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

8. Butcher: Has hit board in 5 of past 6. Coming off sharp workout with much early speed.

6. Salute the L T J G: Comes in first off claim, will sit right off pace and is a player here.

Second race

2. Aqtaar: Has won 3 in a row and drops down here off claim. Can win from any spot.

3. Ultimo Trago: Drops in class off 5-month layoff but has clear back class to win here.


Third race

3. Love the Beach: Holds highest speed rating in field, comes in 2nd off a disqualification.

9. Crimson Feline: Drops in class, has hit board in 5 of 7 career races.

Fourth race

1. Stewie Little: In off claim for Moss/Amoss connection, returns to turf.

2B. First Cast: Part of other double entry, this grey will set the pace and look to roll.


Fifth race

4. I’m a Lawman: Looks to improve going back to dirt off layoff, dropping down.

5. Scarf It Down: Drops down to look to repeat an evenly level effort in last.

Sixth race

2. Grand Isle: Has hit board in 12 of 17 career races and rallied off hot pace in last to score.

7. Just too Smart: Place efforts in 4 of past 5 runs with out-front style gets bit of weight relief today versus top choice.


Seventh race

9. Lil Ella B.: Has to finish stronger than in last effort but can win in this spot.

5. Sweet Bagg O Jo: Drops down 2 classes, looks to track the pace and finish.

Eighth race

10. Whiskey Bravo: Moves up in class coming off 3 solid wins looking for a stakes win.

7. Easy Crossing: Sharp workout concern with the long layoff, but will be coming late if gets hot pace.


Ninth race

5. King Bandit: Gets familiar rider, has run well. Can win this if conserves energy level.

8. Big Red Charlie: Ran 2nd last out versus similar, will be competitive today.

Tenth race

1. Blindsided Blues: Exits key race and will figure well today with these.

9. Datamining: Just missed in last 3, will be game late for Sharp.


Around the track

The Colonel Power Stakes runs today, and the race is named after crack sprinter and handicap horse Colonel Power who, as a 3-year-old in 1975, won the Lecomte Handicap and ran second in the Louisiana Derby. The Colonel wrapped his career with a final start in 1977 at the Fair Grounds and won 22 races from just 65 starts. Today’s running is the first of the Colonel Power Overnight, but many of the country’s fastest sprinters have contested the stakes running in past years.

Best bet

Our best bet today will be in Race 3: #3 Love the Beach. Placed second through disqualification in last and won debut by 10 lengths. Claimed from Stall to Sharp and now back to Stall, this horse can run. Good luck, and may they all come home safely.