Fair Grounds All-Stakes Pick 4 analysis includes upset pick in Louisiana Derby

Profile Picture: James Scully

March 24th, 2018

Saturday’s 14-race program at Fair Grounds includes eight stakes and a quartet of Grade 2 events are featured in an All-Stakes Pick 4 anchored by the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2), the first of seven designated major prep races for the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

I’m tabbing Lone Sailor for an upset in the main event but it’s not my strongest opinion in the sequence. Here’s a preview of the action:

Race 8

The Player was installed as the 9-5 favorite in the New Orleans H. (G2) but expect him to go favored following a wire-to-wire romp in the Mineshaft (G3) where he was left alone on the front end. The 5yo will be showing the way once again but I don’t like the stretch out to 9-furlongs and am keen on the returning #5 Good Samaritan.

Unraced since a fast-closing second in the Clark H. (G1) in late November, Good Samaritan also posted a smashing victory in the Jim Dandy (G2) last year and has run the best races of his career at 1 1/8 miles for Bill Mott. The 4yo son on Harlan’s Holiday looks capable of being a serious Grade 1 type this year and I favor his chances in this spot.

Good Samaritan will be singled on one Pick 4 ticket.

Race 9

The Muniz Memorial (G2) drew a nice field of 11. #6 Lucullan came back from a four-month freshening with a sharp allowance tally at Gulfstream, registering his third consecutive triple-digit BRIS Late Pace rating (105), and the 4yo Hard Spun colt brings improving form into his second stakes attempt for Kiaran McLaughlin. He’ll be rolling late under Gary Stevens and rates a slight edge.

#1 Synchrony is one to beat after registering his first graded win in the Fair Grounds H. (G3), closing powerfully to win going away by two lengths. He’ll be used prominently in multi-race bets with the top choice.

#4 Arklow, #8 Mr. Misunderstood and #10 Revved Up provide further cover in a competitive affair.

Race 10

Also-rans from the Rachel Alexandra (G2) will receive plenty of support in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) but I’m going with a new shooter, #4 Eskimo Kisses. A maiden winner two back, the up-and-coming lass ships in from Oaklawn Park off an impressive 11-length thrashing of allowance foes in late February, registering a 93 BRIS Speed rating that is tied for the best last-out number. The well-bred daughter of To Honor and Serve can continue to show more for Kenny McPeek in this spot.

#1 Classy Act gave way readily but held for second last time, and #8 Wonder Gadot has been underwhelming in a pair of starts this year but remains eligible to turn things around here. #2 Saguaro Row, a runaway debut winner who was favored in her first stakes start two back, also merits a look as a saver after a slow start and less-than-favorable trip last time.

Race 11

A contested pace appears likely and #8 Lone Sailor may prove to be the beneficiary. By Majestic Warrior, the Tom Amoss-trained colt showed decent class last year recording a third in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1); a second in the Street Sense; and a rallying fifth in a Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) that has produced four graded stakes winners this year. Lone Sailor never looked comfortable and didn’t fire when opening 2018 from the rail post in the Lecomte (G3), but he turned things around last time with a superb turn of foot in the final furlongs, netting a career-best 103 BRIS Late Pace rating after breaking a step slowly versus allowance rivals. The runner-up performance could serve as the catalyst for bigger and better things today.

I will play Lone Sailor at expected long odds and include #2 Noble Indy, who merits respect in his second stakes attempt; and the late-running #9 My Boy Jack on both Pick 4 tickets.


I will play a pair of 50-cent Pick 4 tickets (races 8-11) utilizing Good Samaritan and Eskimo Kisses as singles.

Ticket 1: 5 with 1,4,6,8,10 with 1,2,4,8 with 2,8,9 ($30)

Ticket 2: 1,3,5,6 with 1,4,6,8,10 with 4 with 2,8,9 ($30)

Good luck!