With a brand new Tapeta racing surface in place, the 2020-21 winter meet at Turfway Park will kick off on Wednesday with a deep and competitive card.

Eight races are on the agenda, and with 100 entries before scratches, average field size should easily exceed 10 horses per race. Bettors who successfully sort through the multitudes of wagering options figure to be rewarded with big payoffs.

To celebrate the start of the meet, let’s play the opening Pick 3 on a $40 budget:

Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (1 1/4 miles, 6:15 p.m. ET)

The testing 1 1/4-mile distance of the opener should play to the strengths of #1A Treaties (5-2), a son of Declaration of War out of a Giant’s Causeway mare. This is a pedigree geared top and bottom toward success running long, and Treaties still has plenty of upside after rallying to finish fourth in his debut at Indiana Grand last month.

We’ll take a chance and single Treaties and his coupled entrymate #1 Per Diem to kick off the Pick 3.

Race 2: $30,000 Maiden Claiming (6 1/2 furlongs, 6:44 p.m. ET)

#9 Swingabigstick (5-1) hasn’t missed the trifecta in seven maiden special weights at Mountaineer. Switching to Tapeta and dropping in for a $30,000 claiming tag could be a recipe for victory, especially since trainer Ted Lucas strikes at a 60% rate when transitioning runners from maiden special weight to maiden claiming company.

But don’t count out #7 Mr Everything (4-1), runner-up at this class level at Turfway last winter. Conditioned by Turfway’s reigning top trainer Wesley Ward, the son of Mr. Speaker has been freshened since the summer, enters with sharp workouts, and reunites with high-percentage jockey Gerardo Corrales.

Race 3: $15,000 Claiming (5 furlongs, 7:13 p.m. ET)

#3 Bourbon ‘n Ditch (3-1) ran well in a couple of turf sprints at Saratoga during the summer and brings the best Brisnet Speed ratings to the equation, but a last-place effort at Hawthorne last month makes her tough to single at a short price.

Instead, we’ll spread deep to end the sequence, adding #2 Mayan Queen (10-1), #8 Noble Alma (9-2), and #9 Gift Wrapped (5-1) for good measure.

The Ticket

Race 1, $5 Pick 3: 1 with 7,9 with 2,3,8,9 ($40)

Good luck!