A busy weekend lies ahead with two days at Fair Grounds (Friday-Saturday) followed by a double-header at Oaklawn Park (Sunday-Monday).
I’m looking forward to Saturday’s $400,000 Risen Star (G2), which contains a number of exciting Kentucky Derby prospects and is one of six stakes scheduled, but Friday’s nine-race program is up first.
Here are a few horses I like today:
Race 3: One-mile turf affair drew a field of eight and #7 Jus Kevin appears to be rounding back into top form for Steve Asmussen. The 5-year-old mare stepped forward last winter on Fair Grounds’ turf, recording a couple of wins, but was sidelined for almost nine months until late November. She’s recorded three unplaced finishes (and perhaps that will help her value) since coming back but I like the progression Jus Kevin displayed in those efforts, finishing strongly in the last pair. She can return to the winner’s circle in this spot.
Race 5: Early and early/presser types have dominated turf sprints this meet and I’ll recommend #7 M C Squared right back off a front-running win. 7yo gelding is thriving under the care of Joe Sharp and Adam Beschizza has really made a name for himself during the 2017-18 Fair Grounds meet.
Race 6: Louisiana-bred maiden drew seven firsters including #9 Miss Dun Done It, who shows a quick half-mile breeze in preparation and draws a favorable outside post. Dunkirk has been mostly disappointing as a sire but the sophomore filly attracted interest at a 2-year-old-in-training sale last year and is bred to run early on her female side with her dam being a half-sister to juvenile Grade 1 winner Havana. We can count on Bret Calhoun having her ready (20% strike rate with firsters) and he’s connecting at a 23% clip with Gabriel Saez this meet.