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 — is a partner in ttegames.net an online horse racing contest site. Follow him on Twitter: @BeychokRacing.

(Picks made for fast track and on turf)

Race 1

3. Crickadee: Nice win in last and tries to get good early position for win today

4. Forgotten: Claimed by leading trainer and has the number power to win

Race 2

4. King of Spades: Horse stands out based on last two and trainer winning races

5. Czar: Winner early in meet has been laid off awhile — comes back running

Race 3

2. Rhettever: Gave good account of himself late as if just figuring out what to do

6. Cypress Cat: Troubled trip in last but managed to run a very competitive second

Race 4

6. Malibu Charlie: Comes in off a big layoff for owner/trainer Asmussen — ready

9. Midnight Blue Note: Has two wins from three starts on turf as a plus

Race 5

7. Afterimage: First-timer doesn’t have to beat much to get win here against these

8. Lulu’s Best: Hasn’t gotten any breaks with post position but has been bet well

Race 6

5. Priest N The Rabbi: Horse has gotten good of late and late kick should get the win

4. Unbridled Giant: Can upset these at a bigger price that offered in morning line

Race 7

7. Masters Degree: In-form horse found his level in last and goes first off claim today

1. Valid Pursuit: Goes first off claim as well and has the number power to win

Race 8

5. Voodoo Spell: Has won 5 of 8 at this track and comes in off a rest for the try

1A. Curlino: Recent claim was pitted against the big boys and ran well in last

Race 9

2. Lil Allie Dancer: Trainer has good record here and horse fits well in this spot

5. Tujuacagofast: Horse has some big wins in the past and went well for new barn

Race 10

7. West Coast Bias: Big run first out — freshened for top connections for the win

2. Go Stellaire: Like this one as a nice longshot play — first race was good enough

Around the track

Let’s throw the spotlight on a horse running in the sixth race: Voodoo Spell. This 6-year-old has run in the money in his past 25 races after starting his career by running out of the money in five races. He has won 14 of 30 races, and over this turf course his record is even better: Voodoo Spell has won five of eight races. What is even more remarkable is that Voodoo Spell runs well over all surfaces but excels over turf, where he has won over $140,000 of his total $212,000 earning. By all measures, Voodoo Spell is a race horse.

Best bet

Our best bet today will be in Race 8: #5, Voodoo Spell. See above for why. Good luck, and may they all come home safely.