An intriguing, and potentially healthy, three-race sequence will take place at Fair Grounds Saturday covering races 7-through-9. A pair of competitive stakes on the lawn with vulnerable favorites sandwich a six-furlong maiden special weight dash, and it’s the middle leg where I found my single. Here is my analysis of each of the three legs, and watch for scratches after wet conditions on Friday:
Race 7 — Pago Hop
An overflow field of 15 sophomore fillies is set for the one-mile turf affair. Al Stall’s #5 Dalika (3-1) is the one to beat and will be on my ticket. Talented filly continues to improve and has some class to her, as well, finishing second in the Mrs. Revere S. (G2) at Churchill Downs last time out. But, Dalika is no cinch against this cast.
#3 Boxwood (8-1), #4 Winning Envelope (6-1), #10 Isla Road (12-1), #11 Zofelle (4-1), #12 Elsa (6-1) and #13 She’sonthewarpath (12-1) all appear capable of winning with a top effort.
Race 8 — Maiden Special Weight
A big field of two-year-olds will run six panels on the main surface, and I am putting all my eggs in the basket of #9 Digital (3-1). Trained by Bret Calhoun, the Into Mischief colt ran a winning race in defeat at Churchill Downs on debut, and he looms a huge chance with a forward move on Saturday.
$260,000 juvenile purchase was hammered to 6-5 odds at first asking, and his connections do good work second time out. Brian Hernandez Jr. retains the mount.
Race 9 — Woodchopper
One-mile turf endeavor for the boys going one-mile marks the return of Belmont S. (G1) star #11 Sir Winston (7-2) for trainer Mark Casse. The Awesome Again colt showed little in his lone grassy race to date, and this distance is not his ideal trip either. I definitely like this talented colt in general, but it seems logical to go against him today.
The same can be said for Grade 1-victor #12 Hog Creek Hustle (9-2), a decent sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) most recently. Vicke Foley pupil has never run on the green and also draws wide under Lanerie, and connections are considering scratching from this spot.
#13 Tracksmith (6-1) is the top selection, but I will also include #1 Flying Scotsman (12-1), #3 Forty Under (20-1), #4 Marquee Prince (8-1), and #14 Tiz Plus (15-1) to close out the bet.
Suggested Wager (race 7):
- $1 Pick 3: 3,4,5,10,11,12,13 with 9 with 1,3,4,13,14 = $35