Handicapping the Fair Grounds All-Stakes Pick 4

Profile Picture: James Scully

March 25th, 2016

Saturday’s $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) anchors an All-Stakes Pick 4 at Fair Grounds and TwinSpires has added extra incentive for its players with a 3 million-point “Hit It and Split It” bonus on the sequence, which begins in Race 7. I’ll be playing the tickets below.

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Race 7, New Orleans H. (G2): International Star (#1) loves Fair Grounds (four wins) but seeks to rebound from his first setback over the track in the February 20 Mineshaft (G3). That was a weird race, with the 4-horse field essentially holding their positions throughout on a soft pace, and expecting a more honest scenario here. He’ll be primed for his best. Eagle (#10) and Majestic Harbor (#4) are logical win contenders if the top choice falters, & late runner Mobile Bay (#8) has the BRIS numbers to challenge & exits a nice win in the Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston.

Race 8, Muniz Memorial H. (G2): Had two As initially but Can’thelpbelieving (#3) didn’t make the trip to New Orleans and will be scratched. MG3 winner World Approval (#10) returned this year with a sharp victory at Gulfstream and appears capable of developing into a serious turf horse as a 4yo; look for him to sit a good trip off the front-runners before pouncing. Chocolate Ride (#4) is such a horse-for-the-course (six straight wins locally) that he can’t be dismissed, but trainer Mike Maker has entered a rabbit (#6) in an attempt to soften up the front-runner. Maker’s other charge, Roman Approval (#2), could be the beneficiary from off the pace.

Race 9, Fair Grounds Oaks (G2): Land Over Sea (#8) is the likely favorite & should relish the class drop after squaring off against Songbird in 5 straight starts, finishing second in both races this year. I’m not keen on the contingent from the first two legs of this series, the Rachel Alexandra (G2) and Silverbulletday, which were slowly run races, and give Oaklawn allowance winner Adore (#5) a big chance in her first stakes attempt. The improving Steve Asmussen trainee was super impressive last time. Midnight on Oconee (#2) merits respect with her speed in a race lacking pace and Stageplay (#4) is eligible to rebound from a wide trip last time, but I’m more inclined to use “all” on the main ticket instead of spreading.

Race 10, Louisiana Derby: Gun Runner (#1) is the top choice – expecting further improvement off a nice win in his seasonal debut, the Risen Star (G2). I also give expected front-runners Battery (#3) and Candy My Boy (#5) a chance for the upset – expecting a moderate early tempo – and respect the chances of Mo Tom (#6), who appears set for his best.

Pick 4 tickets ($81)

Ticket 1 (main ticket): 1,4,8,10 with 2,4,10 with All with 1 ($48)

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

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

Ticket 4: 1,4,8,10 with 1,8,11 with 5,8 with 1 ($12)

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

Good luck!

In addition to 3 million points for the All-Stakes Pick 4, TwinSpires will offer an additional 1 million-point bounty on the Early and Late Pick 4s as part of the Louisiana Derby: 5 Million Points Rolling Pick 4 Bonus promotion