Fair Grounds Racing Preview – 3/19/2021 – By Eric Solomon

The 9 race Friday program hopefully can be opportunity to build a bankroll for the 14 race Louisiana Derby card tomorrow. The three turf races have again come off the turf today so this card has been handicapped to adjust for the early scratches with the surface switch. Short prices dominated the card yesterday, and there’s potential for a similar outcome today. Hopefully, we can find a few spots to sneak in some value.

Race 1:

The Friday card starts with state bred, filly and mare, $5K N3L claimers. This field consists for four horses that have been running at this level, two coming off wins with $5K N2L company, and one dropping in class from $12,500 N3L company. I think the class dropper Say Yes Again (7) is a little sneaky in here. She ran a race that would be competitive at this level two back with state bred $12,500 claimers. Last out she jumped up at the same level, but faced open company and came up empty. Prior to that she had four turf races that weren’t very good, but her previous dirt form in 2020 would make her a contender here. Tuffology (6) was bet down to 3-5 at this level last when she stumbled at the break and tossed Colby Hernandez. She was a decent second at this level when racing for a lower percentage barn. Broberg brings her back two weeks later, so I think she’s no worse for wear. I also expect to get a better price on her today. Glitter Time (2) seemed to have the lightbulb go off in her last two tries, most recently beating up on a field of N2L claimers at this tag. I liked the way she finished her race last time and I think that she’ll be tough if she’s able to duplicate her last. I’m playing against Juanadora (3) here while cutting back to a sprint. This isn’t a great angle for Faucheux’s horses and this one did not run well at one turn earlier in her career. She’s been consistent, but I think she’s a better two turn horse.

6,72 1,3,4,5

Race 2:

Filly and mare $5K N3X claimers go in the second. Smart Pegasus (4) is second off the layoff here and moving up in class after being defeated by Louisiana breds last out. However, she followed a similar pattern last summer and decimated a state bred N2L field by twelve lengths that day. She has won on this course before and there’s not a huge difference between the state bred N3L and the open N3X levels at this tag. I think she’ll be more fit and has a live look in this field. Orb’s Soul (3) is the one to beat here after steadily improving and beating an N2X field at this tag. Her last three starts on the main track would all be pretty competitive in here, so I’m not worried about the subtle rise in class. I feel pretty good rolling with these two in the multi-race exotics. Malartach (1) at 3-1 on the morning line will take money and has never been off the board locally. She makes sense underneath, but her best efforts have been at one turn.

43 1,2,5,6,7

Race 3:

The third race is third straight $5K claimer for fillies and mares with the third different set of conditions. This one is for state bred horses who have never won four times or have not won twice in six months. C’Estbon C’Estbon (5) won at this level last out at mile and now cuts back two a six furlong sprint. Her form has been up and down, but when she’s been good, she’s stayed good for a while. Her last two sprints haven’t been the best, but she has run well at one turn in the past. Lucky Linz (6) rebounded after a rough trip two back when facing open company at the N2X level. She’s been first or second in her last three tries against Louisiana breds.

5,6  1,2,3,4,7

Race 4:

$30,000-$25,000 maiden claimers go in what would have been the first turf race of the day.  This race comes off the grass though and is scratched down to a field of five. Buying this race might be the best possible strategy as the current form from this quintet is pretty rough. Mango Tree (8) has at least been close on the dirt, finishing second with $15K maiden claimers two back. While this is technically a step in class, this might be a softer field than what he saw that day. Smiling Silas (4) has improved dramatically on turf in his last two starts. He hangs around here, which isn’t an awful strategy as the four others aren’t that strong. If he can move forward off his last dirt try, he’ll be tough. Whiskey Plank (9) is the lone MTO, and making his second start off the layoff while dropping to the maiden claiming ranks for the first time. His first two starts haven’t been great, but he won’t have to improve a ton. Aniclude (3) is one to think about on deeper tickets after improving in start number two on the grass, His dirt debut wasn’t much, but there’s reason to think he can improve.


