Friday spot plays at Fair Grounds

Profile Picture: James Scully

March 23rd, 2018

The spotlight falls upon Fair Grounds this weekend as the first of seven major prep races for the 2018 Kentucky Derby, Saturday’s $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2), will be offered. I’m glad to be back in New Orleans covering the stakes-packed program, including a quartet of Grade 2 events, but will first look to build the bankroll in Friday’s nine-race appetizer.

Here are three horses I fancy:

Race 2: Brad Cox planned to try turf with #5 Resiliency (8-1) on March 11 but the race was moved to the main track. The allowance/optional claimer still served as a useful tightener following a near 10-month hiatus and the 4yo colt finally gets to try the surface he was bred for today. His dam is a half-sister to turf champion Chief Bearhart and Grade 1 turf scorer Explosive Red and Resiliency’s lone sibling to race posted all of his wins on turf. He certainly fits at this level if he takes to the sod as expected.

Race 4: Like the stretch back out to a route for #4 Romeo Lima (12-1), who has posted a pair of wins and a second from his last four two-turn attempts. The 6yo came back from almost a 12-month layoff in February and Louie Roussel placed the son of Medaglia d’Oro in a couple of turf sprints that were too short for him. He did register decent BRIS numbers for both efforts and drops in claiming price today with a returning Jose Valdivia Jr. (19% turf rider). Look for Romeo Lima to appreciate the added ground and class relief.

Race 7: Several runners are dropping in class for this state-bred claimer but Our Golden Girl (4-1) steps up a level following a runaway tally at the $5k level. And I hope bettors dismiss the filly due to false class concerns. Even though Tom Amoss lost her to a claim, Our Golden Girl’s last race was exactly what she needed after a rough trip in which she finished last versus allowance foes on turf. The 4yo got her confidence back with an eye-catching 7 ¼-length decision, registering an 82 BRIS Speed rating that is easily the top last-race figure today, and she’s eligible to keep moving forward. Florent Geroux retains the mount and Our Golden Girl should be prominent from the start.