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 off turf
8. Noisey Boy: Expect this one to be close and move to front on the turn.
1. Ole Skip Rope: Logical on the drop down and rider change on the rail.
5. Crafty’s Way: Very crafty works and a very positive trainer change.
11. Finley’sluckycharm: Horse has been burning up the track in the morning.
8. Counton Claire: Working very well at CD before coming to the FG.
On turf selections: 5-1
8. Hazy Days: Comes back off maiden voyage in less than 14 days and retains PVal.
7. Sherm’s Gold: Beaten by 17 lengths, but winner won by 16, so not that bad an effort.
16. Yockey’s Warrior: Best maiden winner all meet last year comes back for Stall.
12. Compass Stone: Dirt might be best surface, and you have to respect Stidham.
On turf selections: 1-2
2. Royal’s Nightmare: Inside position and a bit of speed to get position.
1. Wealwayshave Paris: Race over the track and inside position.
9. Moon Medal: Claimed but working well for Maker/Ramsey at Gulf and ships for this — turf only for this one.
12. Urtheoneeyelove: Cox has been on fire, and this one is new to his barn.
7. America Mon Amie: Throw out last on turf, and this one fits big time.
Off turf selections — 10-12
5. House of Sole: Might have been best in last to fellow competitor Super Saks.
3. Steel Cut: Could benefit from a serious pace duel up front to pick up pieces.
9. Granny’s Kitten: Working steadily and was thought to be very good early on.
4. Wireless Future: Always thought this one was going to be good. One more shot.
Off turf selections: 4-6
7. Money Flows: Just missed in last and has run very fast all three starts.
3. Etruscan: Big win last out and stretches out here dangerous going all the way.
2. Catfeinated: Layoff horse for good trainer also drops down to lowest level.
1. Priceless Shore: Face over the track and inside post move signal a win contender.
2. Proust: Has won three in a row and goes again as the choice.
6. Begbie: Willing to give this longshot a chance at big odds.
Around the track
Saturday’s picks were made before the Christmas holiday with little to no sense of how the weather will affect track condition. Please pay close attention to the on/off turf selections; the powers that be might decide to run the stakes races on the green and the others off the green. If the track is sloppy, then please tread lightly with these picks.
Our best bet is Race 3: Hazy Days. A horse coming back on a short rest is usually a good sign, and that is the situation with this one. Good luck, and may they all come home safely.