by Jerry Shottenkirk
March 19, 2020
It’s one extreme to another early on the Fair Grounds Late Pick 4 for Saturday, which ends with the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. The sequence runs from races 9-12 and in addition to the headliner includes the Grade 2 New Orleans Classic, the Mervin Muniz Memorial Classic and the Fair Grounds Oaks.
The Derby, raced at 1 3-16th miles, has a full boat of 14 scheduled to run, and so many entered have a legitimate shot for the victory. Of course, with the rescheduling of the Kentucky Derby to September, this and other springtime preps don’t have the same effect as far as immediate importance for the Triple Crown, but in and of themselves are important races for those with promising sophomores.
If you can confidently dive into the New Orleans Classic to start off the Pick 4, I tip my cap. There are so many legit possibilities, and with nine entered, there’s not a bum in the lot. Looks like a good spot for the ALL button.
It’s just the opposite in the Fair Grounds Oaks. Finite has won five straight and absolutely romped in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandria. While this doesn’t necessarily have to be a stroll in the park, her opponents will have to step up their game in a big, big way.
Here’s a look at the horses on the ticket for the Louisiana Derby:
Major Fed: Has had only three starts, but his second to Modernist in a division of the Risen Star sent the signal that he belongs with this group. Distance should be no problem.
Wells Bayou: Another with limited starts but he clearly has talent. He moves over from Oaklawn, where he set the pace and was caught late by Silver Prospector in the Grade 3 Southwest. He’s won half of his four starts and has a good chance to get to the lead.
Royal Act: Brings his game from the West Coast, where he has a maiden win and most recently was second to Thousand Words in the Grade 3 Robert Lewis. Looks like he’ll get better with distance, and the American Pharoah colt likely will be fairly close to the pace.
Enforceable: Had a rough trip for second against Mr Monomoy in a division of the Risen Star, but he just kept on running. Would almost have to get a better trip this time around.
Silver State: The No. 13 post doesn’t do him any favors, but he doesn’t have speed anyway and will have time to get into a better position heading into the first turn. He has trained like a champ since his last one, and don’t be surprised if he gets his first graded win after graded placings in the Risen Strar (third behind Mr Monomoy) and second in the Lecomte (behind Enforceable).
Also on the docket is the Muniz Memorial on turf, and Dot Matrix, Instilled Regard and Factor This are worthy of inclusion.
Here’s a suggested $67.50 play in Fair Grounds’ late Pick 4 on Saturday:
9) ALL (9 horses)
10) #1 Dot Matrix, #6 Instilled Regard, #9 Factor This.
11) #6 Finite.
12) #1 Major Fed, #3 Wells Bayou, #8 Royal Act, #10 Enforceable, #13 Silver State.
50-cent Pick 4 ticket: ALL with 1-6-9 with 6 with 1-3-8-10-13 ($67.50).