Fair Ground Picks & All-Stakes Pick 5 Betting Analysis for December 26: Gun Runner Day

The Fair Grounds will take center stage on Sunday as the card includes a pair of races that have Derby and Oaks Points at stake. Check out this inexpensive P5 ticket below!
The Fair Grounds will take center stage on Sunday as the card includes a pair of races that have Derby and Oaks Points at stake. Check out this inexpensive P5 ticket below!

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Right on the heels of Christmas Day, the Fair Grounds in New Orleans is hosting a good one ... it's Gun Runner Day! With races that have KY Derby and Oaks implications, it should be a great afternoon in the Big Easy. The new Gun Runner S. is a welcome addition to the Trail, and offers 10-4-2-1, when it comes to Points! How about that ...

At Horseracing.net/us we have you covered, including all of the action related to another excellent Louisiana Series @FG! It is a good time for some of the best that North American racing has to offer. Stay tuned! 

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Friday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

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ALL-STAKES .50 PICK 5…

Guaranteed $100k (Races 7-11)

LEG 1: (Race 7: Turf, 5½F, Richard R. Scherer Memorial S., $75k, 3+)

This Fair Grounds card on Sunday is a special one since it is anchored by the newly created Gun Runner Stakes. Starting things off with a turf sprint is really going to get our blood pumping. The favorite will be a runner that I so wanted to win back at Keeneland in the April running of the Shakertown (G2). Just Might #5, a gelding trained by Michelle Lovell, was a square 7/1 that day … finishing 10/12 on what was a sparkling day in Central KY. The result was a miss, I admit, but there was much to come, as this son of Just Phillip found his stride at Colonial Downs and Churchill over the summer. Switching to dirt really ignited something inside of him, and it wasn’t until the Grade 2 Phoenix @KEE in October that he failed on the step-up. Now, coming back to the grass, with that strong form, he could be really tough. Watch for his frontend speed to be on full display. The hot-riding Colby Hernandez gets the call … I think we have to use this one because his PPs are strong, but let’s also add in Mark Casse’s Lucky Curlin #3. Here is a versatile turf sprinter by the legendary Curlin, who looks pretty classy after running up at Woodbine. The yielding ground up there did not suit him last time out in the Nearctic (G2), so maybe less give will suit. I like his running style, and when you get an Oxley-bred, Barber-owned gelding like this one, you know ability is present. Plus, Florent Geroux comes to town from Oaklawn, and gets back on a surface he loves to ride on. This pair should get us through …

Selections: 3/5 (2-Deep)

 

LEG 2: (Race 8: Dirt, 1 1/16th, Tenacious S, $100k, 3+)

If you thought the previous race was a tough one, then get a load of this one … In this “Non-G” 100k, we have 10 that will be routing on the MT. Trainer Brad Cox, who will be trying to garner the Eclipse “Trainer of the Year” honors once again, has a fairly strong entry in Shared Sense #5. The ridgling was up against his stablemate, Knicks Go and Eclipse T-bred runner Independence Hall last time at Churchill in the Lukas Classic (G3). Ending up 3rd was more than respectable, and most will back him here based on that result. Brian Hernandez is already having a good Meet, so it is tough to argue against this 4-yr-old homebred that was reared by Godolphin. Since winning both the Indiana and Oklahoma Derbies this year, he has continued to be competitive (except for a poor showing at IG 7 July). Still, I want to add one more runner that looks inviting … Greg Foley’s Major Fed #2. This KYD146 Trail rider has a number of stellar efforts to his name. Even though he could not hit-the-board at Keeneland in the Fayette (G2) against the short-priced Independence Hall/Code of Honor, I still like his style. He can match up with Godolphin’s entry, and Mitch Murrill proved last year during this Meet that he can ride well in tough races. Foley doesn’t always get his due as a conditioner, and I like his chances at a square price—9/2. Going with this Ghostzapper 4-yr-old might do the trick. Again, a duo … moving on!

