Betting a cold Pick 3 on Saturday at Fair Grounds

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

February 13th, 2020

Saturday afternoon is going to be a big one at Fair Grounds. Seven stakes races, five of them graded, are scheduled for the marathon, 13-race card.

The last three events of the day are particularly exciting—the $300,000 Rachel Alexandra (G2) for Kentucky Oaks contenders and two divisions of the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) for Kentucky Derby (G1) aspirants.

The three races are linked in a Pick 3 that appears winnable on a small budget. We might get by using just one horse in each race. Playing a cold Pick 3 can be risky—there’s no room for error—but if you’re feeling bold, here’s how I see the sequence unfolding.

Race 11: Rachel Alexandra (G2) (6:05 p.m. ET)

#6 British Idiom, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2019, looks tough to beat in this 1 1/16-mile Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep race. Undefeated in three starts for high-percentage trainer Brad Cox, British Idiom crushed the Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland by 6 1/2 lengths, before she battled to a narrow victory over Donna Veloce and three-time Grade 1 winner Bast in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

British Idiom has been training like clockwork since the end of December, so fitness shouldn’t be an issue. And since her key Rachel Alexandra rival, #7 Finite, has shown signs of distance limitations, we’ll single British Idiom to start our sequence.

Race 12: Risen Star Division #1 (G2) (6:38 p.m. ET)

The stretch-running #8 Enforceable warrants respect, after he swept to victory in the 1 1/16-mile Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds last month, but his final time of 1:43.72 was overshadowed by the 1:43.22 clocking posted by #7 Blackberry Wine in an allowance race on the same day.

A frontrunning son of Oxbow, out of an A.P. Indy mare, Blackberry Wine is undefeated in two starts running long on dirt and is bred to relish the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Risen Star. In his allowance victory at Fair Grounds, Blackberry Wine carved out a steady pace, before he sprinted the fourth quarter-mile in :23.91 to prevail by a length.

There isn’t much speed in the field, so Blackberry Wine should sit a perfect trip. We’ll trust this up-and-coming colt to get the job done.

Race 13: Risen Star Division #2 (G2) (7:12 p.m. ET)

We won’t overthink this one. #8 Anneau d’Or is by far the most accomplished horse in the field, by virtue of his runner-up efforts in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G2). He stands out in terms of Brisnet Speed ratings and has been training up a storm at Golden Gate Fields.

Trainer Blaine Wright will equip the colt with blinkers, which should help sharpen Anneau d’Or’s focus and finishing kick. We’ll stand alone with this stoutly bred son of Medaglia d’Oro.

$20 Pick 3: 6 with 7 with 8

Good luck!