Fair Grounds Racing Preview – 3/18/2021 – By Eric Solomon

We have a nine race Thursday afternoon card to kick off the second to last week of the 2020-21 Fair Grounds Meet. The rails are at 0 for the week, so larger fields can go on the turf course. The Louisiana Derby Day card is Saturday and Florent Geroux is scheduled to be back from Oaklawn to ride here throughout the week. The weather forecast was a little iffy earlier in the week, so I’ll make changes if needed closer to post time if the turf races do come off. However, the forecast for the rest of the week looks good.

EDIT: The turf races have been transferred to the main track. The grids for Races 2,4,6,8 and have been updated, with a few brief dirt comments underneath.

Race 1:

State bred $5K N3L claimers start the racing week here. There’s not a lot of depth in this field, but both morning line favorites, Fast Verdict (2) and Disapproval (3) feel vulnerable. I’ll try Cat On the Roof (4) as a value play here after a dismal showing last out. He was bumped pretty hard at the start and never really was able to run his race before packing it in. He makes his second start for Tracy Tanner after being claimed two back. He was in pretty solid form in December and January, so there’s hope that if he can get back to running those races, he’ll be tough in this field. There’s not a ton of speed here, so I’m think he’ll get a forwardly placed trip. Fast Verdict (2) takes a significant drop in class and is clearly the one to beat. He’ll be a short priced favorite here and he seems to have a speed figure edge over many of these. However, he hasn’t won a race since December 2019 and I am slightly concerned that he’ll leave himself too much work to do when coming from off the pace. Disapproval (3) is another late running type who is fairly consistent, but like many in here, he just doesn’t win much. He’s more of an underneath type, but I’ll cover with him on deeper tickets.

4 2 3 1,5,6,7,8,9


Race 2:

The first race on the grass today is an optional 10K claiming/starter allowance contest. Trey’s Midnite Moon (8) is the one to beat in this contest. He’s won his last two starts at this level on the grass and just missed in the Dixie Poker Ace stakes on the turf with fellow Louisiana breds last time out. He’s won 12 of 41 career starts and is in really good form right now. He’ll be a short price, but he’s definitely the most likely winner of this race. Zanesville (4) is the very logical second choice after he had his three race win streak snapped last when he tried the marathon 1 Mile and 9/16 distance at this level. He won easily in his last turf start at this level in December. He didn’t face a horse of the caliber of Trey’s Midnite Moon though. Santo Sanjur has won 13 races at this meet, but three of them came aboard this guy, so you know he has confidence getting on his back.

DIRT: Zaneville has a better chance of beating Tre’s Midnite Moon on the main track, however, I think they’re pretty even. I have both as A’s and will also add the MTO Cap Rock Miner (10) as a gate to wire threat while cutting back from that marathon race last out at this level.

4,8 10 2,7,9


Race 3:

Louisiana bred N2L allowance foes sprint 6 Furlongs here and again, I’m not being very creative, but I think No Pedigree (4), who will likely be a short price, is the logical play. He moved to the Brendan Walsh barn in December, after making his first two starts in Southern California. He was a decent third as a maiden in stakes company and an easy money maiden breaker at 2-5 last out. Five of the six horses that he’s up against, have not shown the ability to pass horses, all showing some early foot and slowing down. I think No Pedigree is just faster than them and will be able to have them put away on the turn. The only horse who has shown ability to come from off the pace is the second choice, Janets Jay Jay (1), who cuts back to a sprint after two route races. He’s been close before, but keeps coming up short. Perhaps the rider change to Gabriel Saez will help, and I think he’ll could be the only one gaining late. In my opinion, the longer priced horse here with more upside than the others is Lt. Bonura (2) who makes his first start off a six month layoff today. He looked promising, winner his second career start by 9 lengths at Louisiana Downs in August. He moved in to the Michael Stidham barn and possibly bounced a bit when facing state bred stakes company. Stidham is good off the layoff and this one may have grown up over the winter. 8-1 or better is fair value for taking a stab on this one here.