Selections: 2/5 (2-Deep)

 

LEG 3: (Race 9: Turf, 1 1/16th, Buddy Diliberto S., $75k, 3+)

Next up, it is time to head to my favorite kind of event at the Fair Grounds … a turf route. The Diliberto sure came up tough this time around, as 12 will go forth. A scan through the M/L odds tells you as much. If he does not scratch, I suppose that Jason Barkley’s Spooky Channel #10 could be the race time favorite. Mike Stidham’s Pixelate #11 will also take money. These are a pair of turf routers with strong experience, but they seem to me to be streaky shooters. If either shows up with their best, they could make it a blanket finish in the end. But that is a big “if” because I wouldn’t trust either of these to get the job done as a “Single.” Let’s use them, but when it comes to a top selection, I am more interested in Mike Maker’s Forty Under #12. Realize … this Uncle Mo gelding is an alum of the Wright Memorial 75k, a BT Fair Grounds contest that Another Mystery #6 won at a double-digit price. Maker’s entry ran 4th … halfway through. I am banking on David Cabrera getting to the lead, controlling the fractions, and having enough in the tank to get this one home. Just as back-up, I will keep the other pair on the ticket. Going 3-Deep is about all I can afford considering what is coming up in the back half of the sequence. Head to the outside …

Selections: 10/11/12, include the 6, if the 10 scr (3-Deep)

 

LEG 4: (Race 10: Dirt, 1 Mile 70yds., Untapable S., $100k, 2F)

A pair of bookend races that have Oaks/Derby implications are going to finish off this excellent All-Stakes P5. Up for grabs are Points … 10-4-2-1, in that order of finish. The filly version is up 1st, and many eyes will be on George Leonard’s California Angel #2. This runner garnered a ton of attention at the Breeders’ Cup, trying the turf for the 3rd time in her career. She won the Jessamine (G2) @KEE, but at DMR she missed … finishing 11th. Coming to FG she will be a sentimental pick. I am shying away from her because instead, I really think that Kenny McPeek’s Cocktail Moments #5 will win. The filly broke her maiden at Churchill in late November, and it was an impressive 9-length victory at the astronomical odds of 26/1. By Uncle Mo, a super sire, that was against a 12-horse field. McPeek makes the jockey switch to Brian Hernandez, and I am going to make an outlandish claim … this one will be in the 2022 Oaks! She has that late breakaway ability, and let’s face it, her conditioner knows how to bring young ones like this along. Without a doubt, this is my “Single,” in what amounts to a manageable field to appose. I cannot wait to see this duo develop through the Louisiana Series at the Fair Grounds, if that is what McPeek intends.

Selections: 5 (Single)

 

LEG 5: (Race 11: Dirt, 1 1/16th, Gun Runner S., $100k, 2)

Rolling into the finale, it is quite fitting that we end on a new race when it comes to the KY Derby Trail … named for one of Steve Asmussen’s greatest. Out of these 7 that are breaking from the FG gate, I am keen to back 3 of them. To my eye, Asmussen’s Epicenter #1, Brad Cox’s Rocket Dawg #3, and Bret Calhoun’s Tejano Twist #6 are capable. I would lean towards Cox’s #3 because the colt by Classic Empire really finished nicely, breaking his maiden back at Churchill on 19 November. Working well for this excellent outfit, the 2-yr-old by Classic Empire won by 5+ lengths that day. Getting Florent Geroux back up is a plus, and Frank Fletcher is hoping the $375k he spent on this one was worth it. I think so … Just a note, the place horse in that last race already came back to win @TP in a MSW race for Mike Maker. Maybe more to come from Grantham, as the Trail develops … As for the other pair I mentioned, I like Asmussen’s entry based on the fact that Winchell invested $260k in this son of Not This Time. He broke his maiden at Churchill in his 2nd career contest. As for Calhoun’s play, let’s not count this conditioner out. His experience in the business is just as sound as anyone’s, and I do like this sire—Practical Joke. The Tom Durant homebred already has 8 races under him, and in a situation like this, experience can count. These 3 should help us get this P5 ticket home. You know the Pool is going to be a juicy one from Sunday!

Selections: 1/3/6 (3-Deep)

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.50 P5 TICKET COST: $ 18.00

Enjoy some good ole racing from down in New Orleans! The tradition at the Fair Grounds continues!

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