An inviting early sequence at Fair Grounds on Saturday has me leaning towards taking aim at the early Pick 4. I believe that beating one of the expected short-priced favorites will spike the return on the ticket, while knocking both off could yield a very healthy payout.

Race 1 — Claiming

Hefty class plunger #2 Halfmoon Reef (5-2) will be impossible to knock off with something resembling his stakes efforts in 2019. However, the size of the class drop is worrisome.

If the favorite fails to produce, #3 Disapproval (4-1), and #8 Phat and Fast (2-1), are the most logical contenders. I will go three-deep to commence the early Pick 4.

Race 2 — Maiden Claiming

Six-furlong dirt dash attracted a field of eight fillies and mares. #2 Saracain (8-1) makes a second run since 2018 and rates a chance at a price for a hot barn. Chestnut mare will have Gabe Saez in the silks.

#4 Lady Miah (5-2), Broberg claim #6 Champagnerie (3-1), and debuter #8 Majestic Ice (4-1), all have appeal and will be on the ticket as well.

Race 3 — Black Gold S.

#5 Hieronymus (7-5) will be a single on many tickets, and logically so. Girolamo colt was ultra-impressive on the course last time out, and he also looks like controlling speed for Brad Cox.

But #6 Pixelate (4-1) will improve second time off the shelf and looms a late danger with his best. Stidham charge shows three solid morning drills in preparation of the Black Gold.

Race 4 — Claiming

An octet of fillies and mares will go postward in this dirt sprint. #1 J D’s Girl (5-2) drops off of a win and is a must use for Foley. Discreetly Mine filly wore down a clear leader in a smart tally on the surface most recently.

#5 Lu Sea (3-1) ran a winning race in defeat when a clear runner-up on the oval last time out. The 7-year-old does some of her best work at Fair Grounds.

And I will also use #8 Lefthoofrightleft (5-1) making her third start off the shelf. Giant Fun mare owns 10 lifetime wins and has appeal on the cut back under Murray.

(Suggested Wager)

  • $.50-cent Pick 4: 2,3,8 with 2,4,6,8 with 5,6 with 1,5,8 ($36)

Good Luck!