Ace handicapper Anthony Fontaine has dissected the entire Fair Grounds card, including both divisions of the Risen Star. Anthony provides his selections and his reasoning. Enjoy and good fortune at the races!
Race One Selections: 4-5-7-13
#4 Audrey’s Time ran well on the grass for the first time last out while encountering some traffic difficulties. With a clean trip should be formidable today.
#5 Johnnie Merle is well bred for the lawn and the debut outing was not that troubling as this one got away slowly. Trainer may have begun slow but is capable and this runner looks live and well spotted. #7 Broadway Lady Sister should benefit greatly from the debut spin and with Leparoux in tow should make a good account of herself.
Race Two Selections: 6-4-5-3
#6 Airstream is a regally bred sort that ran evenly in the mud on debut. Runner gets to stretch out for today’s engagement and with the added real estate should be able to give a solid effort second time out. Expecting major improvement.
#4 Fort Knox improved exponentially once this runner had a chance to run long and should take another step forward today. Racing experience is invaluable with younger horses and this one looks spotted for action. #5 Money Cometh was soundly bumped at the start of the debut race and lost all chance. Runner is well bred and has worked well since the initial debacle. This one can surprise at a nice number in this spot.
Race Three Selections: 4-1-3-5
#4 Anima Gemella debuts for Calhoun in this good group of maidens. Pedigree is good and trainer can have them ready to go. Also, may fly under the radar on the tote.
#1Liam’s Tempest got away poorly in the debut then rushed into contention only to faced late. The experience gained in that outing should suit this runner well and expect a better performance with an alert start. #3 Nasty debuts for top connections with average works. This horse looks to have some ability and the pedigree is rock solid. Another contender in a very good race.
Race Four Selections: 4-2-6-7
#4 Divulgence out of top-notch turf sprinter in the 90s Confessional tries another route on the lawn today. Horse should be fit from the previous two races and expect her to stick around much longer today.
#2 Mischievous Mo gets another shot on the lawn in this spot after the previous race was washed off. This one should appreciate the return to the lawn and can make some noise in the lane at a good number. #6 Templet has displayed good speed in previous outings and see a return to those tactics again in this spot. Horse has ability and with a good trip may forget to stop.
Race Five Selections: 7-3-1-2
#7 Winning Impression started to show promise when able to stretch out to a route. Runner should get a favorable pace scenario and be running late in the stretch.
#3 Chestertown is an ultra- expensive runner that disappointed in first try on the Fairgrounds oval. New York bred should be fitter today and dangerous in the lane. #1 Sharecropper another well-bred specimen that won at a nice number at Churchill in October. Trainer can bring them off the bench ready to fire and expect this one to be highly competitive in this spot.
Race Six The Colonel Power, Selections: 5-3-1-2
#5 Star of Kodiak gets back to the preferred surface today after last two races washed off the lawn. Runner should get enough pace to close into and providing rider can work out a good trip should make presence felt close to the wire.
#3 Made you look did not appreciate the surface switch last out and may have got some fitness out of the race. Expect tis runner to be ultra-tough at a nice number. #1 Fast Boat another that needs a solid pace to close into but has lots of ability and should get a good trip in this race.
Race Seven Selections: 1-6-5-2
#1 Malahini debuts for Casse in this sprint. Horse would appear to want more ground however Curlin has proven to be a versatile sire and being out a Malibu Moon mare gives this runner the pedigree power to be highly competitive.
#6 Total Destruction has not shown much in any of the tree races, however upon closer examination this horse has had difficulties in each event. With a clean trip and returning to a surface and distance he should relish I would give this one due consideration. #5 Good Clean Fun has been working steadily for the debut unveiling. Undoubtedly may appreciate some more distance but expect a solid debut effort.
Race Eight The AM Stall Memorial, Selections: 1-2-8-5
#1 Flower Party should get a good trip in this field today right off the speed in a perfect stalking position. With the prohibitive favorite right next door in stall 2 and the fact that one was off slow last race you can ensure rider will do all that’s possible to get away alertly. Flower Party will be a good number and I see this one being the danger late.
#2 Mitchell Road lost all chance last time at Gulfstream at the start and closed belatedly for the place after a very tardy start. Runner does her best when on or near the lead and anticipate rider ensuring she gets there today. Formidable once again. #8 Irisa makes her US debut in a tough spot however I feel this runner has some ability and may get a chance to make some noise. Trainer is sharp and expect a good performance.
Race Nine The Mineshaft, Selections: 6-10-7-8
#6 Hofburg comes off another long layoff and hoping for a big 2020 campaign. Runner has fired fresh before and while this is a decent field if this horse is at his best should be tough to deny.
#10 Cutting Humor faced a tough foe in the comeback race at Gulfstream and was not very competitive. Horse should benefit from the fitness gained in that race and with a good trip can gain a major share. #7 Blended Citizen is a hard-trying sot that fires more than not. Horse has run well over this surface and with a clean trip can be formidable late.
Race TenThe Fair Grounds, Selections: 2-5-6-13
#2 Synchrony returns to what must be his favorite course to seek additional glory. Horse has run well off a layoff in the past and it is a given this is a steppingstone for other races down the road. Either way this one looks appealing at a short number.
#5 Dontblamerocket comes off a very impressive victory last out. The waters are much deeper against this group however runner has shown ability before and may have turned a corner. May be tough right back at an even better price. #6 Classic Covey will need pace to run into and may have the right amount against this group. Horse is stepping up in this field however consistent closer may upset the applecart.
Race Eleven The Rachel Alexandra, Selections: 5-6-7-2
#5 Tempers Rising made the leap from MSW victory to stake action last out and closed well to just miss. Appeared to grind away in the stretch and this runner would appreciate some pace to close into. With this line up today and the two year old champion returning to the races with bigger goals in mind feel the time is right for this one to make some noise late.
#6 British Idiom the undefeated champion gets back to the races aiming for the Kentucky Oaks in May. Runner has shown versatility and tenacity in her races and while the trainer is adept at having them ready off the bench, I must think she is not expected to peak today. Still very formidable. #7 Finite has become a win machine and will attempt to add to her tally today. Horse has shown grit in the lane and should have a fitness edge on the returning champion. The one thing I caution is the pedigree as the races get longer but this filly has heart and determination.
Race Twelve The Risen Star First Division, Selections: 8-5-7-2
#8 Enforceable won like a good horse last time closing and finishing resolutely. The pace scenario looks favorable once again today and with a clean trip a repeat is well within reach.
#5 Moon Over Miami had a better view of the grandstand last time at Gulfstream and had no chance with that sort of extra wide trip around both turns. Bill Mott is not here for Fat Tuesday and this runner has lots of ability and can make some noise at a nice price. #7 Blackberry Wine won a very fast optional race last out and will try stake company today. Horse looks to have lots of ability, and I am anxious to see how this one stacks up with this group. Should be competitive.
Race Thirteen The Risen Star Second Division, Selections: 8-2-7-3
#8 Anneau d’Or has proven to be a tough out. He has faced some of the top three-year old’s and proven his mettle and looks to breakthrough with his first stake victory. Has been working lights out for this engagement and expect a solid effort.
#1 Modernist improved as his races got longer and looking to make a splash in stake company. Numbers appear a bit below some of the others however horse is still figuring the game out and with further improvement may be tough in the lane. #7 Major Fed is a well-bred horse who will improve as the races get longer and should benefit from the anticipated pace scenario. If any of the prohibitive favorites fail to fire look for this one late on the scene.