Fair Grounds Racing Preview – Sunday 1/31/21, – By Eric Solomon

The last card for the month of January is filled with wide open races, where I don’t think there should be too many short prices. I think the horses that could go off below 2-1 are beatable today, so if you have a strong opinion in some of races, the opportunity should be there to make some money if you’re right.

Best Bet on the Card: Race 6, Aife (#6, 7-2 ML)

Most Likely Winner: Race 6, Aife (#3, 7-2 ML)

Race 1: 6-1-3

An evenly matched field of Louisiana breds kick off the Sunday card. Fire Blaster (6) was claimed by Karl Broberg last out when he met a runaway winner in straight claiming company. He brings him to the optional claiming/starter condition, where I think he gets the perfect setup. C’Mon Ve (1) and Big Bella Brown (3) both want the early lead and, I imagine in this sprint, both could be sent hard. He’s run well sitting on a duel in the past. C’Mon Ve likes racing here, hitting the board in 7 of 9 with 4 wins. His last was sharp and I like the decision to run in this spot instead of the highly competitive allowance race in the nightcap yesterday. Big Bella Brown was claimed at these same conditions last month when Born Again George (7) caught him late. I’m not sure that one will be able to duplicate his last effort, where Big Bella Brown is more consistent.

Race 2: 10-7-8

The main contenders in the first turf race of the day are all slotted outside, so they’ll need to navigate a trip, but on paper, they have a decent advantage over the majority of the field. Erin’s Enthusiasm (10) has been off since a troubled trip 6th (5th via DQ) in allowance company in her first two turn turf race at Delaware. She drops in class for her first start of the year and is an interesting new face for this group. Sneak Peek (7) bested Happy Sonrisa (8) last out at these conditions with a pace controlling effort, where she faded in the final stages to be second. She’s directly inside of Happy Sonrisa today and looks to have a tactical advantage once again. Happy Sonrisa is more of a dedicated closer, and any pace pressure on the front will help her cause. She’s been third three straight times since breaking her maiden back at Indiana Grand in August.

Race 3: 1-4-7

This race is a bit of a puzzler to me, as there’s all kinds of interesting form and company lines to dissect. I’ll try Dream Halo (1) whose only start racing at this low of a level of competition came off a layoff in the slop. He improved off that effort, while facing significantly better, and got moving too late at Delta last out, also against better horses. He certainly could be overlooked, but I don’t think anyone in here has been regularly facing the competition he’s been up against on the main track. Hero Of The Hour (4) has run 16 of his 18 career starts on the turf, but his dirt effort last out at this level was strong, just missing at the wire. He was claimed out of that race and comes right back for the same tag. He’s the morning line favorite, and he seems live, but there are questions. Good Intent (7) has 37 career starts, and only two of those have been on the main track, and neither were great. However, both of those races were first races of layoffs, and this one has always been better when running consistently, so I still think there’s potential for improvement. Beschizza taking the mount is a plus.

Race 4: 5-7-2

Trey’s Midnite Moon (2) has beaten several runners in this field already, making his fifth start at the current meet . His only off the board the finish this season was with Louisiana bred stakes company. He makes a ton of sense and should be your tickets, but he’s probably going to go off at lower odds than his 8-5 morning line and his form isn’t that much superior to the rest of the group, so I’ll put a few others ahead of him in hopes for prices. Killeen (5) returns to the grass and seems to have corrected his form after a dull summer. He’s back on the grass for the first time since August and back on this course for the first time since December of 2019. He’s racing well and may be able to get the jump on Trey’s Midnite Moon. Another horse that could be forwardly placed with a slowish pace could be Antarctic (7). He gets a positive jockey change to Mitchell Murrill, which can make a difference in an evenly matched field. He seems to be racing back into his top form and has won 40% of his races lifetime on this course.

Race 5: 7-2-5

Good Clean Fun (7) comes back to the same level of competition after closing well to get 4th last out, beaten less than 2 lengths, while going off a 40-1. Sometimes longshots run big races out of nowhere, and I won’t bet them back, hoping that their effort was a one off performance. However, this guy has been gradually improving since being claimed for $10,000 at Churchill back in November. He was originally a $475,000 purchase, so it’s clear that it didn’t work out well for Spendthrift. He’ll never be the guy they were hoping for him to be, but I do believe he might have a higher ceiling than others in here, and I think 10-1 is great value for a horse that continues to get better. Iadanza (2) broke his maiden on Derby week at Churchill in an off the turf maiden special weight two starts back. He was outclassed in allowance company at Keeneland, beaten by future stakes winner Silver State. (Trident Hit who also beat him that was a solid second with much better on the card yesterday). This is a big drop in class, and it looks like he may have the best early foot. I’ll watch him closely in the paddock on warming up, and I won’t take too short of a price on him, but I think he can be a factor at this level. Railman (5) runs good races but has been lacking that winning edge over his last several tries. He was fifth beaten less than two in his last at these conditions, but he usually runs better than that. I’ll bet he can rebound and be used underneath.

