Fair Grounds: A single and a longshot for the $926 Pick 6 carryover

March 19th, 2023

The racing week at Fair Grounds wraps up on Sunday with a $926 carryover up for grabs in the $1 Pick 6.

Planning to play along, but not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered with a suggested single and a live longshot worth building tickets around:

Best single: Race 6: #3 Bishops Bay (6-5)

Did you see Bishops Bay’s debut victory on Feb. 18 at Fair Grounds? The Triple Crown-nominated son of Uncle Mo pressed a solid pace before turning back a bid from stablemate First Mission to win a six-furlong maiden special weight by three-quarters of a length.

Bishops Bay’s final time of 1:10.07 produced an excellent 96 Brisnet Speed rating, which ranks as the highest number belonging to any horse in Sunday’s sixth race at Fair Grounds, an $80,000 allowance optional claimer for three-year-olds racing one mile and 70 yards on dirt.

You might be wondering, was the 96 a fluke? Probably not; the fact First Mission returned to crush his next start by 6 3/4 lengths suggests that Bishops Bay’s debut victory was a legitimately fast performance. And as a son of Uncle Mo out of a mare by Pioneerof the Nile, Bishops Bay is bred to improve running long, so stretching out around two turns on Sunday may produce an even stronger performance.

There are a few other notable angles in Bishops Bay’s favor. Trainer Brad Cox has been on fire at Fair Grounds this meet, winning at a 40% rate. Jockey Florent Geroux (a 33% winner at Fair Grounds) has won at a 29% rate teaming up with Cox over the last two months. Throw in the fact Cox wins at a 28% rate with horses running long for the first time, and Bishops Bay is a viable single.

Live longshot: Race 4: #5 Flying Carolina (10-1)

It’s unclear whether this maiden special weight will take place over 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt or about 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. The latter configuration is the intention, but rain forced the cancellation of racing on Friday at Fair Grounds, and Saturday’s two turf events were transferred to the main track. It’s possible Fair Grounds will be off the turf again on Sunday.

But whether Sunday’s fourth race takes place on turf as scheduled or switches to dirt, Flying Carolina is worth respecting as a live longshot, simply because trainer Justin Jeansonne (a 26% winner at Fair Grounds this meet) strikes at a 22% rate with first-time starters. (By the way, Jeansonne’s win percentage with debuting runners jumps to 30% on turf, in case Sunday’s contest stays on grass.)

Jeansonne has gone 2-for-6 (33%) with first-time starters at Fair Grounds this meet, and Flying Carolina has posted a couple of sharp half-mile workouts from the Fair Grounds starting gate, so the numbers suggest Flying Carolina has a decent chance to outrun his 10-1 morning line odds.

Good luck!