Friday spot plays at Fair Grounds

Profile Picture: James Scully

February 15th, 2019

A pair of Kentucky Derby and Oaks preps, the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) and $200,000 Rachel Alexandra (G2), highlight a strong 12-race program at Fair Grounds on Saturday. But before diving into Saturday’s action, let’s try to build the bankroll with a few plays on Friday. Race 3: Appears to be plenty of pace entered and #4 Ruston Vow (5-1 morning line) should receive the right set-up. Liked his last effort, a fast-closing second at this level, and six-year-old looks to be rounding into top form. Ruston Vow has registered BRIS Late Pace numbers of 95 and 89 in the last two starts and while he’s never been the six-furlong distance, the gelding ran a good race at seven panels two back. He can be along in time in this spot. Race 6: Favorites look vulnerable in my estimation and I’ll tab #9 Zarb’s Gift (12-1) at an expected price. His last two starts have come off the turf and the seven-year-old gelding ran ok in both races, gaining valuable fitness. He’s eligible to move forward returning to the turf in the third start off a layoff and has shown an affinity for the local course (5-2-1-1). The one-mile trip is his best distance (12-5-1-2) and Zarb’s Gift can sit just off the pace before offering his move. Race 7: The favorite (Jazz It Up) has not shown a willingness to win, coughing up a lead in deep stretch the last two starts, and I’m intrigued by #6 Tommy C Me (8-1). Sophomore gelding took action the first time out against better but did not break well from the innermost post and was forced wide on the far turn. He received the rail post again last time and performed better despite not breaking sharply, taking plenty of kickback in tight quarters before winding up a decent fourth. I love the move to post 6, which will allow jockey Mitchell Murrill options, and expect a much-improved effort.