Scully: Handicapping Fair Grounds All Stakes Pick 5

March 22nd, 2024

Twelve horses will compete for 200 Kentucky Derby qualifying points in Saturday’s 111th running of the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2), and the 1 3/16-mile event anchors a $500,000 guaranteed All Stakes Late Pick 5 sequence at Fair Grounds.

Winner of the Lecomte (G3) and a close second in the Risen Star (G2), Track Phantom has been pegged as the 3-1 morning line favorite in the Louisiana Derby, and the Steve Asmussen-trained colt will look to cement his status as serious contender for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 4.

I have put together All Stakes Pick 5 ticket  and my thoughts are below.

All Stakes Pick 5

  • Pick 5: 9 with 3,7 with 2,3,4 with 5,6,7 with 4,7,10,12 ($36)

Race 8 – Tom Benson Memorial

Taking a stand in the opener with #9 Spirit and Glory (4-1), who came back from a layoff to record a sharp win in the Feb. 17 Albert Stall Memorial at Fair Grounds. The five-year-old mare discovered her best form when she headed to the sidelines last summer, winning a Monmouth stakes, and finishing a neck second in the Yellow Ribbon (G2) at Del Mar. Spirit and Glory picked up where she left off last time, generating career-best Brisnet numbers. I think she will have more to offer here. 

Race 9 – New Orleans Classic (G2)

Louisiana-bred #3 Touchuponstar (3-1), an 11-time winner from 14 starts, has shown an affinity at Fair Grounds, comfortably defeating Tumbarumba at today’s nine-furlong distance in his last appearance this winter. That rival came back to win the Hal’s Hope (G3) and finish a nose second in the Gulfstream Mile (G2), and I think it’s fair to question the caliber of rivals Touchuponastar will be facing here.

If the top choice falters, #7 Super Corinto (12-1) is the horse I want. The Chilean Group 1 winner ran well off the layoff for Nacho Corresa when making his U.S. debut 16 months ago, and Irad Ortiz Jr. takes the call on the intriguing comebacker.

Race 10 – Muniz Memorial Classic (G2)

Will take on the expected favorite, I’m Very Busy, who will be overbet following a rallying second in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1). Those kind of eye-catching late runs for minor awards can be deceiving, and I’m Very Busy has finished either second or third in four of eight starts.

Grade 2 winner #3 Webslinger (9-2) looks poised for a strong showing following a troubled effort at Gulfstream. #2 Strong Quality (6-1) will look to steal it as lone speed, and Grade 3 scorer #4 Beatbox (6-1) appears to be discovering his best form for Cherie DeVaux.

Race 11 – Fair Grounds Oaks (G2)

A major qualifier for the Kentucky Oaks (G1), the 1 1/16-mile Fair Grounds Oaks includes #5 Tarifa (8-5) and #6 Intricate (2-1), the top two finishers from the Rachel Alexandra (G2). #7 Our Pretty Woman (4-1) will make her stakes debut for Asmussen following a pair of convincing wins over maiden and entry-level allowance foes at Fair Grounds, and I won’t dismiss the chances of the projected pacesetter.

Race 12 – Louisiana Derby (G2)

#12 Track Phantom owns a potential pace advantage, but the added ground rates as a possible concern. #10 Common Defense (6-1) has appeal following a rallying second to Timberlake in the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park, and I’ll add #4 Agate Road (8-1) off a troubled second in the Sam F. Davis (G3) and Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) winner #7 Honor Marie (8-1) in his second start back this year.