Today we handicap Fair Grounds and the featured Louisiana Derby showcasing the Risen Star winner Discreetly Mine and the highly regarded Drosselmeyer from the Mott barn who drew the unfortunate 13 post in the race. We also have the Lanes End bonus race from Turfway Park run over the synthetic course and Todd Pletcher’s Connemara is the big favorite shipping in from California. It looks like a great day of racing!
Race 1: This is an Alw43000N1X for 3yo La breds at 6f. I selected Miss Johanna (ML 10-1) who breaks from the outside post. She finished far back in her last start at 4-1 but gets a rider switch back to Hernandez and had a sharp victory over the Fairgrounds course back in December at 7-1. Her best effort fits here.
The Result: The day starts out with 9-1 winner The Bosser who was moving turf to dirt for trainer Lovell. She hadn’t shown much on the dirt last year but fired a good one today in her second start of the year. Gimmealife (7/5) was second and Dawn’s Tribute (5-1) was a troubled third. My selection pressed the pace and faded late to fifth at 16-1.
Maximum Points: The Bosser 324
Maximum Score: 324
My Score: 0
Race 2: This is an OC50K/N1X for 3yo at 6f. I selected Jumpin Jack Cat (ML 8-1) making his first start as a three year old for the Richard Scherer barn. He was running on the polytrack and the turf last year at Arlington Park. He was showing strong early speed last year and the 2 to 3 year old angle is a strong one.
The Result: Favorites dominated as Depaul won it at 8/5 over Flatter Than Me (7/5) and Camp Bret (9-1). My selection never got into it early or late at 18-1.
Maximum Points: Depaul 106
Maximum Score: 430
My Score: 0
Race 3: This is an Alw41000N1X for 4+ at 1m on the turf. I selected Triple Check (ML 5-1) who is second off the layoff and is a consistent off the pace runner for the Richard Scherer barn. He has two wins at 6-1 on form from 8 lifetime starts.
The Result: Another race dominated by the favorites as Skipadate (Even) won it by a nose over Hype (7/2) and Triple Check (7/2). 71-1 shot Kelly’spremonition led to midstretch and tired.
Maximum Points: Skipadate 89
Maximum Score: 519
My Score: 24
Race 4: This is an Msw41K for 3yo La breds at 6f. I selected first time starter Polish Light (ML 15-1) sired by Milwaukee Brew who gets 11% first out winners. The dam Pelerine has had 4 winners from 5 starters to date. He debuts with a short series of workouts and Lasix.
The Result: The public was right again as She Wants Cash (8/5) won a close one over La Piano Man (8/5) and My Favorite Memory (5-1). My selection ran evenly at 18-1.
Maximum Points: She Wants Cash 102
Maximum Score: 621
My Score: 24
Race 5: This is an OC40K/N2X for 4+ at 5.5f on the turf. I selected Ide Ball (ML 8-1) who switches to the turf after finishing second in a dirt sprint last time out at 19-1. His last start on the turf was a closing third at 9/2 last fall at Evangeline Downs.
The Result: Porter’s Gate scored at 5-1 over Southern Region (8/5) and Atticus Kristy (3-1). Another off the pace victory on the Fairgrounds turf course for Porter’s Gate who also won at 12-1 on Risen Star day. He’s sharp right now for trainer Malcolm Pierce. Jockey Husbands has ridden the horse three times with three wins! My selection was up close early and faded at 8-1.
Maximum Points: Porter’s Gate 214
Maximum Score: 835
My Score: 24
Race 6: This is the 59th running of the Duncan F Kenner for 3+ at 6f. I selected Southern Style (ML 15-1) who has pressing early speed and exits a two month layoff. He’s stepping in to face some pretty fast sprinters today and Cash Refund from the Margolis barn is the horse to beat.
The Result: Heavy favorite Cash Refund scored at 3/5 over Kensai (2-1) and Euroears (4-1). My selection was left at the gate and trailed the field at 17-1. Favorites have won four of the first six races so far.
Maximum Points: Cash Refund 77
Maximum Score: 912
My Score: 24
Race 7: This is the 38th running of the Cresent City Derby for La breds at 1m1/16. I selected Heavenville (ML 5-1) who has been a closing sprinter in several Louisiana bred stakes races and stretches out around two turns today for trainer Steve Asmussen.
The Result: Another winning selection for the public as Heavenville toyed with the field at 6/5. Dynapac (6-1) finished second and Pioneering Native (3-1) was third. Three late scratches in the race really drove down the price of the winner as the morning line wasn’t too accurate here!
