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:


Race 1

1 or 1a. Purple Parrot: Looks like a chalky beginning to me in the first race today.

5. Grand Elation: Always give the first timers a big look in the maiden claimers.

Race 2

9. Man of Strife: Trainer good off layoff and this one is faster than most.

3. U R My Last Chance: Coming off a claim and has some races that can win.

Race 3

1. Hold the Copy: Gets to run against La breds for first time and has speed and rail.

4. Mischievious Belle: Ran second last out at this level so fits here.

Race 4

9. Art Imitates Life: First race was visually impressive and closing kick helps.

8. Total Tap: Back on turf where this one looked really good winning first out.

Race 5

3. Jo Jo’s Gal: This was a big effort coming from the way outside to get the win.

1. Sharp Henny: Did not disgrace self in the stakes race in last.

Race 6

11. Jemrose: This horse should improve on the turf enough to compete at price.

1. Haniel: Looks like a nice one from the barn of last year’s leading trainer.

Race 7

4. Will Call: Makes three year old debut here after crushing foes first out.

8. St. Louie Guy: Made first start on dirt a winning one in last at Churchil.l

Race 8

10. Cleopatra’s Strike: Should get better value here after last flop on dirt.

1. Lethebigshotroll: Off for a bit but trainer’s barn is heating up as of late.

Race 9

6. Kates Dancer: Like this speedy type on the drop to easier competition.

4. Runmaker: Ran on sloppy mess of track in last but gets fast dirt today?

Around the track

The entire Fair Grounds backstretch was placed under quarantine on Thursday by the Department of Agriculture. This is a serious situation for owners and trainers who have few options for where they can run their horses, which means limited income from purse money. Hopefully, experts in the field with experience in dealing with this situation will be called upon to resolve the quarantine as quickly as possible for all the horses and horsemen involved. In the meantime, scratches are playing havoc with our selections so play the Chok’s Choices with caution.

Best bet

Our Best Bet today will be in Race 4 — No. 9 Life Imitates Art. A really nice looking winner first out who came from the clouds to win and gets good setup today. Good luck and may they all come home safely.