4 1 2 3,5,6,7


Race 4:

The start of the Mid-Card Pick 4 is a maiden special weight turf sprint for three year olds and up. Three of the nine entered are three year olds and four of the nine entered have never raced on the grass before. Brew Crew (1) has run a pair of solid races on the dirt, sprinting in off the turf races. He looked good, hitting the board in both of two turf efforts at Indiana Grand this fall. I think he has a live look in this race if he can finally get back on the grass. Awesummer (9) was claimed for $40K last time out while getting a wide draw in a two turn race. He returns to maiden special weight company, facing older horses for the first time and cuts back to a sprint. I am slightly concerned that the 5 and ½ Furlongs will be a little short for him, but I think he fits at this level with this group. Established (2) tries to reignite his career by getting on the grass. He debuted around this time last year and ran a solid second on the dirt. He followed that up with a monster effort to be second in a one turn mile race at Churchill. That effort was good enough for his connections to take a shot in the Ohio Derby, despite being a maiden. He faltered there and was on the shelf until last month, when he returned to be a dull 4th in the mud at Oaklawn. He is by Constitution, so there’s reason to think he can be successful on the grass. I do expect a better effort if he takes to the surface this afternoon. Tap Attack (3) is the wild card in here for me. In his first four starts when running for Asmussen, he was the definition of a money burner. He was claimed and made one start here on the turf and ran poorly. He went to the bench for over a year following that race, so I think his poor effort on grass can be forgiven. I thought his return to the races was solid, running a good second behind Shackleford Strong in a fast off the turf race here last month. That one came back with a dull effort against good allowance horses last week, so it’ll be interesting to see how the others perform from that race here (Brew Crew & Schmoozin). I think the 6-1 morning line is pretty fair for this one and is worth thinking about on deeper tickets.

DIRT: I moved Tap Attack up to an A off his strong effort in the off the turf race at this level last out. I think Established has a better shot on the dirt, but I don’t trust him enough to make him a solid single. Brew Crew still is live on the dirt as well.

1,2,3 4,6,7,9



Race 5:

I found this to be a challenging optional $17,500 claiming/N1X allowance race. Have No Fear (5) is my top pick assuming, the course is fast. I want no part of her on a wet track. She is definitely a very hit or miss horse and I do worry a bit about a bounce off a huge effort last out. However, the races where she’s underperformed, she’s either not been fast enough to make the early lead or she’s caught a sloppy track. She’s very dangerous on a dry course when she controls the pace, and while there are others that will want to be forwardly placed, I think Colby Hernandez will be the more aggressive rider in this spot. Tipsy Gal (4) makes sense to me as a horse that will be coming late in here. She comes back to the dirt and faces horses that aren’t the same caliber that she has been facing at the N1X level in Kentucky. She reunites with Brian Hernandez, who was aboard for he only career win. Goulding (7) is the morning line favorite, that I will upgrade more if the track comes up wet. She’s been close at this level, but hasn’t been able to break through. Her two best career races came in the slop, so bad weather would help her cause. Casse and Carroll have been ice cold together at this meet, both significantly performing below their yearly winning percentages, so that’s also worth noting, especially when they pair up with the morning line favorite.

4,5 7 1,2,3,6


Race 6:

Three year old maidens go one mile on the grass, running with a $30,000-$25,000 claiming tag. 13 horses are entered, but Koufax (1a), Aniclude (8), and Half Cocked (12) are cross entered tomorrow under similar conditions, but facing older horses. I’m interesting in seeing what The Last Option (5) can do in his second start out. He has some things working in his favor here, after getting some education in his debut. He was away slow, and then wide in both turns. Geroux picks up the mount today as the son of Broken Vow, who has been a very productive turf sire, looks to improve in his second try. I liked the two turn debut on grass from Blushinstreetdevil (2) last out facing better horses. He was bumped around early, but still ran on well enough to be fourth. He makes his second start off a brief layoff and his second start at two turns. He adds blinkers, draws the rail, and gets a rider upgrade to Brian Hernandez. His three races on the turf are his three strongest races, so I think he can definitely be a factor in this spot. Soul Coaxing (3) is logical as the lukewarm 4-1 morning line favorite. His last two races have been second place finishes at this level. He’s shown steady improvement in his three turf starts, so he wouldn’t be a surprise here. On deeper tickets, consider second time starter Feuilleton (10) from the often overlooked Gennadi Dorochenko barn. Dorochenko and Martin have teamed up to win a few races over the last few weeks. Sometimes, I don’t get how he decides to spot his horses, but this drop to maiden $30K seems very logical. His debut wasn’t awful with maiden special weight foes after going wide on the second turn. With slight improvement, he could certainly surprise here at double digit odds.


