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.

Race 1

7. Hardwin: Coming off a layoff and training well for high percent trainer.

8. Silent Drifter: Another coming off layoff and dropping in class as a plus.

Race 2

3. Lucky Andy: Always brings his race to any racetrack he finds — fits here solidly.

1. Nautical Man: This one might take another step forward here at a big price.

Race 3

1. Letthebigshotrol: Turf course played a bit more to speed last week — this one has.

5. Sammy Mandeville: Has a turf win in past and last two on dirt were good enough.

Race 4

9. I Get Smooth: Second start and should improve for owner/trainer Proctor.

5. Hold Me Black: Has had a few chances to get the first win — none easier than today.

Race 5

9. Twinkles: New trainer here and drops a ton for this start after working well.

5. Konza Khrome: Smoother trip in last might have gotten him to the winner’s circle.

Race 6

5. Chocolate Bouquet: Giving this one another shot for Sharp off the claim.

9. Soil: Chased a runaway winner in last but held well for second and jockey change.

Race 7

1. Redesdale: Very professional win in last with some giddyup left in the tank.

6. Cash Bonus: Should like the cutback to a pure sprinting distance for Amoss.

Race 8

6. Inveniam Viam: First off claim for leading trainer Cox — could improve today.

11. Sheas Lil Shug: Another first claim for Amoss here and fits well with these.

Race 9

7. St. Merriman: Believe the cutback is going to be the winning factor for this one.

2. Grand Elation: Should be able to get good position — maybe even lead today.

Around the track

We head into the extended Mardi Gras weekend with a great card of racing slated for Friday, with racing on Monday and Tuesday. After a huge day on Friday our picks cooled off for the weekend, but we are still walking on air after having those big long shots on the selections on Friday. For the year the numbers look like this:463-107-57-57. That’s a 23 percent win rate and a .75 return on investment for top picks. We can do better than that over the next month plus for our followers.

Best bet

Our best bet Friday will be in Race 4 — No. 9 I Get Smooth. A second time starter for owner/trainer Procter should be ready to fire best effort today. Good luck and may they all come home safely.