Race 6: 2-7-8

This is a solid seven horse field for fillies and mares for today’s featured race. Five of the seven have proven turf form, while two are using this spot to try the grass for the first time. I’m definitely siding with the proven turfers here, as I feel Amoss and Asmussen are just trying find a spark for West Bank Baby (1) and Alta’s Award (2). Either could respond well, but I feel like if that’s what they wanted to do, we would have seen either of these ladies on the grass prior to this race. Aife (6) has been coming up short with stakes foes lately, but still running credible efforts. The Blushing KD effort here last out is a complete toss after she was away slow and wide throughout and beaten by multiple stakes winners Dalika and Secret Message. There’s no one in this race of that caliber and her efforts here last season with allowance types were both open lengths wins. I think she rights the ship today. Flashing Red (3) has been a different horse since Tom Morley moved her to the grass. She beat a strong 12 horse N1X allowance field on this course last month. She takes a step up in class today, but she looks to have a pace advantage, as she’ll likely be forwardly placed in a race that’s lacking a ton of early foot. Ylikedis (5) has been off the board in her two local tries, but they have been solid efforts. She was beaten in the Pago Hop by a nice filly, Pass The Plate, and In Good Spirits, who was third that day, just a beat a strong field in a turf sprint yesterday. She has ability, and as a four year old, I expect her to start to improve more.

Race 7: 5-3-4

Three year old Louisiana bred fillies dash 6 furlongs in this N2L allowance. Tecate Time (5) should definitely get a pace to close into if she’s good enough. She’s been facing mostly state bred stakes company over her last several tries, and now she drops into the allowance ranks. Her most recent try at this level on opening weekend, back in November, was one of her better career efforts. Asmussen sends out Rue Lala (3) who has been exclusively running with stakes company after breaking her maiden stylishly at Louisiana Downs in September. She caught sloppy tracks in her only two starts on this oval, but she looked much more confident on the fast tracks. If she can rate a bit here, she could be dangerous. Halfglamourous (4) beat Philly Wins (1), who came back to dominate maiden special weights in her next outing, to break her maiden two starts back. Halfglamourous wasn’t quite good enough for stakes company in the Louisiana Futurity, although, you can be forgiving as that race was also in the slop.

Race 8: 2-4-9

Mid-Atlantic invader Slime Queen (2) makes her first start in 3 months and has had 11 chances to break her maiden. However, she has been much more competitive in her five grass starts, finishing second in three of them and third in another. She looks like the most likely candidate to be rolling late, as there are many that look to want to be forwardly placed. Chick Be Quick (4) has improved steadily in her three turf tries, running a solid second last out in the same conditions. She’s been on the lead in both of her last two turf tries sprinting and routing, but she will have to contend with speed to her inside and outside. If her price drops below her morning line, I’ll likely try to beat her, but I respect her connections. It’s Mine (9) was a $410,000 purchase, and this feels a little bit like a now or never race for her, as she steps on the grass for the first time. Maker has not had a great meet, but he does well with getting horses to excel on the grass, when they have struggled for others. Again, I’ll be watching the tote for value on her, as I’ll be less likely to play her below the 8-1 morning line. If she’s overlooked, she could offer some value.

Race 9: 1-4-9

State bred $5,000 claimers sprint in the nightcap for this racing week. This race has many chances, and I’d want deep coverage if I were holding a live multi-race ticket. There have been several races at this condition already at this meet, and the 12/20 (R10) heat might have been the deepest. Spring Value (3) was in that race which produced two next out winners, and he didn’t run well at all, being forced to go very wide, and looking a bit sluggish. He nearly went last to first in the 12/5 (R2) heat at this level, so I think he can rebound while possibly being overlooked in the wagering. Cajun Chaos (1) is second off the layoff now and ran ok in the 1/10 (R7) race at these conditions. I think he’s capable of improving in this spot. Pure Valor (9) beat N3L claimers at this tag three starts back, but has struggled facing better here and at Delta. I’m looking for him to revert to better form on the drop in class.

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