Maiden Focus by @ThoroBredPicks (Fair Grounds, March 20)

1-for-2 on Sunday, with a winner on HOMETOWN @ $3.90

Fair Grounds – Race 5

#6 WILD FOR WYCLIFF (7/2 ml)

Tough maiden heat, largely a rematch of the Feb 16 Fat Tuesday nightcap won by the Brad Cox runner WARRANT, who had finished right behind today’s interesting Louisiana Derby longshot RUN CLASSIC in his prior start. In that race, WILD FOR WYCLIFF broke sharply once again and showed good speed all the way, battling hard to the wire and just getting nipped late by WARRANT. That’s twice in a row he’s done that (both times against strong fields) and it would be foolish to expect anything different today, particularly on the rider change to Luis Saez, who also gets on board the very talented LI’L TOOTSIE for the same trainer (Tom Amoss) in today’s Fair Grounds Oaks. 

I should also mention TULANE TRYST, who comes out of WILD FOR WYCLIFF’s debut race and arguably looked like the better horse there. Didn’t break well and found himself mid-pack, but made an eye-catching move to challenge for the lead before losing some ground on the turn. Couldn’t keep pace with impressive winner HE’S IN CHARGE, but kept on well to the wire and actually beat WILD FOR WYCLIFF for second. The problem is that WILD FOR WYCLIFF has positional advantage this time, clearly going for the lead here and will press TULANE TRYST from the outside should that one get hustled early from the 2-hole, which seems likely. There’s also the chance that TULANE TRYST breaks poorly again, and that can cause problems on the inside in one-turn sprints. Should run well however; talented colt and obvious exacta material..

Another contender is the Brad Cox entrant KOOLHAUS, who was catching a lot of early money in that race, despite the presence of winning barnmate WARRANT. Broke inward and suffered from a bumping incident, which might explain his lack of speed. Also worth mentioning he had worked a 2nd-of-41 gate drill with winner WARRANT heading into that race. Was definitely moving well late (albeit under whipping) while rallying right up through the middle of the pack to finish just a couple of lengths behind WILD FOR WYCLIFF. Nice enough effort, and should improve while perhaps showing more speed.

Fair Grounds – Race 7


Grant Forster filly ran very well in her sprint debut, battling on the pace from the inside of SAVE, who returned to win gate-to-wire in an allowance race next time out (1:10.95). BOLD CONFECTION returned with a route try over a sloppy track, and was right up on the pace again for 6 furlongs before tiring. Turns back to a sprint today and should be fine at the distance, and arguably more fit. Well-drawn on the outside of apparent pace foe FIRINGTOTHEFRONT, and note the positive rider change to Jose Ortiz. Should be very competitive here at a good price.

ThoroBredPicks record:
Win record: 29-for-108 (27% winners)
Total mutuels: $245.60 ($8.47 average win price)

Regarding today’s Fair Grounds Oaks, here’s a write-up I did on LI’L TOOTSIE for the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager a couple of weeks ago. Note that EUPHORIC (mentioned below) came back to win a second time yesterday, once again in fast time (1:09.09).

Just a quick write-up on a filly that I think will offer some value in this weekend’s Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.

#8 LIL TOOTSIE (30/1 ml)

Tapiture filly in the very capable hands of Tom Amoss, this under-the-radar type ran a nice second in her debut while finishing 5 lengths clear of the rest of the field. Improved dramatically in her second start, assuming command after a half-mile and getting out through very strong splits, finishing up roughly 3 lengths faster than the good BLAMEWORTHY/RUN CLASSIC maiden race that was run an hour later on the Lecomte undercard. Also note that second-place finisher EUPHORIC returned to win by 10 lengths (in 1:09.85) on the Risen Star undercard. For her part, LIL TOOTSIE returned to win her two-turn debut going away with a nice inside rally, giving the impression that not only is she very fast, she’s also a very professional and determined sort, which of course is what you’re looking for in these types of races. It’s also worth noting she won over a sloppy track that day, because it isn’t unusual for there to be rain on Kentucky Oaks Day. Amoss has since committed her to the Fair Grounds Oaks, which of course figures to send her into the Kentucky Oaks if she indeed comes up with another strong performance. Given what she’s showed thus far, she looks like a major player in the the Fair Grounds Oaks, particularly when you consider the presumptive favorites in that race (CLAIRIERE and TRAVEL COLUMN) ran a good bit slower in the Rachel Alexandra (1:45.34) than did MANDALOUN in the Risen Star (1:50.39 for the extra sixteenth). Also be aware, RUN CLASSIC (mentioned above) won a maiden race in much faster time on that same card (1:44.39), while allowance winner BIG LAKE also went faster (1:44.83). Maiden winner SAINTHOOD went roughly the same (1:45.26). Based on everything stated above, I think LIL TOOTSIE is being very much undervalued compared to CLAIRIERE/TRAVEL COLUMN, has a very good chance of upsetting them in the FG Oaks, and has a legit shot at the Kentucky Oaks win as things currently stand.

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