Spot Plays for 2019 Louisiana Derby weekend at Fair Grounds
Saturday’s card at Fair Grounds is one of the best of the year and the stakes races came up especially strong. What’s more, Twinspires.com has a “Bet Back” promotion where, after opting in and betting on at least five races on Fair Grounds’ Saturday card, you can get up to $5 per race back if your horse finishes second. So let’s find five race to make win bets on. I will only use horses that I think will win and not those that I expect to run well and finish in the money. Not good enough! FREE Louisiana Derby PPs courtesy of Brisnet.com! RACE 2: Crescent City Oaks CRESCENTCITYPRETTY (#1) (9-2) broke her maiden first time out going two turns at Delta Downs, then came back there with a third in a similar stakes race after a rough start. She came back there with a sharp win against stakes horses going two turns again and the Louisiana-bred daughter of Bernardini should benefit from drawing the rail and being involved early. RACE 10: New Orleans Handicap (G2) CORE BELIEFS (#11) (6-1) ships in from southern California for Peter Eurton. He was re-located to Los Alamitos after the Santa Anita Park shut down and had two strong workouts for this. An emerging three-year-old last year with a win in the Ohio Derby (G3), the son of Quality Road had three triple-digit BRIS Speed ratings on his resume and could be potent with the usual improvement. The bay four-year-old ties as having the highest BRIS Speed figure at this contest’s nine-furlong distance and enough tactical speed for Florent Geroux to avoid being trapped wide. RACE 11: Muniz Memorial Handicap (G2) SYNCHRONY (#3) (3-1) looked great in his prep for this when he exploded in the stretch to win the Fair Grounds Handicap (G3) going this distance in fast time last out. The son of Tapit won this race last year off the same pattern of Fair Grounds ‘Cap victory to this. His workouts show he’s ready and regular rider Joe Bravo is back in the saddle. He will have the Chad Brown runner BRICKS AND MORTAR (#7) (2-1) to contend with, but that one did his best on yielding turf last out. RACE 12: Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) SERENGETI EMPRESS (#2) (6-5) returned to the races last out here and won the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) by 4 1/2 lengths going gate-to-wire. Last year, she won the Pocahontas Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs by 19 lengths, so when she gets rolling on the front end she is unstoppable. RACE 13: Louisiana Derby (G2) SPINOFF (#10) (8-1) broke his maiden first time out at Gulfstream Park last June going five furlongs on a wet track. He went off as the lukewarm favorite, so there were some expectations, but he was not up in New York with the Todd Pletcher-trained first string or at Monmouth Park with the second string. Still, it was enough to earn a trip to Saratoga seven weeks later, where he was third in the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) going 6 1/2 furlongs behind Call Paul, who won the Swale Stakes (G3) last out. Off for six months, he returned on February 22 at Tampa Bay Downs for his two-turn debut. Johnny Velazquez was up for the mount and, after stalking the early leader through a very fast pace (+15, +8), drew off to an 11-length win. The son of Hard Spun showed high cruising speed and when Velazquez asked him for run, he responded through the lane. Yes, the question is who did he beat but it looks like Pletcher has prepared him perfectly with two spectacular five-furlong breezes at Palm Beach Downs for this and from post 10, Velazquez should be able to work out a stalking trip. If you want to get creative in the $500,00 All Stakes Pick Four: 2, 6, 9, 10, 11 with 3, 7 with 2 with 4, 6, 8, 10 PHOTO: Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges Jr.