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 for fast track and on turf

First race

1. Chapter and Verse: Jones goes back to leading meet rider Geroux with horse for course.

5. Forest Elf: Ramsey bred horse dropping off claim and last out win

Second race

2. Jazzy Rebel: Eramia has taken a liking and Leggio keeps aboard.

6. Sir Genghis: Albarado jumps aboard horse that should sit right off the lead.

Third race

1. Taprize: Grey first-timer out of Tapit coming off sharp workout from the rail.

8. Sonoma Crush: Other first-timer Asmussen entry getting Geroux off sharp workout.

Fourth race

8. Modify: Paid hefty price for horse, and Asmussen might have one here.

1. Stradivarius: Stall horse came close last out; well bet in debut gets rail post.

Fifth race

3. International Star: Ramsey/Maker horse undefeated at Fair Grounds. Fit and ready to run.

4. Eagle: Eight of 10 career board hitter will be coming from right off pace.

Sixth race

10. Hammers Terror: Maker gets Javier dropping in class off sharp workout.

4. The Imposter: Ramsey/Sharp grey coming off two wins shipping in stepping up at price.

Off turf selections: 15-14

Seventh race

1. Cinco Charlie: 11 of 13 hit board. Asmussen/Geroux connection off sharp workout.

6. Clearly Now: Faucheux million dollar earner coming off great last out.

Eighth race

10. Notte d’Oro: Clement/Leparoux on grass shipping in a solid horse.

9. Cash Control: Switches back to turf coming off three wins in last four.

Off turf selections: 9-8

Ninth race

8. Stageplay: Asmussen/Geroux again today with consistent racing grey.

9. Royal Obsession: Asmussen grey out of Tapit paid premium for horse gets Johnny V.

Tenth race

6. Chocolate Ride: Geroux aboard a sweet horse that’s 6-for-6 on board at track.

9. String King: Horse can improve third off layoff and is a million-dollar earner.

Off turf selections: 7-3

Eleventh race

2. Mo Tom: Benson/Amoss off Lecomte win looking to get one back on Airoforce for the hometown contingency. Will be huge home crowd favorite.

6. Gun Runner: Asmussen/Geroux common theme on the card off sharp workout, which is good indicator after faltering in last out after leading into stretch run.

Twelfth race

7. Brave Aaron: Horse named for one of the diamond’s all-time greats in an open field.

15. Toughjudgement: If gets in off also-eligible list, will be competitive here.

Around the track

Racing fans will come from all over the Gulf South to be witness to some top-notch racing. From owners, trainers, jockeys, handicappers and horses, there will be plenty of talent on display in the stakes races. Best of luck to all runners and connections.

Best bet

Our best bet today will be in Race 5: #3 International Star. This year’s Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap features a solid field, and the Ramsey/Maker connection looks to have this horse back in shape and primed to stay undefeated at the track, having already won the Louisiana Stakes, the Lecomte, the Risen Star and the Louisiana Derby. Good luck, and may they all come home safely.