DIRT: This race totally falls apart on the main track in terms of form. I’ll upgrade Double Tough Tiger (7) off the strong dirt race last out. I’ll keep both Blushinstreetdevil and Feuilleton on some tickets, but I really don’t have a strong opinion in this race, and wouldn’t be opposed to buying this one.

5,7 2,10 4,6,9


Race 7:

The featured race is an optional $40,000 claiming/N2X allowance race for older horses at two turns. This has been a very salty level of competition at this current meet and this race is no different. I really liked the effort from Harvey Wallbanger (4) last out when running first off the claim for Tom Morley. Danny Pish claimed him out of his last race and moves him up in class. He’s never been the most consistent horse, but he’s been capable of big races from time to time. Two starts back, he won a race for the first time since winning the Holy Bull in 2019. He’s now put back to back wins together, and takes a reasonable step back up in class. Cowboy Diplomacy (1A) has lost to two good horses at this level in his last two tries (Chess Chief and Olliemyboy). Both are entered and, in my opinion, both have a live look in the New Orleans Classic on Saturday. His game is front end speed, so I expect Geroux to waste no time getting him to the front from his outside draw. He will be the one to beat and you’ll get the other horse partially owned by Madaket Stables, Blue Jays (1) on the ticket as well. I think he would offer some value, especially on a wet track, while getting back to the dirt if her were not a part of the entry. However, I won’t argue with getting him as free insurance in case Cowboy Diplomacy misfires. Extraordinary (2) was an impressive winner at the N1X level last out and takes a logical step up in class. He beat Trident Hit last out, who came back to beat a nice field of allowance foes at Oaklawn this past weekend on the Rebel Day card. Johnston looks to have him steadily improving. Sprawl (6) makes his first start since being soundly defeated in the Ellis Park Derby, behind Art Collector. He joins the same barn, and did show a lot of promise earlier in his three year old campaign. This is a tough spot to return in and he might be better next out, however, I think he is still worth covering on deeper tickets.

1a,4 2 1,6 3,5,7



Race 8:

The last grass race of the day is an optional $17,500 claiming/N1X allowance, sprinting 5 and ½ Furlongs. Zero to Sixty (1) tried routing in her last start against similar in December and was thoroughly beaten while going wide on both turns. She’s shown that she’s much better sprinting, run competitive races against significantly better fields at Saratoga and Kentucky Downs. Stall gave her a brief freshening, but she’s worked well and should be much better getting back to a sprint. Moon of Love (3) has had a lot of gaps in her recent form lines since coming to North America. Her last race in January was bad, but she showed overseas that she gets better with more consistent racing. Geroux sees fit to take the mount so I think she can outrun her odds and give a better showing here. Dawn’s Dancer (5) has been away since June. She’s run five times in her career, and her best was race her debut on this course at this distance, which was her only career turf sprint. She’s by Curlin, so it’s not surprising she’s tried longer races, but maybe this is what she wants to do. I think 10-1 is good value in this race, where the morning line favorite has never stepped on the grass. Lady Anna (6) is that favorite, coming off a big effort on the dirt when her scheduled turf debut was transferred to the main track. I like the DeVaux is still intent on trying her on the turf, despite that effort last out. I think she’s live, and I’ll cover with her, but I’ll need better value than 3-1 to seriously consider playing her.

DIRT: Lady Anna is now strictly the one to beat in this four horse field. On deep tickets, it may be worth covering with Cobra Casablanca (8) who has only one dirt start, but appears to be the speediest early on in this group. She may get brave if she’s left alone or if speed is playing well today.

6 8 5,9


Race 9:

We have a $5,000, N2X claimer for fillies and mares to close out the Thursday program. Mariposa d’Oro (2) was a much the best winner two starts back here facing $12,500 maiden claimers. She went to Delta last out to face better horses and faltered in a two turn race at 7 Furlongs. Her maiden win was strengthened when Linda Got Lucky (7), who finished a distant second to her two back, went on to handily beat another $12,500 maiden claiming field last out. Now, she cuts back to a one turn race on a track she has been proven to like. If she goes off around her 5-2, I think that’s pretty fair. Dancin All Alone (4) was claimed by Faucheux after a solid try last out at this level. She had a little trouble in the stretch that day, which didn’t help her chances. She seems to be the main threat to her stablemate in what seems like a formful ending to the day.

2 4 1,3,5,6,7,8,9



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