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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, January 21, 2022 — At long last, a meaningful card in one of America’s great cities, at Fair Grounds Race Course, quaint paddock and all.

Of course, it was raining as we began to write this–nothing but sunshine beginning Saturday morning. Hopefully, the turf course will not turn out to be boggy. The turf course was termed “good” today.

The attraction is the All-Stakes Late Pick 4. We did the work, including the video, so let’s look at the sequence beginning with race 11, the listed Silverbulletday Stakes, as the CDI satellite launches its road to the Kentucky Oaks.

The final event, the G3 Lecomte, offers a 10-point Derby prize in addition to the lion’s share of the $200,000 pot.

Here’s the video skinny on all major contenders, with accompanying trip notations:

Race 11 Silverbulletday Stakes

A: 5-La Crete (2-1): After being scratched from a mile one-turner, Medaglia d’Oro filly debuted around two turns at Churchill and her race was very special. She took command outsprinting a turn rival from the outside, separated herself quickly and comfortably. At headstretch, she spurted away again, separating herself instantly, then won geared down inside the sixteenth. Stonestreet homebred looks to the future for Team Asmussen/Rosario

B: 4-Sweet as Pie (5-2): Fourth in the Tempted in a one-paced performance, demonstrated a long loping stride as if two turns will be her jam. She gets that here. White hot Todd reaches out for Florent Geroux–on loan from Brad Cox?

C: 1-Fannie and Freddie (5-2): Showed good speed from the gate from the rail, shifted outside and into stalk mode almost instantly, mid-moved to command but was run down late by North County, who is now 3-for-3 with her Untappable Stakes score.

Pick 4: Using 4 and 5, but may single La Crete. If she repeats her debut run, the drama will be for place.

Race 12 Colonel E R Bradley [turf]

A: 1-Logical Myth (12-1) won this race from this post last year, Joe Sharp is 23% in Lay-3 situations and 30% removing blinkers. “The Biscuit” riders her back and while no apparent excuse in last, she appeared to need it. Handles any going. 6-Two Emmys (3-1) is the most accomplished class runner. Consistently fastest on the Thoro-Graph scale meaning she could be prepping and still win. Wants more distance but likes cut in the ground, exits key race producing two next out winners. 3-Cavalry Charge (8-1) can be controlling speed, well posted and weighted and was a sharp, game winner of his KEE finale; working fast and capable of surprising this group. 2-Halo Again (6-1) sprinted home a game winner after being hounded throughout his last but pays picking up. Nicely drawn with Asmussen switching to Joel.

B: 8-Monarchs Glen (8-1) finished well too late, albeit one-ace nearing finish, after angling 6-wide into the lane.

C: 12-Forty Under (12-1) is one of many Makers here, but was hurt by the draw. Still, chased Halo Again from the outside all the way and hung in tenaciously, beaten less than one length finishing fourth.

Pick 4: Using 1, 3, 6 on main ticket, and could go wild using all six if we decide to single La Crete. It will be a game-time decision

RACE 13 G3 Louisiana Stakes

A: 3-Midnight Bourbon (6-5) and Mandaloun (1-1). You know these horses, I know these horses. We’ve seen the Risen Star and Haskell; we’ve seen last year’s Lecomte and the Travers. It’s a toss-up, the lean is Midnight Bourbon because of recency and perhaps the blinkers will enable better focus.

B: 6-Warrant (12-1) The “other” Brad Cox won the trainer a third consecutive Oklahoma Derby, a key race producing four winners from six subsequent starters. He comes off a perfect-trip season’s debut that was a good one. Rosario moved aggressively to attack the leader from the inside, repelled stretch charges, Joel driving to do it, but seemed to have a little in reserve in the final few strides; a hard fought but clever win.

Pick 4: Must use 3 and 5, obviously. If you have a single or two, you could add Warrant in an effort to blow up the ticket, though he does look more the part of a money finisher. But if the other two guys are not totally set for best, which is likely, anything can happen.

Race 14 G3 Lecomte

A: 3-Pappacap (8-5) is 3-for-5 lifetime, both losses to certain-to-be juvenile champion Corniche. Both were runnerup finishes and the most recent Juvenile placing was not a bad trip, but an uncomfortable one, as he didn’t get to the outside with momentum. Figures are superior, class lines are obvious.

B: 5-Epicenter (9-5) raced head to head in his two-turn debut, taking the Gun Runner Stakes by 6-1/2 lengths. It was a match within a race in which Asmussen’s runner, stalking from the outside, appeared to be the better horse in an a.m. company work. Showed some greenness, but drew off powerfully at the end.

C: 6-Cyberknife (6-1) ridden as if he were the best horse in last-out maiden breaker, his first around a second turn, racing greenly as he lugged in inside the final furlong. A late challenger came and when he saw him, he held sway and stayed in front galloping out. 8-Call Me Midnight (20-1) was never involved coming back on short rest in CD’s G2 Jockey Club, but his maiden breaker mile was a tour de force as he raced 5-wide into the clubhouse turn, between horses down the backside 3-4 wide throughout, finding best stride in midstretch and drawing off driving as clearly best.

Pick 4: Probably wise to use both favorites, though we are likely to single Pappacap. Depends on scratches, any prevailing biases, etc., etc. Including Cyberknife is not crazy here at early line odds, though Call Me Midnight, despite reuniting with winning rider James Graham, requires a huge leap of faith.

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