Michael Beychok, the 2012 National Handicapping Championship and 2012 Eclipse Award winner for best handicapper, brings 35 years of experience to The Advocate. Beychok is also the senior partner of Ourso Beychok Inc., an award winning national political consulting firm based in Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @beychokracing.

Picks made today for fast track and on turf

Race 1

1. Big Kick: Nothing clever here — Amoss horses running well and this one fits.

2. Cutacorner: Last two on dirt are good enough to win this.

Race 2

7. Rifle Man: Trip was tough and with better negotiation of ground can improve to win.

2. Nippy Red: Made what looked like a winning move in last but got caught.

Race 3

5. Bowknot Billy: Stretches out and could get a good stalking trip.

2. Noisey Boy: Takes a big class drop and switches surfaces to change it up.

Race 4

3. Dontmesswithjoan: Takes a drop here looking for a win and confidence builder.

2. Jus Kevin: Trip was not ideal and gets good turf rider Adam Beschizza.

Race 5

3. Halifax: Sure does look like the one to beat and will take some beating.

5. Gator Tough: A repeat of his last effort would be very competitive here.

Race 6

11. Apreciado: Takes the biggest drop in racing from MSW to claimers.

8. Sky Force: Tough to bet against any Brad Cox runner these days.

Race 7

6. RK Gee: First timer for the powerful GMB Stable and Al Stall fits here.

3. Great Sky: Well meant in first start and showed talent running second at Kee.

Race 8

11. Big Blue Magic: Was trying to run on turf first out and ran behind next out winner.

3. Eye of the Kitten: Those Kitten Joy horses love this FG turf course.

Race 9

1/1a. Beauty’s Pioneer: First off the claim and adding some blinkers will do the trick here.

6. Kaynespotofgold: Cutback in distance could be the wakeup call to get this one running.

Around the track

The Lecomte Stakes is in the books and fans were treated to one of the best — albeit early — performances from a 3-year-old. Instilled Regard dominated the race and according to post race interviews came out of the race in perfect order. Local horse Principe Guillarme ran gallantly to fight for second-place and I’m sure we will see this one in the Risen Star Stakes, but Instilled Regard’s future plans are undecided for now.

Best bet

Our best bet Monday will be in Race 2 No. 7 Rifle Man. Last trip was not good and better trip could mean real big improvement at good odds.

Good luck and may they all come home safely.