Adhamo is the value play in the Fair Grounds Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

February 19th, 2022

A well-matched field of 11 will travel about 1 1/8 miles on the turf in Saturday’s $150,000 Fair Grounds S. (G3). A strong case can be made for many of the contenders in the field, but my money will be on the Chad Brown-trained #6 Adhamo (9-2), who makes his U.S. debut in the deep tilt.

The Group-3 winning son of Intello has come up short in five straight Group races in his native France, but the chestnut has a lot of back class, and seems poised to be a major factor in races at this distance and beyond in the states. And while I like the imports that Brown saddles second time in the U.S. compared to their first tries in general, I have faith that the recent $289,000 purchase will be the one to beat on Saturday. Jose Ortiz will ride the colt, who I will have in the first and second slots in all of my plays.

From a value perspective, I believe that #3 Santin (12-1) is a surefire must-use for the exotics. The lightly-raced Godolphin homebred gave a fine impression of himself from a trio of starts as a sophomore, topped by a narrow defeat in the Hollywood Derby (G1) most recently. The four-year-old Distorted Humor colt lacks both the credentials and experience of many in the cast, but the bay is bred to be a really nice one, and he races for an astute layoff conditioner in Brendan Walsh. Tyler Gaffalione will be in the stirrups.

Grade-1 victor #11 Two Emmys (3-1) has fantastic form dating back to last season and rates as a logical inclusion under James Graham. The Hugh Robertson trainee boasts a sharp 7-2-3-1 mark on the Fair Grounds course, and he had a fine prep for this event when a recent third in just his second appearance dating back to August. The speedy sort will be forcing the tempo from the break.

Todd Pletcher’s #10 Largent (7-2) has been first or second in 10 of 11 lifetime races, all on the sod, and it seems foolish to omit him from any wager. The Into Mischief gelding possesses a versatile running style and has every reason to improve in his second run in 13 months. The six-year-old drilled a bullet half-mile at Palm Beach Downs in his latest morning move.

#9 Point Me By (20-1), winner of the Bruce D. S. last season, looks like a live longshot for the gimmicks to me. The Eddie Kenneally pupil has had excuses for his last three, and he puts the hood on in preparation for his second local try.

#7 Halo Again (6-1) has been sharp on the green in two recent performances, and the Steve Asmussen trainee could also receive a dream voyage in this spot from the second flight early on. The Speightstown five-year-old has never been better and will have Joel Rosario up.

Fair Grounds value plays

  • $10 win and place #6 Adhamo ($20)
  • $2 exacta key box 6 with 3,7,9,10,11 ($20)
  • $1 trifecta 6 with 3,10,11 with 3,7,9,10,11 ($12)