Fair Grounds Racing Preview – 2/4/2021 – By Eric Solomon

Yesterday’s card had some big prices scattered around some short priced favorites. I think today’s card has the potential for more prices, as I think a lot of the favorites on the morning line are vulnerable today. The multi-race sequences are tough again today, but they could be quite lucrative if you can connect.

Best Bet: Tiz A Queen (R5 #6, 6-1)

Race 1: 1-6-2

The Thursday card kicks off with a five furlong dash for $10,000 state bred maiden claiming fillies and mares. I’ll try Medieval Lady (1) who showed some promise on debut at Louisiana Downs in August. She was claimed as a beaten favorite in her next start, and she faded badly at seven furlongs. She’s been away since September, and might be able to rebound against a soft group. Glitter Time (6) is a logical favorite as her last two races on the main track are likely enough to beat these if she can replicate those efforts. She’s in her second race off the layoff and should benefit from the shorter distance. Grace’s Gal (2) has one career try on dirt, and it wasn’t great. However, she’s lightly raced and coming from a decent barn. She’s also in her second race off the layoff, so improvement could be possible here as well.

Race 2: 5-8-4

You don’t often see three year olds taking on their elders this early in the season, but we have two three year olds against older colts and geldings, and I’m leaning toward the young guns. I’ll try Papaws Boy (5) whose grand sire is Danzig, so there’s some turf influences in the pedigree. He’s only ever sprinted on the main track, showing an improved effort last out at a similar level. He doesn’t face the strongest group for the condition today. Verrazanointhesky (8) is the deserving favorite coming in from the Brad Cox barn. He’s never gone two turns before, and while his pedigree suggests this distance should not be an issue, he still has to prove he can. I’ll definitely use him, but there are enough unknowns to not want to take a very short price on him. Lookin’ High (4) has never won on the turf in fifteen career tries and is 1-29 overall. He drops to his lowest level yet and should be more competitive than he’s been while facing better foes. If the three year olds aren’t ready, I feel he’s best suited to pick up the pieces.

Race 3: 3-6-5

My Pepper Ann (3) drops in after struggling to find her best form. She’s been entered in several turf races, and many have been taken off the turf, but looking at her career record, she seems to thrive on the fast track (7 wins in 15 tries on a fast track). I think she can use this race to start to get back to better form. See What’s What (6) ran a strong race in her local debut off the four month layoff last time. She stays for the same tag, but drops in class as she moves to face state bred company. I’d look for another solid effort from her today. C’Estbon C’Estbon (5) may inherit the lead in this two turn affair, as there’s not a ton early foot in here. She makes her first start off the Margolis claim and tries two turns for the second time in her career. She faded in her first try, but that race was in the mud, off the layoff, and facing better. She’s worth giving another look here.

Race 4: 4-2-1

Smokey Harbor (4) was fighting the rider early on in his first career try on the grass, but he settled nicely and was running well late. I think he can have more tactical speed, and he’ll show it after having that educational experience on the lawn. Man On The Moon (2) also moved up in his first start on the grass. This looks like the right level of competition for him, and I believe he’ll benefit from an inward draw today. Ames Mister (1) lead late in the same race the Smokey Harbor came out of, but he couldn’t hold off the late running Wentru (who came back to win a $30,000 starter allowance race yesterday). That race was an improved effort, and if he can duplicate that race, he’ll be right in the thick of things once again.

Race 5: 6-9-10

I really like Tiz A Queen (6) to move forward off a solid first race on the main track. She had a clear lead late, but got a little leg weary, and faded to second last time out. She’s in her second race off the layoff and gets a rider upgrade to Marcelino Pedroza, who may be better able to ration her early speed. Both Carson’s Princess (9) and Double Dare You (10) are well meant fillies from high percentage stables. Both are dropping in class and both are racing on what should be a fast main track for the first time in their careers. Carson’s Princess is more accomplished, running two decent races at two turns in the slop at the start of her career. She cuts back in distance to a sprint for the first time in her career. Double Dare You will be the longer price, as she was obliterated in the slop at Churchill in her two career tries on the main track, both facing significantly better competition. She made the front early in a turf try last out before fading. As long as she stays at or over her morning line of 10-1, I think she’s worth a play at a price here.

