By Sean Morris

Analyzing Saturday's All-Stakes Pick 4 at the Fair Grounds

By Sean Morris
Sean Morris gives us his Fair Grounds Pick-4 Picks for this Saturday
Sean Morris gives us his Fair Grounds Pick-4 Picks for this Saturday

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Race 9

Silver Dust (#6) is an admirable older horse and a deserving favorite in this race, however he’s no superstar. He’s been unbelievably consistent of late, registering a string of Beyers in the mid to high 90’s dating back to the beginning of last year, but there may be a couple others capable of surpassing him.

His chief competition could come from his stablemate, By My Standards (#8), who toyed with an overmatched field in his 2020 debut. This horse had been off since running in the Kentucky Derby last May and looked fantastic in his comeback. It seems he’s ready to pick up right where he left off after winning the 2019 Louisiana Derby, and should he improve upon that race, he’s probably going to beat this field.

Fearless (#3) could also be a budding star for Todd Pletcher. Like By My Standards, he wasn’t beating anything last time, however he was super impressive and is catching a field without much pace. He could find himself alone on the lead in a plum spot, and it’s possible he’s just the most talented horse in the race.

Main:  3,6,8     Backup: 1,9

Order of preference:  8-3-6-1
 

Race 10

It took him a long time to figure things out, but Instilled Regard (#6) is finally making good on the immense potential he’s shown throughout his career. He got a great trip in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, but he was also meeting better horses and he has the tactical speed to work out a similar trip in this race. He’s the horse to beat, however he’s probably going to be overbet and is by no means a layup.

I want absolutely no part of Factor This (#9), who set a pretty tepid pace and rode a strong inside bias to victory in the Fair Grounds Stakes; however, Synchrony (#12), who was also on the rail for much of the way in that race, is another story. Synchrony has always done his best running over this course, and though he did have the benefit of being inside in his last race, he rallied strongly while somewhat wide in the stretch to nearly reel in Factor This. He’s 100 percent the one I want of the pair.

I like Instilled Regard and Synchrony, but neither figures to offer much value, so with that in mind my top pick is Aquaphobia (#2). This horse is taking a hefty step up in class but he really woke up first off the claim for Mike Maker. Despite the Old Man Eloquent being a starter stake with a measly 60k pot, he was meeting some nice horses in that race and blew by Muggsamatic, who is a fringe graded stakes type. Aquaphobia is an honest performer with back class that could really start to flourish in the barn of such an elite turf trainer. With any further improvement, he could put himself in the mix here at a generous price.

Main:  2,6,12       Backup (priority):  1,3,4,8

Order of preference:  2-6-12-3

 

Race 11

It sounds strange to say, but Finite (#6) was a revelation in her last race. I was never her biggest fan and I felt my concerns about her were validated two back in the Silverbulletday. She always struck me as a precocious filly that, given her pedigree, probably wouldn’t truly relish two-turn racing, and that seemed to be corroborated in that race when she was all out to beat an inferior group. What a difference a start makes, though, because she was sensational last out in the Rachel Alexandra, drubbing last year’s champion 2-year-old filly British Idiom by 4 ¾ lengths. I can find no fault with that effort and a repeat of it is going to win this race, probably easily.

It’s not a sexy pick, however Finite is only facing five rivals and none of them are all that good. Underneath her, I’d give the slight edge to Tempers Rising (#3), as I think Bonny South (#4) looks a little better than she is based on her last race, when she took advantage of a phenomenal setup.

Main:  6     Backup:  None

Order of preference:  6-3-4-5
 

Race 12

This is a wild edition of the Louisiana Derby. I seriously doubt the Kentucky Derby winner is among those entered, however it does make for an interesting betting race. My picks were formed largely by process of elimination.

I really don’t like the division of the Risen Star won by Modernist (#14), which five horses in the main body of the field are exiting. I’m not even sure I have a favorite among those runners and simply want no part of what was really a glorified allowance race, not a serious Derby prep. The other division wasn’t much better, but it was definitely the faster race of the two. Enforceable (#10) and Silver State (#13) are both nice horses, however how much do you trust the former at a short price given he’s a stone-cold closer and needs things to unfold perfectly for him to win, while the latter got a great trip last time and could do no better than third. I prefer them to the other Risen Star cohort, but they’re probably going to be underlays.

Chestertown (#4) seems to be getting some buzz as a wise guy horse after a tough trip in his last race at the Fair Grounds, but I can’t get on board with him, either. He was clearly best in that race, however he’s again going to have to deal with kickback, which was the cause of his early trouble, and I just don’t think he’s all that good. If he’s going to get bet down significantly from his 15-1 morning line he’s one to avoid.

Given the lackluster form of the local horses, I think it’s imperative to give extra consideration to the shippers in this race. In any other spot I would probably be eager to play against Wells Bayou (#3), but not in this race, especially not if he’s going to be anywhere near his 8-1 morning line. I do believe he’s a bit dressed up off his last start as speed and the rail seemed to get good as that February 17 card progressed at Oaklawn, however even if he regresses a few lengths he’d still be a formidable contender in here. It’s also notable that the Southwest was his first career start on a dry track, so his improvement may not be solely the function of a bias.

Keeping up with the theme of new faces, I have to feature Royal Act (#8) prominently, as well. This horse really woke up on dirt in the Robert B. Lewis against a pretty solid field and if he can just repeat that effort he’d have a big chance. He’s also drawn well and has the tactical speed to work out a good trip.

Main:  3,8     Backup:  4,9,10,13

Order of preference:  3-8-9-10

 

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