Maximum Points: Heavenville 96
Maximum Score: 1,018
My score: 120
Race 8: This is the 85th running of the G2 New Orleans Handicap for 4+ at 1m1/8. I selected Battle Plan (ML 6-1) from the Pletcher barn shipping in from Gulfstream Park. He has had three dominating wins in a row and has sharp early speed. He faces Star Guitar who is riding a 6 race winning streak and is 12 for 15 lifetime.
The Result: Battle Plan continued his winning streak with a sharp front running victory at 8/5. General Quarters (5-1) was second and Awesom Gem (6-1) finished third. The public has been right 5 out of 7 races so far.
Maximum Points: Battle Plan 112
Maximum Score: 1,130
My Score: 232
Race 9: This is the 18th running of the G2 Mervyn Muniz Jr Handicap for 4+ at 1m1/8 on the turf. I selected Jet Propulsion (ML 5-1) who ships in from Gulfstream Park for trainer Martin Wolfson. He is a pure front runner which hasn’t been the preferred running style on the Fairgrounds turf course lately.
The Result: Blues Street closed to win it as the 5/2 favorite over longshots Pick Six (30-1) and Transduction Gold (68-1). Pick Six got the most contest points for his second place finish. My selection set the pace to deep stretch and tired to 4th at 6-1.
Maximum Points: Pick Six 300
Maximum Score: 1,430
My Score: 232
The Lanes End: This is the 39th running of the G2 Lanes End at 1m1/8. I selected Outlaw Man (ML 8-1) who ships in from California and has run some consistent figures on the synthetic and the turf. He adds blinkers today for trainer McPeek. The favorite is Connemara from the Pletcher barn.
The Result: Dean’s Kitten scored a mild upset at 6-1 over Northern Giant (7/2) and Connemara (9/5). Dean’s Kitten had been running on the turf at Gulfstream and took well to the synthetic surface at Turfway Park. He had been steadied in his last two races and was making his third start off the layoff. Trainer Michael Maker has a 32% win percentage with his synthetic track starters! My selection made a move on the turn but flattened out at 7-1.
Maximum Points: Dean’s Kitten 492
Maximum score: 1,922
My score: 232
Race 10: This is the featured 97th running of the Louisiana Derby at 1m1/8. I selected Mission Impazable (ML 8-1) from the Pletcher barn who draws inside after finishing fourth in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. He had the 10 post that day and should benefit from the inside draw. The race favorite is Discreetly Mine who won the Risen Star on a soft early pace. He is also trained by Todd Pletcher.
The Result: Pletcher won it with Mission Impazible (7-1) over A Little Warm (6-1) and Drosselmeyer (9/2). The winner sat a nice stalking trip inside and wore down the front runner late. Pletcher looks pretty flush on this year’s Derby trail. Favored Discreetly Mine didn’t get the easy lead he did last time and settled for fourth today. This might be the end of the line for a few of the fringe Derby contenders like Ron the Greek and The Program who didn’t get the finishes they were hoping for.
Maximum Points: Mission Impazible 568
Maximum Score: 2,490
My Score: 800
Race 11: This is the third running of The Grindstone for 3yo at 7.5f on the turf. I selected Striking Hight (ML 6-1) who returns from a two month layoff after winning his last turf start at 7-1. He is trained by Richard Scherer. The heavy favorite is Workin for Hops who has sharp early speed on a turf course that isn’t favoring that style right now.
The Result: Heavy favorite Workin for Hops (2/5) stalked and scored over Striking Hight (8-1) and Random Move (6-1). He won easy despite the apparent closers bias on the turf course. Striking Hight got the most contest points for his second place finish. Not a big point race!
Maximum Points: Striking Hight 82
Maximum Score: 2,572
My Score: 882
Race 12: This is an Msw39K for 3yo at 5.5f on the turf. I selected Heywoods (ML 12-1) trained by Pierce and switching to his go-to rider Husbands. Connections won earlier with Porter’s Gate at the same trip. Heywoods is making his second start off the layoff and finished well behind the race favorite Saluting Stormye in his last start.
The Result: A mild upset in the final contest race as Where Is’em won by a nose at 6-1 over St Liams Halo (5-1) and Heywoods (10-1). The winner was off a 4 month layoff and had a trainer switch from Contessa to Carroll.
Maximum Points: Where Is’em 282
Maximum Score: 2,854
My Score: 948
Summary: Today probably wasn’t a day to make a big move up the leaderboard based on the results so you should be happy if you already have a good position in the contest. Mission Impazible was the top point horse of the day followed by Dean’s Kitten in the Lanes End. There should be a handful of people that had both of those winners and I would expect a winning score in the 1,500 – 1,800 point range today. Pletcher looks like he’s locked and loaded for this year’s Derby five weeks from the race.