With the special holiday racing cards that were run at the major tracks yesterday, the simulcasting slate is light today. Because of this, we're taking a light approach as well: we still have a few plays, but we will keep them simple. All of them are at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, which has a pretty good nine-race Thursday card with a 12:30 pm Central / 1:30 pm Eastern first post. The weather forecast for the Big Easy is wet, so we are restricting our plays to races on the main track, which we are handicapping to be wet. Let's go.
Fair Grounds, Race 5, 3:26 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, dirt, 4 & Up
There are only six entrants in this maiden race, and two of them are coupled because of common ownership, so there are only five betting interests. This, plus the fact that all six are very lightly raced, with little established form to go on, would normally make us pass the race. But there's a pedigree play in here we like quite a bit: it's 6-Wicked Statement, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old colt who is making his career debut. His wet-track pedigree numbers are off-the-charts good, but that's not all there is to like about him: he's trained by Sam David, who wins with an unbelievable 31% of horses making their first career starts, and he'll be ridden by veteran jockey Martin Pedroza, who's been around the block about a thousand times, and who is very good at getting horses to break well and avoid trouble (riders want to be in front, or at least in the clear on the outside, when the track is wet, to avoid the mud-and-water kickback from the hooves of horses in front of them). These, coupled with the fact that we do not like 7/5 morning line favorite 4-Horse Doctor in the slop, have us thinking that Wicked Statement is worth a bet at very juicy 8-1 odds. We have a hunch that if the track does indeed come up sloppy, he will be a shorter price, but we will bet him to win anyway. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 5, $40 to win on 6-Wicked Statement.
Fair Grounds, Race 7, 4:24 pm ET
Allowance, 1 Mile 70 Yards, dirt, Louisiana-breds 4 & Up
A field of seven goes here. 4-Tensas Talk would probably merit a play on a dry track, but on a wet track, he's an even stronger play: he's got much better prior form than the other runners on off tracks. We see him forwardly placed, just off the early leaders, and seizing control of the race down the long Fair Grounds stretch. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 7, $35 to win on 4-Tensas Talk.
Fair Grounds, Race 9, 5:22 pm ET
$5,000 Claiming, 5 1/2 furlongs, dirt, Louisiana-breds 4 & Up
7-May Hour is the pick here, and it's a strong, if obvious and chalky one. This Albert Stall trainee is making a pretty big class drop, from $12,5k to $5k claiming, and has an edge on speed figures, early pace (he should be either on or right off the early lead), and wet-track form. Add it all up, and the rest of the field appears to be running for second money, We'll close the day's action, both ours and that at the Fair Grounds, by trying to grind out a few dollars on a favorite; we will bet May Hour at 7-5. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 9, $50 to win on 7-May Hour.
That's all for today. Good luck at the windows.