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.

Race 1

1. Zip Her Up: Nice race on turf in last – can run on either surface.

4. Guadalupe High: Probably hoping race comes off turf – class of the bunch.

OFF TURF selections: 1-4.

Race 2

7. A Town of Attitude: Looks to turn tables on likely favorite.

3. Lady Tamer: Won right of the claim in last and might get good setup off speed.

Race 3

10. Viceral: Filly bred to be quick early and has shown speed in the mornings.

4. Fly Friendly Sky: Another first timer who has shown some talent in AM — gets G Money in from Delta to ride which is a plus.

OFF TURF: selections: 12-10

Race 4

4. Perdido Brew: Has good dirt form and trainer very solid stats .

3. Ritz Master: Good last few races just needs to repeat that performance to win at short odds.

Race 5

7. Pumpkin Rumble: Knocking heads with nice ones up North on turf.

2. Highball: Quality turf horse looks very sharp in this spot.

OFF TURF: 9-10 (long shot play if off the turf).

Race 6

1-1A. Whatthecatdrugin/Cougar Ridge: Either part of the entry looks good.

4. Banner Bill: Looked like a winner in his last race but couldn’t hold on.

Race 7

12. More Than Less: Needs to work out trip but pace setup favors.

6. High Wire Kitten: Also will be helped by race shape if on turf.

OFF TURF: 10-11.

Race 8

1. Coteau Jozi: Deserves another chance off the long layoff to prove ability.

6. Graynola: Apt name for a horse running on this dreary rainy day.

Race 9

6. Springboard: Nice race in last and ran a hidden figure while third

9. Whyruawesome: Beat top choice in last and just needs to repeat to contend.

Race 10

7. Run Hide M Girl: No reason to pick against this solid choice today — short odds.

1. False Clock: Has run some good races at the track and gets 2nd off a layoff for Lovell.

Race 11

6. Lil Sipp: Trying a longshot here getting first time blinkers after closing well in last.

1. Smokey Mary: Likely strong favorite no real knocks against.

Around the Track

Time to take stock of our picks and performance as we close out 2014 and the first month of the season. The selections can be summed up as dependable — reflected in the solid 24 per cent win rate which is OK, but not good enough. The ROI or return on investment for a two dollar win ticket on each top choice paints a much clearer picture. 173-42-36-25 — 24 per cent — $268.00 return on $346.00 invested or a 0.78 ROI for every dollar invested. Not acceptable. For the remainder of the season our goal will be to increase the ROI so our win percentage might suffer a bit.

Best Bet

Our Best Bet today will be in Race 9 — No. 6 —Springboard who ran a strong race yet came up short in the last. I expect more improvement today and a winner’s circle photo. Good luck and may they all come home safely.