by Eddie Olczyk
March 18, 2020
Before we jump into analyzing this race, I just want to ask that all of us horseplayers to stay smart and healthy out there. Thankfully we can bet the races from the Fair Grounds, Santa Anita, Gulfstream, Aqueduct and more with our Xpressbet accounts.
Sixteen horses have entered the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds (only fourteen can start) and among them are nine horses exiting the split divisions of the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes, which were contested here on February 15. Modernist, who rode the rail to victory in one of those races, is stuck with Post Position 14 on Saturday, which could severely hinder his chances.
As you’re handicapping, be sure to keep an eye on the forecast. Early predictions show on-and-off showers throughout the day Saturday in New Orleans, so just keep that in mind when evaluating the contenders and building your bets. Believe it or not, my picks should hold true rain or shine.
I see plenty of speed signed on for this race. #3 WELLS BAYOU, #11 NY TRAFFIC and #14 MODERNIST want to race on/near the front and a few others have tactical speed and can race just behind them. Those are the horses I’m going to build my bets around.
#7 SHARECROPPER is a 20/1 outsider on the morning line but I think he has a huge chance here. Two starts ago he broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in a key race that produced next out winners Sounion, Excession and Banks Island. If the name Excession looks familiar, he just finished second at odds of 82/1 behind Nadal in the G2 Rebel Stakes. In SHARECROPPER’s comeback race on February 15, I think he was too close to the pace in a slowly run race. Moreover, when it came time to run he found himself hemmed in behind horses without clear sailing for most of the stretch.
With a better trip on Saturday, I expect a much better result. My hope is that the speed horses are sent to the lead and SHARECROPPER’s jockey, Miguel Mena, sits back and makes one big run. If he’s able to avoid traffic and find racing room at the right time, I think he has a big chance.
I’m going to use SHARECROPPER alongside some of the other tactical horses - #2 MAILMAN MONEY (15/1), #8 ROYAL ACT (10/1) and #9 PORTOS (8/1).