Fair Grounds: Stakes Selections for Sat. Nov. 19, 2022

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

November 17th, 2022

A trio of stakes tilts for the boys will lead the way at Fair Grounds on Saturday. 

Race 5: Joseph R. Peluso Memorial S.

Eight Cajun-bred juveniles will dash 5 1/2 furlongs in the first black-type race of the afternoon. I’ll side with #3 Not On Herb (7-2), who was a smart first-out winner at Delta Downs for conditioner Ron Faucheux. By First Samurai, the $27,000 yearling purchase showed big speed and was game late in his debut victory, and he has come back to post a pair of useful morning moves in the interim. Jareth Loveberry picks up the mount for a heady two-year-old outfit. 

Race 7: Scott’s Scoundrel S.

The two-turn test attracted a big field of 11, with numerous value contenders in the mix. Scott Geiner’s #8 Big Chopper (15-1) draws outside of the other speed in the field and will get a nice trip to the top of the lane under Loveberry. The Shackleford chestnut isn’t in career form currently, but he figures to be sharp for Saturday and rates as the potential one to catch turning for home in this spot. And the price should be right, too, for a colt who dons a 4-2-2-0 local line. I expect the chestnut to always be well placed from the opening bell.

Race 8: Monte Man S.

A total of 10 Louisiana-bred runners will travel six panels on the dirt in the closing stakes race of the day. With an abundance of pace signed on for the heat, it makes sense to look for a closing type to pull off a potential upset in the sprint. The Dallas Stewart-trained #10 Unified Report (6-1) is far from the most consistent horse in training, but he has appeal to me. The Unified colt is two-for-three on the oval, and he is also a two-time stakes winner when dropped in with state-bred foes, so a positive performance on Saturday is well within reach. The bay will take back early and make one run from well off of the early tempo with Reylu Gutierrez taking the reins.