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

6. Kissed by Kris: Showed improvement against tougher last out.

9. Mad Heiress: Trying the green stuff off 4-month layoff.

Second race

2. Betterwithbourbon: Faucheux trained early speed could lead to wiring field

1. Mrs Deborah: Rail post should benefit the trip.

Third race

2. Whiskey Bravo: Coming off 2 wins and getting Murrill back aboard.

6. Eden Grey’s Kitten: Geroux gets Kitten’s Joy line that has run 8 of 10 in money.

Fourth race

3. Lil Becky: Moves up in class, consistent in last three and seems to like track.

1. Sangria Wine: Eligible to improve 2nd off layoff.

Fifth race

3. Seeking Luck: Cox/Geroux dropping off claim should improve 2nd off layoff.

5. Lizzy ‘n D C: Eramia aboard horse that likes to hit the board.

Sixth race

3. Lemon Lover: Asmussen 3rd off layoff.

2. Doggerwinii: Midwest owned dropping in class, will improve 2nd off layoff.

Seventh race

11. Nanosecond: West/Catalano connection drops in class coming off sharp workout.

2. After the Goldrush: Drops in class, breeding hints this animal will like grass.

Eighth race

5. Blaze’n Prospector: Stall horse running well of late.

4. Lemon Drop Title: Stewart/Geroux connection coming off sharp workout.

Ninth race

1. Grand Isle: 2nd off layoff should be prime with Theriot aboard.

7. Mr. Bo Jingles: Eramia seems to run well with this one.

Tenth race

3. River Walk: Murrill aboard horse looking to improve.

11. Grand Fais Do Do: Dropping in class looking to break maiden in this one.

Around the track

The Feb. 20 card promises to be a doozy for those who follow 3-year-old colts and fillies on the road to the Louisiana Derby and the Fair Grounds Oaks. The Risen Star Stakes that same day looks to have an overflow field of “rising stars” in the 3-year division. Notables are Airforce, Mo Tom and Gun Runner, a horse who was on nearly even terms with those two in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. On the filly side, Stageplay, last seen winning the Silverbulletday Stakes, looks to take the same path as five out of the past 10 winners of the Kentucky Oaks by winning a stake at the Fair Grounds.

Best bet

The best bet today will be in Race 2: #2 Betterwithbourbon. The horse has failed as a favorite in its past two, but early speed should get the job done against these. Good luck, and may they all come home safely.