch List” for quite some time. Has a solid pedigree, and worth claiming at this level. Back on the dirt where she does her best running. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under all the rest of the numbers.

3rd: 6-9-2-7-5-1-8…Wide open affair, but I settle on Le Pin (6), who is a solid 8-5 ML favorite. This one gets Florent Geroux and will make the 2018 debut. Previously trained by Todd Pletcher, now goes from the barn of Brad Cox — who hits with .23% of those making the debut for the barn. Training very nicely for this one. The pick. Aggravator (9) ran a nice second at this level last time out and goes right back for the same connections. Trainer has only 1-for-25 this meet, but a solid work here on both March 25 and March 19. Underneath. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under all the rest of the numbers listed.

4th: 4-3-5-2-11-10…Mack’s Champ (4) was claimed last time out for a trainer that hits with .26% of those making the debut for the new barn operation. Has 3 seconds in a row and nearly got the job done last time out. Gets a solid rider switch for this one. Definitely the one to beat. Timeslikethese (3) has hit the board in 5 of the last 7 tries, with a win three races back. Bug boy stays up for the ride. Weight allowance could help. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta, and then key the top 3 over the rest in another.

5th: 12-6-10-4-1…Vittorioso (12) is stuck on the far outside, but should drop over and make a late run. If the top rider can negotiate a clean trip, they could close with a rush to get the job done here. Class dropper certainly fits with these. The Imposter (6) has hit the board in 4 of the last 5 starts, with a fourth place finish in the last race. Drops back down in class today and gets the meet’s top rider aboard. Watch out. I bet the 12-6 across the board and then box those two solidly in one exacta, and then key those 2 over/under the rest in two more.

6th: 3-1-9-6-10-5-2…Hopeful Joy (3) just missed at this level last time out, and that was on a drop down. Should fire right back against these and be tough to hold off with a better, cleaner trip than the last one. Looks like this one likes the dirt better, and now will shorten up to a spring — where this trainer excels. Iquique (1) is a filly that I have played before this meet without much luck. She gets the plunge to the basement today, though, and she should be really game at this level. I like this one a lot. I bet the 3-7 to win/place/show and then box those 2 solidly in the exacta. I key those 2 over/under all the other numbers in two smaller versions.

7th: 7-1-11-8-13-3-5-2…The #7 in the 7th race is Power Song (7), and this 3YO colt should be tough in this spot on the sod. Nearly won last time out against a good one, and had a super work here on March 25. Trainer hits with .21% on the third try off a layoff. The pick. Achiever (1) is 8-1 ML odds, and could be a nice surprise to your wager in this one. Gets the services of a hot rider, and should improve off the last one Note that the third place finisher in that one is the horse that beat Power Song last time out. So…difference is not that great. I bet the 7-1 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta, and then key the 7-1 over/under all the other numbers listed.

8th: 7-3-1-10-2…Sea Vow (7) ran in a Stakes event over at Sam Houston last time out and was only beaten by 31/2 lengths. Now, he is dropped into the claiming ranks for a price tag of $25,000. Trainer has solid numbers across the board and this one was second in LA-breds Stakes event two races back. Gets the meet’s leading rider up for this one. Spring Value (3) has two seconds in a row and gets one of the meet’s top riders up for the first time. Was claimed last time out and this trainer hits with .25% of the newcomers on first ask. This one was favored in the last out, too. I bet the 7-3 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta.

9th: 12-9-4-1A-6-13-11-7…Despite the awful post position, I still love Plug Catcher (12) in this marathon event. Should have plenty of time to figure out a good running spot with a guy who has ridden him long, and often. Won two of the last three races and has perfected the style over this course, too. Best Bet of the Day. Minister’s Strike (9) is 8-1 in the ML, and could be a nice price to the exotics here. Can’t dismiss this one, who will get the saddle from a top trainer and one of the best riders in these parts. I bet the 12-9 across the board and then key the 12-9 over/under all the other numbers listed. One 12-9 box to cover.

10th: 8-5-7-4-2-3-1…Mobile Bay (8) is my second Best Bet of the Day, despite the 8-5 ML odds. This one comes in with four straight wins, and looks to be as tough, gutty and salty as they make them. Last two wins by noses. Figures to be the best of this lot. Grande Basin (5) lost by a nose to the preferred choice four races back. Gets back to the dirt today, and that is this one preferred surface. I bet the 8 to win/place and then key the 8 over/under all the numbers listed.

11th: 8-5-1A-10-4-3-11-12-2…Wild About Star (8) goes for a top barn, who has hit with .22% this meet. Lost by a head last time out and comes right back as a beaten favorite, and the barn scores with .31% of those kind on return. Trainer is 5-0-4 in the last 11 mounts. Gets the meet’s leading rider up, too. Adds up. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then key the 8 over/under all the other numbers listed.

12th: 3-6-9-2-1-7-5-8…As you can probably tell, I am getting a bit weary. Fingers numb. In the day’s and the meet’s finale, I go to My Nilla (3) in this spot. She has two thirds and a second in the last three tries and has stalked the pace in each of those. Returns at the same level, with the same rider. So, what’s the difference? It’s her turn. Twilight Star (6) nipped the preferred choice last time outbid a length, and this one has 3 seconds and 2 thirds in 9 career starts. Trainer is looking for the first win of the meet. I bet the 3 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.

UAE Derby:

I like Reride in this one today. Ships over from the States after a nice win in the Mine That Bird Stakes at Sunland Park. Probably could have stayed there and wheeled right back in the Sunland Derby and be very salty in that spot. The runner-up to him, after all, won it last week. But the connections decided to go all the way to Dubai with another son of Candy Ride to give the desert a go. I like him. Especially considering that most of the money is likely to show up on Mendelssohn. I bet Reride to win/place/show and then key him over/under the “all button.”

The Florida Derby:

I like Catholic Boy in this spot today. The speed will be tough to catch and handle on a track known to favor those kind of runners. But this guy needs a win today to earn the points for the Kentucky Derby, and the connections did ship him over to work the track the other day. He is a man-child and has the ability to kick butt. Mississippi is a newcomer to the Stakes fray, but don’t be misled. This guy has talent, and it may show up in this one today. I bet Catholic Boy to win/place/show and then key him over/under all the rest.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene