Fair Grounds Racing Preview – 2/18/21 – By Eric Solomon

We’re hoping they’ll be able to get back on the grass in New Orleans as dryer and slightly warmer weather seems to be creeping in as the week progresses. There are two nice maiden allowance races on the grass, which will be serve as the co-features on today’s nine race program. This week, I am going to be incorporating a Steve Crist style A, B, C, X chart for each race to show where my mind is at for the rolling multi-race wagers. Feel free to shoot me any feedback if this is more or less helpful.

After holding out hope, the decision was made to take the races on the grass. – I’ve updated my original post for Races 2, 4, 6, and 8 accordingly.

Race 1:

The opener seems pretty formful as Louleigh (2) drops in class after facing better in her last several tries. She won on debut for a tag and tried state bred allowance and stakes company in her last three While those starts weren’t successful, she didn’t embarrass herself either. Her two races on a fast track produced a figure that only Rue Lala (6) has topped. I’m not as high on that one as her last three against better have been bad after showing some promise in her first two tries. Plus, I’m a little perplexed about her traveling to Delta to work out last week, and then showing back up here. I prefer Mollys Flyin High (4) who will have to step up, but showed some promise beating $10K maiden claimers here a month ago. Everything from the Faucheux barn is live at the moment. Thirstyprospect (3) might worth adding if her odds float above her 4-1 morning line. She ships from Delta, but her best race there was her one turn race, which came against a deeper field.

A B C X
2 3,4,6 1,5,7

 

Race 2:

Absam (7) has three decent starts in a row, all on dirt, as his last two starts have been washed on the turf. He debuted nicely on the grass, beaten by future stakes winner, Fancy Liquor. He regressed a bit in his second start, but he had trouble in that race and went to the sidelines for 8 months after that start. I think I still want to see him back on turf, but he makes a lot of sense in a short field on the main track. Gold Double (10) regressed a bit after a strong debut at 6 Furlongs on 12/27. I can forgive that effort in the slop, as I think he’ll get a perfect stalking trip in this race, just off Absam and Treasury (8). He has a big shot if he’s good enough. Treasury set a hot pace and just couldn’t quite last in his last effort. It’s no surprise he ran a career top race in the slop, being sired by Speightstown and having Medaglia d’Oro as a dam sire. I think he has better speed to his inside and he’ll have to duplicate his last effort in a tougher spot. He’s not impossible, but I prefer the top two more.

A B C X
7,10 8 5,9

 

Race 3:

It’s not very creative, but the form in this spot isn’t the best, so I’m on the favorite, Amazing American (9) off the Isai Gonzalez claim. His last was bad, but he’s moving to a higher percentage barn that wins 31% of the time off the claim. He’s out finished the main danger First Metal Count (2) who is the classic speed and fade type. If rail speed looks good in the opener, I might upgrade him. In terms of a price, maybe try Pillage Da Village (8) who I think would rather be on turf, but he drops in class and three of his last four dirt starts would make him competitive at this level. He may be the one that can close into a fast pace here. I’ll also give a little bit of a look to Disc One For Pete (7), who is off the layoff today. The barn doesn’t excel with horses making their first start off the bench, but he did run well on debut this summer.

A B C X
9 8 2,7 1,3,4,5,6

 

Race 4:

Note that the mid-card Pick 4 starts in this race, which is usually a sequence I forget about. This pick four might be the best four race sequence of the day, sometimes winds up being the best 4 race sequence of the day. I thought there was some value in this race before it came off the turf, and I still think there’s some possible value here, as I anticipate On The Arch (10) and Deanos Cape (13) getting most of the wagering attention. Deanos Cape is definitely dangerous in here, as he was designated as the only main track only entrant in his first start off the Tom Amoss claim. He’s hit the board in his last 6 main track starts, breaking his maiden at two turns here back in December. He doesn’t win a ton, so I want some coverage, and I’m looking to a pair of 20-1 shots on the morning line with Pocket Player (5) and Botswana Taps (7). Neither will go off at those long odds, but I do think both have a chance to be overlooked. Botswana Taps is dropping in class and ran a solid dirt race against better three starts ago in an off the turf allowance. I think that effort would get him close here. Pocket Player came back to the races in September after a nearly two year absence. He just missed in the mud at Hawthorne at this level three back. On The Arch may go off as the post time favorite as he drops despite improving form on the dirt while sprinting. I may upgrade him if his price is floating up, but I’m not willing to take a short price on him as he tries two turns for the first time.

A B C X
5,7,13 10 3,6,9

 

Race 5:

This race is a tricky spot, where I made the favorite, Cold Hearted Wench (4) my lone A horse. She beat the main contenders, Orb’s Soul (8) and Miss Commish (7) by over four lengths when they all got trounced by Lady Kaza on 12/20. She came back with a respectable effort on turf, and now drops to the $5,000 N2X claiming level. I don’t love that she was claimed for $20K three starts ago, but I’m having trouble putting together a solid case for anyone else to win or make up that ground on her from their common race. I think the class droppers have a notable advantage over the horses that have been competing at this level. I’m expecting a better effort from Orb’s Soul and Miss Commish. Summer Express (5) also drops, and wasn’t too far behind my B horses in that same Lady Kaza race. She’s more of a turf horse, but she can step up a bit on dirt. I like her better underneath as a price play in the vertical exotics, but she’s not impossible here.

A B C X
4 7,8 5 1,2,3,6,9

 

In terms of the early Pick 4 and Pick 5 – the AAAAA/AAAA tickets are pretty basic, so there’s room to build some tickets. I think the most likely winner in the sequence is Louleigh (2) in race one, and while I don’t love my two A’s in the 3rd and 5th races, it’s pretty hard to build up logical cases for many others in those spots. I flirted with the idea of having On Base (6) in race 4 as my lone A at 12-1 on the morning line, however, I opted for a little more coverage there as there are enough questions about his current form. I still think he’ll offer the best value in the sequence though.

Race 6:

This race was the best betting race on the card in my estimation on the grass, but it has been decimated by scratches. It’s hard to play against Woman With A Book (13) in this depleted five horse bunch. He’s won two of his last three and just missed in a photo last out to Zanesville, who is a better foe than the other four horses remaining. Prior to that, he won two straight with lesser foes. He’s in the best form and should get a perfect set up with both Majestic Sign (2) and Bring Me A Check (3) doing most of the heavy lifting on the front end. Inside speed was pretty good on Tuesday, so both should still be considered. Of those two, I prefer Bring Me A Check as he started his career on the main track and broke his maiden at two turns last January at Sam Houston. He’s improved on the turf, but can certainly factor with this group. Leader Of Men (6) was my top choice on turf. I liked his efforts on the grass at Remington and Louisiana against better fields. His last thee have been on the dirt, one of those being a win at this level in an off the turf race. His dirt form isn’t as consistent, but his win two starts ago puts him in the conversation in this race.

A B C X
13 3,6 2 10

 

Race 7:

For the most part, the success of the late ticket, revolves around Contract Tracing (3) who ran a solid and significantly improved second race at this level last out. I think going from a sprint to a route makes senses for him, and his inward draw should help him secure better early position. Brad Cox’s morning line favorite, S Man (4), and other lower odds horses, have suspect dirt form, and are worth taking a shot against. I think Run Far (7) ran a solid race at this level last out, breaking from post 10. He got tired late after being used a little too hard in the early stages, but I think he can build off that effort.

A B C X
3 7 1,2,4,5,6,8

 

Race 8:

It’s hard to look past Brew Crew (10) was my best bet on the card had this race remained on the grass. I liked him better on the turf, being that he’s a half to War Canoe, who has been a useful New York bred horse that has ran very sharp one turn turf races on the NYRA circuit. However, he makes a lot of sense on the dirt after a strong effort in an off the turf race here last month. He finds a field full of horses returning from layoffs and maidens that have had several opportunities to break their maiden. Newcomer Desoto’s War (2) was a toss for me on the turf, but he has a decent string of works for his debut, including a sharp 47:2 drill here two weeks ago. His barn isn’t known for sending out winners on debut, but his pedigree leans dirt and there aren’t a ton of other viable options. I’d include him here. Shackleford Strong (1) was a toss for me on the turf, but I’m mildly interested with him on the main track. He was beaten by multiple stakes winner Mutasaabeq in his lone start at Saratoga in August. He’s been on the bench and moved to the barn of Steve Flint, who has a had a decent meet. I wish there were more than two published workouts, but that’s not necessarily a deal breaker. Schmoozin’ (3) has solid figures and is better on dirt than turf, but he has already had nine chances. I’ll cover with him, but I suspect he’ll be no worse than second choice, if not favored, and that’s hard to take after so many chances.

 

A B C X
2,10 1,3 6,7,8

 

Race 9:

It’s an overflow field for the finale for state bred maiden claimers at the $10K tag. Several in here have been languishing at this level for a while, so I think there’s a distinct advantage to the class droppers. Our Last Shot (12) debuted for a $12,500 tag and was a decent second. Since then, he’s been overmatched with maiden special weight fields. He probably belongs at this level, and should be in the mix. Cajun Navy (6) made the drop last race to this level and was a solid third. He has to prove he can run two solid efforts in a row, but he’s worth a look here. No Quarter (1) keeps getting close, hitting the board in his first two tries for a tag. He was claimed off Faucheux last time, and has never had a Beyer speed figure worse than 51 on dirt. Only 1 other horse has hit that number on the main track. Antietam Road (14) will need help to draw in, but he’s dropping in class, and could move forward with softer competition.

A B C X
1,6,12 14 2,3,4,5,7,

8,9,10,11,13

 

Much like the first sequence, the All-A tickets are very affordable, and offer room to add prices. With races 6 and 8 coming off the turf, and two bulkier fields being scratched down to fields of 5 and 7 respectively, there isn’t as much value in these sequences as I was hoping at the start of the day. I won’t be investing as much as I would have, but I still think these sequences today are playable.

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