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Saturday will be a good day to be bred in the state of Louisiana. With nine championship races and nearly a million dollars on the line, it will be a celebration of the best horses bred in the Bayou State. State titles are sure to be decided on a strong weekend card at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
Leading the way will be Louisiana stars Touchuponastar and Tumbarumba, who will headline a field of six entered in the Louisiana Champions Day Classic, going 9-furlongs on the main track. Without further ado, let’s get to my best bets in four of the biggest races on the interesting card.
A bonafide star in his home state, Touchuponastar looks for his second victory in the Louisiana Champions Day Classic when he tops a field of six entered in the $150,000 feature at Fair Grounds on Saturday.
A 4-year-old son of Star Guitar, the Jeff Delhomme trainee has won 9-of-12 races overall and has never finished out of the money. A dominant speed presence against fellow Louisiana breds, he romped in this race last year by nearly five lengths.
A six-time stakes winner, he has twice faced open company in recent races and finished a good second in the Grade 3 Steve Sexton Mile in Texas, and more recently defeated open stakes rivals Miles D and Five Star General in the $100,000 Delta Mile.
His chief rival will be the younger Tumbarumba A 3-year-old from the barn of Brian Lynch, he has been facing open company all year and has proven his class in Kentucky. An allowance winner at Churchill Downs and Keeneland, he scored his first stakes win in the Ellis Park Derby two starts back. He is a serious rival for Touchuponastar, but I cannot ignore the speed of the favorite. Touchuponastar is the top pick.
$50 Exacta - Touchuponastar over Tumbarumba = $50
A wide-open field of nine juvenile males are set to battle it out for early Louisiana-bred supremacy when they meet in the 6-furlong Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile. The $100,000 test will be contested on the main track on Saturday and is topped by recent stakes winner Spinning Aces.
A son of Hard Aces, he faded to third in his career debut in August but returned to win two months later by better than 14 lengths in his second lifetime start. Most recently, he proved his class by beating open company in the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs.
The favorite in the Jean Laffitte was Strong Promise, but the three-time stakes winner clearly did not favor the sloppy track. He will add blinkers on Saturday, and with a fast track likely, he could be right back in the mix as one of the horses to beat.
While nearly all of the main threats in the race like to be a part of the early pace, El Dinero is one who likes to come with a late run. The son of El Deal has won twice in four stakes tries, including a nice rallying win over the track in his latest. Given a clear pace advantage on Saturday, he is the top pick.
$20 Exacta Box - El Dinero and Spinning Aces = $40
Third in the Classic last year, Who Took the Money will take to the Fair Grounds grass this year in hopes of an even better result when he headlines a field of eight older males in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf.
The chestnut gelding is a late runner who has won ten times with 15 top-three finishes in 18 lifetime races. Although most of his wins have come on dirt, he has won three of his four starts on the turf at Fair Grounds. Most recently, the son of Street Boss just missed getting up for the win in a local stakes race last month.
Chief among his rivals on Saturday will be the Lee Thomas-trained Woods N Water. Also, a horse that is capable on dirt or turf, his record suggests that he is probably best on the grass. He finished behind Who Took the Money last time, but that was on dirt.
Before that, the son of Palace was only a head short of winning four straight races on the turf. In a race with very little early speed, he should be much more forwardly placed than his top rival early. Given that advantage and his return to his favorite surface, he will be the top pick.
$20 Win & Place - Woods N Water = $40
A G’s Charlotte will be back to defend her $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Distaff title, but she is far from a sure thing in a competitive field of eight fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track on Saturday.
First or second in five of her six races on the dirt this season, the 4-year-old daughter of Mo Tom clearly fits well with the competition but will need to turn the tables on Vale Male who got the best of her last out by one length in a stakes race at Fair Grounds. Both fillies are serious threats here.
Among their rivals on Saturday include Free Like a Girl, who has won 14-of-31 lifetime and comes in off a stakes victory sprinting, as well as Sabra Tuff, who has finished fourth in a pair of big Grade 1 races in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and the Alabama.
Another one to strongly consider is the 3-year-old Star Moment. The daughter of Star Guitar is trained by Bret Calhoun and comes in with excellent form, having won four of her last five, three of them coming in stake races. I believe she is ready to tackle her older competition here. She is the top pick.
$20 Win & Place - Star Moment = $40
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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