Michael Beychok, the 2012 National Handicapping Championship and 2012 Eclipse Award winner for best handicapper, brings 35 years of experience to The Advocate. Beychok — also the senior partner of Ourso Beychok Inc., a national political consulting firm based in Louisiana — runs his own handicapping website, BeychokRacing.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BeychokRacing.
Welcome to Chok’s Choices for the 2014-15 season at the Fair Grounds.
Last year was a learning experience for this handicapper during my first foray into making public selections. I finished the year with a 24% win rate, which was well below my original target. This year, I will keep a running score of top selections along with a return on investment; this measure is a more accurate reflection of success or failure.
For those of you who are new to the selections, I suggest wagering on top selections and/or wagering on the “underneath” selections when odds are above 8-1. I also suggest boxing the top two selections in exactas, as that wager was a winning one last year.
As announcer John Dooley will say Friday: “And they’re off!”
8 -- Richmond County: Nice tuneup in last; likes this turf course
6 -- Expecting Cash: Likely heavy favorite; just too short odds
5 -- Come on Mickey: Likely pacesetter at distance favoring speed
8 -- Titanium Girl: Stall’s charge goes out for the second time
6 -- Fifty Acres: Should have lead in race not loaded with speed
9 -- Ty’s Bandit: Desormeaux’s out to continue his hot streak
5 -- One Better: Should have no problem coming from Indiana
1 -- Gentleman Len: Proven at the level and could be overlooked
7 -- Pacific Pink: Brought $90k at auction; might be worth it
5 -- Royal Force: Knocking on the door in all previous starts
9 -- Battle On: Interesting claim first time out; showed late interest; good work over FG track; will offer some value
5 -- Legal Wager: Worked well at FG last year; now shows up in claiming race after working fast; intriguing pattern
1 -- Nikipins: Has favorable style and post for 1-mile, 70-yards
3 -- Call This Chick: Can stalk and pounce if good enough in stretch
8 -- Stewie Little: Goes for new trainer Bret Calhoun; looks tough
1 -- Danny T: Looks to get good trip on rail for late running style
2 -- Corinthians Secret: Gets slight nod in evenly matched race
7 -- Snaggedem: Won 2 of 3 and fits with these on best day
Around the track
Rosie Napravnik has retired, leaving an extremely competitive battle for top rider at the Fair Grounds this year — at least on paper. James Graham, who has finished a close second to Rosie in years past, is poised to assume top rider status, but several new faces and Fair Grounds stalwarts will make this year’s race a real battle. Richard Eramia, top rider at Louisiana Downs; Florent Geroux, an ascending Midwest rider; and Robby Albarado, a New Orleans native and seven-time leading jockey at the Fair Grounds can all win the title. ... Today’s selections made for a fast track and a fast turf.
This feature last year was a proven money burner, so buyer beware. But let’s go with No. 1 Nikipins in Race 7. Looks to sit a perfect trip and be a nice price today. Good luck.