A very good Saturday around the country, including good cards at Fair Grounds and Laurel, was muted just a bit because of a quarantine at New York.
It’s still a strong day of racing and we have a few thoughts.
We previously previewed today’s Risen Star Stakes, a key Derby prep race to be run today at Fair Grounds.
Fair Grounds Pick-3, Races 6-8. For some reason, there is no pick-4 ending in the Risen Star, but there is a Pick-3 that incorporates the three races prior to the feature.
Race 6 (Stall Memorial) – #4 I’m Betty G (3-1) was close to a fast pace that fell apart in the South Beach at Gulfstream last time. #6 Mom’s On Strike (7-2) won the local prep with a strong close. But we also want to use #11 Susie Bee (8-1). Susie Bee was pace compromised last time at Houston and though she had a great trip two-back at Gulfstream, she did beat Truly Together, who ran very well in the Endeavor last week at Tampa. In her previous turf start, she was hurt by a moderate pace behind Grade-1 winners Miss Temple City and Zipessa.
Race 7 (Rachel Alexandra) – #8 Momomoy Girl (8-5) is the favorite, coming off a win on Thanksgiving weekend at Churchill. However, she might need this one off the bench and we want to lean on #4 Wonder Gadot (4-1) in here. Wonder Gadot might have to get a bit faster, but she ran very well last time in the Silverbulletday in pressing a very fast pace that collapsed. She was run down late by a deep closer and can take a step forward here.
Race 8 (Fair Grounds Handicap) – We’re going to try to beat #6 Mr. Misunderstood (3-1), who has won seven straight but they were in weaker fields against straight three year olds. He faces elders for the first time today. Our top pick is #8 Synchrony (9-2), who took a tough beat when wired in the Red Bank at Monmouth last May. It is his first start since then, so we’ll also use a few others. #5 Granny’s Kitten (8-1) may have needed his last start, which also came on soft turf. #9 High Noon Rider (6-1) has steadily moved up the allowance ladder. #3 Galton (5-1) was wired two-back and put in a good late run last time here for Mike Maker and Javier Castellano.
$2 ticket – 4, 6, 11 / 4 / 3, 5, 8, 9 ($24)
$2 ticket – 4, 6, 11 / 8 / 8 ($6)
$1 ticket – 4, 6 / 4, 8 / 5, 8, 9 ($12)
Laurel Race 9 (General George) – There are two key scratches – #9 Great Stuff and #10 Do Share, who probably would have been the top two choices in the betting. #8 Grasshoppin (15-1) is our pick for the upset. He’ll have to improve a little bit but he’s back at his best distance of seven furlongs and both turns back out of two-turn races and gets a big trainer change to Claudio Gonzalez. From his outside post position, he should get an ideal stalking trip outside the speed and get the jump on the late-runners.
Laurel Race 7 (Miracle Wood) – #7 He Hate Me (7-2) had no chance behind World of Trouble, who wired the Pasco setting a moderate pace. He’s drawn well outside today and is second off the long layoff for Horacio de Paz and will be a fair-priced alternative to #1 Still Having Fun (8-5).
Gulfstream Race 10 – There should be some pace in here and we want to try #10 Peru (9-2) as an alternative to favored Starship Jubilee. Peru beat that rival in the Claiming Crown Tiara and then rallied well behind a wire to wire winner at Sam Houston last time when hurt by a moderate pace.
Gulfstream Race 11 – #3 Page McKenny (6-1) gets a much weaker field than he faced last time and some pace. The short-stretch is a concern, but hopefully Irad Ortiz can put him in the second flight behind the leaders.