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.
3. Punch Express: Taking a flyer on this one to go gate to wire.
1. Sir Tiz: Has enough speed to keep close and take over — good break important.
8. Wilsperfectsuccess: Taking a long shot here on top so play accordingly — speed to clear this field.
5. Gaslamp: Takes the drop down from “can’t buy me” to “I’m for sale.”
1. Hetai: Amoss one of the best bringing horses back from layoffs.
3. Skip the Pinot: Could upset if top choice falters at a nice price.
9. Cupids Hit: Has a solid record on turf and the right running style for this distance.
1. Whisky Bravo: Will be closing stoutly at the finish.
12. Landing Eagle: Think this one has some run despite mediocre first out.
4. Extra Credit: Trainer Cox very good with second-time starters and attracts Geroux.
9. Four Leaf Chief: Super Derby entrant finds softer and has a turf win on record.
2. Beauty’s Pioneer: Freshened and coming second off a layoff.
4. Abundant Flurry: Went out to fast pace lead in last — improves today.
1. Sophieshardtocatch: Been fast at three different tracks in prep for first start.
2. Treaty Oak: Stall’s horses usually come out running after layoff — likes the FG grass.
4. Zubi Zubi Zu: Solid performer will appreciate the distance.
1a. Shesthewinner: Nothing fluky except the 50-1 price of this one’s last win.
4. Midnight on Oconee: The Cowboy with a well-bred filly — could be a nice one.
5. So Happy: First timer from the Mouton barn working well for this heat.
4. Phil Up Da Bank: Going turf to dirt and might be better suited on the dirt.
Around the track
Good competitive card presented today, and we will be watching the turf closely to try and ascertain whether any bias exists favoring closers or early speed. The same is true with the dirt course, and we are keeping our eye on certain trainers who have a history of starting hot or cold in the coming weeks.
Our best bet today will be in Race 6, the No. 9: Four Leaf Chief. A highly thought of horse over the summer, good enough to enter in the Super Derby, he comes back in a much softer spot here and should be very competitive. Good luck, and may they all come home safely.