Race 6: 4-9-3

The $30,000 maiden claiming race on the turf was split into the two divisions, with the first one being run as race 4. This heat does not have the same amount of depth, as the favorites look pretty tough in here. Go Speed Racer Go (4) debuted a big number at Gulfstream and tried to go gate to wire. He was game, but faded to seventh, only two lengths off the winner. This is a drop in class for his second career try, which he should be more prepared for. Cane Creek Road (9) also tried to wire his field in his first try on the grass last out. He too, came up just a bit short at this level, giving up a 4 length lead in the stretch to lose by less than a length. Brad Cox continues to win at a 24% clip this meet, so anything he’s sending out is live right now. I am a bit concerned that the two favorites have the same running style and could go too fast on the front end. There’s not a lot of form to go off for a longshot hope, but I’ll take a chance with Harrison’s Rose (3) at long odds. Her two dirt races have not been good, but she did get roughed up at the start last out, hitting the gate and breaking behind the field. There is some turf ability in her pedigree, and she fired a bullet work in preparation for this start. She has a little bit of upside at long odds.

Race 7: 1-3-6

We have a maiden special weight for three year old colts here. I’ll side with Donzi (1) making his second career start after finishing fifth in his debut on this course last month. I think the field he faced that day was more talented than this bunch, and I expect him to improve in his second try. Mount Athos (3) debuted in a $150,000 maiden claiming race at Churchill for his only try. I think moving to maiden special weight here is pretty much a lateral move in terms of competition, as those six figure maiden claiming races at Churchill and Keeneland this fall were pretty competitive. I think cutting back from 7 Furlongs to 6 Furlongs will help his cause. Find New Roads (6) has been working well enough on paper for his long anticipated debut. He was a $950,000 Keeneland purchase, so that is probably enough to make him the favorite on the morning line, as none of these have wowed anyone yet. Calhoun is capable, but not great with his first time starters. I’ll proceed with caution and look for clues leading up to the race on this one.

Race 8: 7-3-5

This is an absolutely wide open maiden special weight on the grass, where you could probably make a case for all nine starters. I’d absolutely want a lot of coverage here unless you have a very strong opinion. We saw some dawdling pace scenarios in the two turn races yesterday on the grass, and with this nine furlong contest, I’m not sure where the pace is going to coming from. There’s two stretch out sprinters on the inside that could take the initiative, but I’m thinking Mitchell Murrill could be thinking about stealing this one with Waywardness (7) in her turf debut. Her first career try was rained off the turf back in December. She rated off the lead before fading late, beaten by a next out winner that day. Stidham wants to get this one on the grass and has good numbers with horses in their second career start and in their first turf try. Transient (3) debuted in a salty, 14 horse affair on Lecomte day, and finished well enough to earn a 6th place finish. I’d like to see her a little closer early on, as there will likely be less pace then she got last time. I think the inside draw should be helpful. Spare Cash (5) debuted in a common race with Jungle Cat (6) and Postnup (9), and finished 4th, behind both. Brad Cox continues to win a lot of races here despite bringing his better dirt horses to Oaklawn. His horses usually take a step forward in their second start, and you might get a little bit of value on her in here.

Race 9: 10-9-3

There’s an awful lot of early speed in the nightcap, which should set this race up for a closer. Guitar Slim (10) makes his first start since March, when he broke his maiden. I’m a little nervous about the cutback to 6 Furlongs, as this feels more like a starting point for a horse that has never sprinted before in three career tries. However, Camejo has been successful getting his horses ready off long layoffs, and he’s likely to get a great set up if he’s good enough. All three favorites look to want to be on the front end. Of that trio, Louisianalightning (1), Soul Song (2), and Saintsgotrobbed (9), I prefer Saintsgotrobbed. He showed promised in his debut, beating open maiden special weights at Louisiana Downs in 2019. He went away and resurfaced in December 2020 here and ran a really good third, after acting up a bit at the gate. I think he could build off that effort and run a better race today. Mister Intuition (3) is another come from behind horse that is cutting back in distance today. He’s been consistent with his efforts on multiple types of surfaces, so I think he makes sense underneath.

 

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