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

5. Awesom Champ: Drops in class today bred out of Awesome Again.

1. Ole Skip Rope: Grey should improve going back to dirt in fourth start since layoff .

second race

1. Slew City Lou: Calhoun trained horse that seems to like the course taking class drop.

8. Fire Arms: Geroux aboard should improve fourth off layoff.

third race

4. Beauty’s Pioneer: Faucheux solid going dirt to turf with this kind.

5. True Flat: Should improve as shorter distance with Graham aboard.

Off turf selections: 9-8.

fourth race

5. Slick Pardoned Me: Should rebound from last start and regain form.

9. Otter Cove: Albarado aboard and showing improved form in last few.

fifth race

3. Broken Key: Coming off two wins at the level likes the course.

12. Ice Climber: Grey that can will be coming late with familiar jockey.

Off turf selections: 11-7.

sixth race

3. Vigorous Titan: Great 2015 campaign looking to get going dropping in class .

7. Almost English: Grey bought for a price should be right off lead looking for win .

seventh race

6. King Ptolemy: Maker trained out of Pioneerof the Nile will be closing late.

8. Matuszak: Sharp drops this one in class and cuts back in distance at nice price.

Off turf selections: 1-5.

eighth race

10. Over Yonder: Well bet in debut ran second with highest last race speed rating coming off sharp workout.

7. Slideruler: Fusaichi Pegasus descendant looks fit for debut under Calhoun .

  • inth race

4. Majestic Angel: Cox trained horse will be closing late off hot pace.

6. Frisky Kitten: Ramsey bred and owned well bet in debut shipping in going longer adding blinkers for Sharp.

Off turf selections: 8-9.

TENTH race

8. Ide B E Z to Njoy: Amoss/Moss connection off sharp workout third start since layoff.

9. Bad Behavior: Faucheux takes over horse that failed as favorite in last three.

Around the Track

Carnival racing weekend kicks off Saturday with live racing through Tuesday at the Fair Grounds. Looking a bit ahead though, horses are already shipping in for the Feb. 20 Risen Star Stakes, the second step on the road to the Louisiana Derby. In Equality shipped in this week from New York fresh off a third-place finish in the Jerome Stakes. He will be facing top local compeition headed by Lecomte winner Mo Tom.

Best Bet

Our best bet today will be in Race 2 — No. 1 Slew City Lou. Drops in class to lower level looking for a win having just missed in last three with solid connections. Good luck and may they all come home safely.