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. Grame Bay: Nice comeback race and could get overlooked.
2. Look at Me: Good winning race early in the meet and gets class relief.
3. Armature: Ran well in last but faced much tougher foes.
7. Peace Offering: Dropping down in class to lowest level of career helps.
7. Tony Winner: Has run 16 times but 17th time might be charm for first win.
9. Royals Nightmare: Second time off layoff and showed some interest going longer.
2. Gumdrop: Should get a good spot and early position in pace lacking race.
1. Perfect Step: Might be sent to front from rail today with inside speed.
3. Battle On: Has run his best going short on the dirt back there today.
4. Run with Honor: The clear favorite on a huge drop down in class.
6. Half Fast Rose: Good effort first out and should improve today for win.
7. Kaskiida: Has nice works coming into this first start for Johnston.
8. You’ve Got a Friend: Good race going a mile and retains Graham.
4. CR Knight: Racing for the fifth time this meet and always around the wire.
7. Five Green Stars: Second off a layoff after showing promise this fall.
2. MCGeehees Mercy: Competing against much better in the past — sharp.
1. My Smooth Talker: Gets the rail in rematch with some of these foes.
4. Zantastical: Expect much better effort for this one today at good odds.
Around the Track
A couple of the runners in the Lecomte Stakes got good marks from their trainers post-race. War Story, the second-place finisher, is doing well and still on track for the Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 21. And, pre-race favorite Eagle also came out of the race well and trainer Neil Howard indicates Eagle will stay on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with his planned next start in the Risen Star as well. Good to hear.
Our best bet today will be in Race 8 — No. 7, Five Green Stars. I think this one has some talent and needed his last race for fitness, but should be a good price today. Good luck and may they all come home safely.