Catching My Eye: Week 5 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

December 20th, 2023

With Road to the Derby Kickoff Day on Saturday, Dec. 23, and all the two-year-old/soon-to-be three frenzy about to take hold, let’s first take a look back at some strong efforts from week five at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.


Trainer Keith Desormeaux saddled the first- and second-place finishers in Race 6 on Sunday’s card with Dazzlemesilver beating Auto Dial to the finish line. After stalking the pace-setter Musical Maestro, Dazzlemesilver ground out the advantage deep in the homestretch. The three-year-old earned an 81 Brisnet Speed figure breaking his maiden.

Desormeaux had a nice string with him in California, including Next Level and Malibu Rein, two he believes are talented enough to travel the road to the Kentucky Derby. The three-year-old Dazzlemesilver ran in the Santa Anita Derby, where he faced Dr. Venkman and other strong maidens who continually got the best of him. His last race is a throwout -- look at Tapwrits’ abysmal 7% win rate on a wet track. And on Sunday, he beat an interesting field of three-year-old maidens, including Musical Maestro. That Maclean's Music colt had not raced since his one try in June 2022, but has remained with Asmussen the entire time--remained intact and has begun firing bullets in the morning. He shot to the lead but just didn’t have enough to see it out. Next race, Musical Maestro will.

Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. was on board Dazzlemesilver, winning his second race on Sunday’s card. He had a fantastic week, winning with six of his 17 mounts, including Card Trick and Pyrenees.

Card Trick

After running a big race but simply getting beat by the Derby-dreaming Neat, who is entered in Saturday’s Gun Runner, Card Trick was able to see the race out on the lead on Friday, extending his lead at every call. He broke his maiden stalking the leader at Colonial Downs, his first try on turf, and has continued to step forward in each successive start. Though his Brisnet Speed figure dropped a couple ticks to a 79, this two-year-old by Liam’s Map went faster through the opening call, registering a 98 early pace figure. He won by five lengths and in no way was being used up in the second half of the race. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Card Trick was purchased for $180,000 and is showing all the signs that he will earn that back as a three-year-old.


Almost one year to the day since his last race, Pyrenees broke his maiden for Cherie DeVaux Friday afternoon in Race 6. The three-year-old Kentucky bred stalked two speedsters, and when making his move to the front in the far turn, he had to gamely beat the hard-charging Earl of Dassel to the lead. From there, the colt powered home to win by over four lengths and earn an 85 Brisnet Speed figure. Brian Hernandez Jr. piloted Pyrenees, one of three wins on Friday’s card.

The second-place finish for Earl of Dassel was the best he’d run since earlier in the year when he finished second to his stablemate Baseline Beater, who earned his elusive second win on Saturday for trainer Neil Pessin.

Baseline Beater

Baseline Beater, a Louisiana Derby alumni from the class of 2023, returned to the site of his maiden-breaking win on Saturday to tally number two. The three-year-old son of Flatter relished the sloppy track. Floating out of the gate, he soon found his preferred spot in the early running: at the back of the pack. After surveying the field and finding them worthy of his best, Baseline Beater began to put his big frame into the race, moving up the rail and then splitting foes when fanning wide out of the turn. New Orleans natives Tom Amoss's and Dallas Stewart’s entries were locked in a battle on the lead, but Baseline Beater casually kicked a little harder to pass them in the nick of time.

Scoring an 88 Brisnet Speed figure, Baseline Beater has the look of a horse who could show us more as a four-year-old. 


Trainer Sam David Jr. saddled the winner of Race 10 on Thursday’s card, Fouralivia. Coming in a perfect 2-for-2, the three-year-old sprinter faced six Louisiana-bred fillies. Showing strong early speed, she had to fend off company through the turn. When she got to the top of the stretch, rider Marcelino Pedroza Jr. gave her the cue and Fouralivia opened up on the field to win the allowance race by 1 1/2 lengths, beating out Cajun Ninja and keeping her record unblemished. 

Along with his win aboard Soul Coaxing on the turf course in Race 7, Pedroza scored two wins on Thursday, making it consecutive racing days riding double.

Fouralivia earned an 81 Brisnet Speed figure, and a nice win for David ahead of his birthday weekend.