Scully: Handicapping All-Stakes Late Pick 5 on Louisiana Derby program

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March 25th, 2022

A major qualifier for the Kentucky Derby (G1), Saturday’s 109th running of the Louisiana Derby (G2) anchors an outstanding 12-race program at Fair Grounds including eight stakes.

A total of 170 points toward a Kentucky Derby berth will be offered to the top four finishers (100-40-20-10) in the 1 3/16-mile Louisiana Derby. The $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) fulfills the same role for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 6, and the 1 1/16-mile event features the return of unbeaten juvenile champion Echo Zulu.

The Louisiana Derby and Fair Grounds Oaks are part of the $500,000 guaranteed All-Stakes Late Pick 5 sequence. Additionally, will offer players who opt-in a $5,000 All-Stakes Pick 5 jackpot to be split among all winning tickets.

Here is how I will attack the sequence.

Tom Benson Memorial S. – Race 8 (4:37 p.m. ET)

Grade 3 winner #4 Gam’s Mission won’t return in the most difficult spot, and the 1 1/16-mile turf affair should set up well for her late kick. She’s 2-for-3 at the trip, the lone setback being a fine effort when she overcame stumbling out of the gate to just miss on the wire last fall, and is a winner over the course. I like her chances.

#1 Lake Lucerne should be forward from her inside post with Joel Rosario and her form last fall makes her a player. #6 Hendy Woods and #9 Lovely Ride also will be added to the ticket.

New Orleans Classic (G2) – Race 9 (5:08 p.m. ET)

#2 Olympiad has thrived since stretching out to two turns, recording a brilliant Gulfstream allowance win and a 2 1/4-length victory in the Mineshaft (G3) at Fair Grounds, and registered encouraging 108 and 106 Brisnet Late Pace ratings for those efforts. He’s squarely the horse to beat. #1 Promise Keeper remains a promising sort for Todd Pletcher and has some appeal as the projected speed from the innermost post. The Grade 3 winner needed his last start, the Razorback (G3), after a lengthy layoff and lost all chance when missing the break.

See Also: Exotics plays for the 2022 New Orleans Classic

Muniz Memorial (G2) – Race 10 (5:40 p.m. ET)

#9 Santin traveled extremely wide and raced greenly when appearing to lose focus in upper stretch of the Fair Grounds S. (G3) last time. The lightly-raced colt still managed to find his best stride late, rallying fast to come up a half-length short, and the Brendan Walsh trainee should move forward in the second start back from a freshening. He’s the top pick.

#3 Devamani, who will be the longer of two Chad Brown runners, offered a belated rally when returning from an eight-month vacation last time, and the gelding recorded a sharp score in the Monmouth (G3) last summer when making his second start back off a similar break. He’ll be used along with #7 Another Mystery, a late runner in good form for Chris Block following an upset win (dead-heat) in the John B. Connally (G3) at Sam Houston.

See also: Fair Grounds Pick: How to bet with, and against, Sacred Life in Muniz Memorial

Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) – Race 11 (6:12 p.m. ET)

Echo Zulu will be an overwhelmingly popular choice, but after returning to Steve Asmussen’s stable in late December, she wasn’t able to post her first workout in more than three months until Feb. 8. That left her on a tight schedule to make the Fair Grounds Oaks and with bigger goals on the immediate horizon (the Preakness [G1] on May 17 has been mentioned as a possible target after the Kentucky Oaks), it’s fair to question how fit the speedy filly will be for the long stretch run at Fair Grounds.

#3 Favor, who stamped herself as an up-and-comer in the three-year-old filly ranks by recording convincing wins over maiden and allowance rivals in her last two starts, is a threat to make a serious impact in her stakes debut for Pletcher. I give her top billing and will also use Rachel Alexandra (G2) winner #2 Turnerloose and sharp last-out allowance scorer #4 Bernabreezy on the Pick 5 ticket.

See Also: Value Play for the 2022 Fair Grounds Oaks

Louisiana Derby (G2) – Race 12 (6:44 p.m. ET)

#6 Epicenter has logged a pair of five-furlong bullet works for Asmussen since dominating the Feb. 19 Risen Star (G2) wire-to-wire, and the Louisiana Derby sets up just as favorably for the classy colt. He has the quickness to sprint clear from the starting gate and the cruising speed to leave plenty in reserve for the latter stages.

See Also: Louisiana Derby Contenders, Betting Guide & Tipsheet

Pick 5 ticket: 1,4,6,9 with 1,2 with 3,7,9 with 2,3,4 with 6 = $36