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.

Picks made today for fast track and on turf.

First race

8. Neilinger: Horse ran well against this level last out looks to graduate today.

5. Lady Relaunch: Speed will help in this one coming off last out place effort.

Off turf selections: 4-5.

Second race

3. Eskenformore: Drops in class moves to a route distance with blinkers on today.

10. Nyla Girl: Has the speed to contend for early lead and looks to hold off competitors.

Off turf selections: 3-9.

Third race

4. Arkansas Martini: Will push for early lead drops down in class having run well in last three.

5. Grit: Got caught too far back in last comes back to similar company today.

Fourth race

5. Miss Cobblestone: Coming off win and has run well against tougher.

6. Rusticana: Ran second in last two versus tougher will offer respectable value here.

Fifth race

7. Flattermejim: Talented animal that can win off the pace here off 2 strong last outs.

3. Itsy Bitsy Walk: Just missed in last has a nose for the line will be one to beat.

Sixth race

2. Pink Awareness: Grey won by 7½ lengths last out coming off three-month layoff.

7. Laines Howdy Doody: Came up just short in last few but finished willingly.

Seventh race

4. Social Vow: Got caught into hot pace battle in last few looks to get it done today.

1. Timebobanna: Rail post is winning at high rate came up second in last two.

Eighth race

6. Love Thy Neighbor: Shipper looks to get back on track off long layoff and class drop.

5. Marcy: Coming off two-month layoff, but clearly can run here at decent odds if hold up.

Ninth race

7. Creative Evil: Drops down two class levels certainly horse to beat here.

2. Bad Behavior: Has battled in last four races coming up just short.

Around the Track

Those that read these notes frequently know my passion for raising awareness for thorougbred aftercare and retirement. Wednesday night Tom Amoss and Klaravich Stables claimed 8-year-old Populist Politics out of a race at Delta Downs for the sole purpose of retiring him. Pop Pol had won over $650,000 in his racing career including winning the Louisiana Futurity, Mr. Sulu Stakes and the Louisiana Legends. Populist Politics started 45 times winning 10 races and finishing second/third another 16 times, including winning his final race. Enjoy retirement Pop Pol, you earned it and thanks to Amoss and Klaravich for doing the right thing for the horse.

Best Bet

Our best bet today will be in Race 6 — No. 2 Pink Awareness. This grey is coming off three-month layoff and looks to get back to form after running well so far early in career hitting the board in four of six. Good luck and may they all come home safely.