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.

First race

2. Betterbytheminute: Seems to have a pace advantage over rivals; speed to lead.

1. Strike It Big: Should get first run on the pacesetter turning for home.

Second race

2. Deb’s Gal: Ran third at the distance in last and has enough early kick to contend.

8. Wildsham: Will be hoping for hot pace to set up closing kick late.

Third race

7. Gold Megillah: Has been really good on turf lately and should prevail over these.

3. Strike Impact: Old boy has best shot to win in long time at 11 years old.

Fourth race

5. K T’s Golden Year: These types tend to take turns beating each other so this one is it

3. Bucktown: A winner at the level comes back in a sprint and not protected.

Fifth race

3. Say Charlie: Last better than looks running against some strong horses.

2. Whyalwaysme: Why not pick a Joe Sharp horse? He wins races. This one has won two in a row.

Sixth race

4. My Katcandu: Last two are good enough to win this heat over sprinters.

8. Ole Black Magic: Consistent sort needs only to improve slightly to win.

Seventh race

7. Quiet Ry: Expected better in last. Gets one more shot as my choice today.

1. Mister Ghazi: Will show some speed from the rail and could last a long time on lead.

Eighth race

4. Big Red Charlie: Huge first out, and anything close to repeat gets the win.

5. Parchment: Has been working well for return to track after three good efforts.

Ninth race

8. Royal Song Dancer: Going for a long shot here on a horse I think has tons of quality.

7. Cardinal Girl: Love the closing kick; 2-for-2 on the turf.

11. Happy to Go: No reason this one won’t like turf, and last was a tuneup.

Tenth race

10. Miso Cute: Hard to come up with a winner in this race, so tread lightly.

8. Rosetta’s Charm: Ran 3rd this level in last and aims to better that effort.

Around the track

Saturday is one of my favorite races because it honors one of the most memorable New Orleans characters — Allen “Black Cat” Lacombe. I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Lacombe during one of my early forays to the track with James Carville, and I still remember the colorful exchanges of political news and racetrack gossip. Black Cat was a notorious bad luck gambler, but I count myself lucky that our paths crossed on a few occasions.

Best bet

The best bet was hard to find, but let’s go with the exacta in Race 9: the Black Cat Lacombe. Let’s use the 7-8-11 in an exacta box. Good luck, and may they all come home safely.