Race 5:

Three year old fillies that are either running for a $50K tag or have never won twice are going 6 Furlongs here, and again, there’s going to be a short priced favorite that looks awfully tough to beat. Euphoric (1) dominated a maiden special weight field by 10 lengths last out in her seventh career try. If you draw a line through her two turf races, she has made steady improvement in her five dirt races, while facing some tough customers. Two back she got within four lengths of Li’l Tootsie, who came back to win a two turn allowance and is running in the Fair Grounds Oaks tomorrow. She just looks better than these sprinting at the moment.

1  2,3,4,5,6

Race 6:

The feature today is an optional $80K claiming/N3X, N4L, or an allowance for non-winners of 2 races on turf since 10/19/2020 for fillies and mares. Taking this one off the turf has decimated this race. MTO Sterling Miss (1A) has two straight wins on the main track and three wins in six tries on the local course. With the scratches here, this becomes a much softer group as she technically moves up the class ladder. Saint Moon (5) is the wildcard in here for me making her first start since November of 2019. I preferred her on the grass, but she has shown main track ability. Prior to the layoff, she had the best early speed in this group. There’s a possibility she could take off and not look back if she’s fit. Sunny Dale (6) is one that definitely moves up on the main track making her second start off the layoff. She was 4th at a similar condition, but facing stronger foes that day.


Race 7:

This is a tricky group of multi-conditioned $10K claimers that have either never won four races or haven’t won twice in the last six months, however, races below $5K don’t count toward that, so horses like Club Soda (1) and Rock Me (2) are still eligible for this race. Five of the nine entered are making their first start after being claimed by new connections. On top, I’ll try Caymans Cobra (5) as a price shot here off the Sarah Delaney claim. While this meet hasn’t been great for her, she is a 17% trainer who has had success off the claim.  The horse came up a bit short last out with softer, but I think he is capable of running a better race here while also getting a little better pace scenario. Club Soda is the one to beat in here making his first start since be claimed by Shirer. He’s been first or second in his last five starts, so you know he’s in good form. I like the short layoff for him, and think he’ll be ready to go. Rock Me is also logical, making his first start of the Asmussen claim. He beat Club Soda three back, but his last two haven’t been as good. If Asmussen can get him back to his from at the beginning of the meet, he’ll be tough. Sir Troubador (9) is one that I’ll add on to deeper tickets while he is dropping in class. He seems like he might prefer the turf, but this is significant class relief and Florent Geroux takes the mount.


Race 8:

Having three main track only entrants have saved this optional $17,500 claiming/N1X allowance which has come off the turf. Verb (12) gets in and looks like the one to beat after a strong effort with listed stakes company last out at Sam Houston. He’s been progressively improving while facing winners after breaking his maiden in a salty maiden special weight race in May at Churchill. He gets some class relief here coming back to allowance company while facing some off the turf foes. Takafumi (9) outran his odds, finishing a strong second at this level last out on the grass, beaten by Bad Beat Brian, who came back to beat N2X company here last week. He has some decent dirt form in his past as well and merits a look here in his second race off the claim. Peruvian Boy (8) is more effective on the dirt than turf, most recently finishing a close up third at this level on the main track. He’s lost his last three races by a combined total of less than 1 and ½ lengths. Charge The Line (11) ran a solid race, beating state bred N2X horses last out. He is still eligible to be the open NX condition without the tag though. I’m a bit concerned that he’ll be hard pressed to duplicate his big effort last out, but I’ll use him as a saver here.


Race 9:

State bred $20,000-$15,000, multi-conditioned claimers close the card. This race is for four year olds and up that have never won twice or three year olds. Louleigh (6) is the only horse in here with more than one victory, which is angle I like to play in these races. She easily defeated three year old fillies at the $12,500 N2L tag last out while getting significant class relief. I look for her to run another similar race that will make her tough here. Wholeshackshimmies (1) was bet like a good thing in her debut with $10K maiden claimers. Sam Down wins with 21% of his horses that won their last start, so there’s reason to think she can improve in her second time out. Tom Amoss drops Chelsea Bridge (2) in here after a respectable fifth with state bred allowance foes last out. She had trouble that day, and still ran on well enough at long odds. This drops makes sense to me and she’s another one that I think is capable of improving.

1,2,6  3,4,5,7

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