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.


6. Independent Girl: Seems to have speed to lead slow bunch.

5. Granny Grump: Has had 13 tries to win her first one — maybe today?


9. Chief Dante: Favored in many of last few starts; gets lead from outside today.

3. Bellamy Run: Some nice works among slow field; long shot.


6. Betty Mc: Been trying to get this one over the line last few but came up short.

9. Rosetta’s Charm: Back to sprinting after showing some speed in last.


2. Grand Isle: Has run two good races over FG turf this year.

9. Hail to the Nile: Will be on the lead, try to go all the way.


3. Comfort Level: Thought last was a much better race than looked and is tough in here.

1/1A. Radiant or Marveilluese: Either of these is second choice and tough coupled entry.


4. Folsum Fire: Nice comeback race and can improve for a big effort here.

5. Knockitdownhard: Beat top choice in last; likes FG; has top trainer in Amoss.


8. McGeehee’s Mercy: Price will be inflated due to last flop on dirt; serious turf talent for this one.

5. Cougar Bait: Big win in last was no fluke; can improve today at a price.


4. Saint of Saints: Last two dirt races are much better than most of these; has speed.

5. Indycott: Claim from Sharp to Amoss and repeat of last blows these away.


1. Two Step Temper: Very good last race beating third place by over 7; loves turf.

9. Another Lemon Drop: No knocks; has a win over turf and ran well in Lecomte.


6. Mobile Bay: Big effort behind nice winner and will improve off of that race.

8. Grande Basin: Always around the wire and beat top choice in last.

Around the track

The Black Gold Handicap honors one of the two horses buried in the infield at the Fair Grounds: Black Gold. (The other is the great sprinter Pan Zareta.) Black Gold won the 1924 Kentucky Derby after winning the Louisiana Derby. It was the 50th running of the Derby, and Black Gold, owned by Rosa Hoots, was placed in the Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1989. Black Gold was known as the “Indian Horse” and, after a failed career at stud, he was back at the Fair Grounds when he broke down while racing and was buried in the infield.

Best bet

Our best bet is in the Black Gold, Race 9. Let’s go with No. 1 Two Step Temper — a good last race and already has a win on the turf, with a nice price. Good luck, and may they all come home safely.