Maiden Focus by @ThoroBredPicks (Fair Grounds, February 16)

0-for-1 on Sunday, with SOLO UNO running last all the way around the track at 19/1 odds. Honorable mention TRACY FLICK took the opposite approach, running first all the way around the track at 3/1 odds, but getting DQ’ed into third place for interference.

Fair Grounds – Race 9

#5 AUTUMN RAGE (8/1 ml)

First-time starter for Al Stall worked heads-up a couple of times (including a best-of-73 gate drill on New Year’s Eve) with unraced barnmate URSULINA, who most recently worked a best-of-93 bullet on Jan 31 and happens to be entered on the upcoming Saturday card (same rider Mena aboard). A couple of weeks later, AUTUMN RAGE appears to have worked heads-up from the gate with CARRIBEAN CAPER, who came out of that drill to win by 8 lengths (in 1:09.88) on the Risen Star undercard, with fractions that compare very favorably to that of impressive 10-length winner EUPHORIC, who ran an hour later. Another couple of weeks later, AUTUMN RAGE posted a 2nd-of-99 drill, so it certainly appears this colt can run a little, and it’s probably worth noting he’s coming into this race much the same way that CARRIBEAN CAPER did (CARRIBEAN CAPER was showing a 4-furlong work 8 days before the race, while AUTUMN RAGE is showing a similar 4-furlong drill 9 days before the race). As for the trainer/jockey combo, Stall used Colby Hernandez aboard CARRIBEAN CAPER (Hernandez is listed aboard the other Stall runner ABDAN), while he opts for Miguel Mena here, but worth noting Mena was aboard for the winning debut of BOBBY’S WICKED ONE, who is the top horse for these owners. Mena also shows a big flat-bet profit when riding for Stall (both at this meet and overall), so he seems exactly the right guy to be named aboard this particular horse. Just a lot to like here at what should be a big price, as this is a tough-looking field of maidens. You can make a pretty strong case for the Brad Cox entrant WARRANT (4/1 ml), who ran a good third on the Lemonte undercard and was flattered when second-place finisher RUN CLASSIC returned to win impressively when stretching out to two turns on the Risen Star undercard. Worth noting that one’s Jan 2 gate drill mirrors that of barnmate KOOLHAUS (9/2 ml), who himself brings a best-of-71 gate drill into this affair, though Brad Cox has seemingly never won (at least not recently) with rider Marcelino Pedroza.

ThoroBredPicks record:
Win record: 25-for-91 (27% winners)
Total mutuels: $210.30 ($8.41 average win price)

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