Brisnet Handicappers Edge Fair Grounds notes 2/5/10.

Saturday's $60,000 Black Gold S. at Fair Grounds drew only five three-year-olds to go about 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Three are making their turf debuts, including the multiple stakes-winning GRAND SLAM ANDRE (Grand Slam), who possesses a strong turf pedigree top and bottom and is out of a Royal Academy mare. Others in the same boat are COMEDERO (Posse) won the Old Hickory S. on dirt two back, while ROYAL EXPRESS (Royal Academy) exits a strong first-level allowance score in the slop. The two with turf experience are VITO FILITTO (Mutakddim), winless in five dirt attempts since taking the Minstrel S. over the Louisiana Downs sod last July, and the maiden SALUTING STORMYE (Roman Ruler)... 

 With 1,994 career wins to his credit, jockey Shaun Bridgmohan could technically reach the 2,000-win milestone Friday at Fair Grounds with a near-perfect day. Bridgmohan is scheduled to ride five mounts Friday, listed on Fifty Starlet (Fifty Stars) (1ST), Cnola (Joe's Son Joey) (2ND), La Raska (Posse) (4TH), Song of Sixpence (Unbridled's Song) (5TH) and Ocean Colors (Orientate) (6TH)...

On the Louisiana worktab

Bonapaw S. winner GRAND TRAVERSE (Pioneering), third in the F. W. Gaudin Memorial S. last out, breezed four furlongs in :52 1/5 over the sloppy track at Fair Grounds on Thursday.

FAIR GROUNDS NOTEBOOK

FEBRUARY 5, 2010

by Frank Cotolo

Another 40 races are in the books for 2010 at Fair Grounds, with resounding public success wagering on the main course. Only one day was interrupted by foul weather when on Friday the track had to be sealed from Race 4 to the end of the nine-race card. But it was the beginning of a week where favorites were identified at the highest rate of any recorded week in our notebooks this meet.

The mostly fast surface produced 45-percent winners for the public. Involved in many of those finishes were close second choices. In other words, chalk ruled the week and choked a lot of bettors swinging for the fences.

On the first day of the racing week, when six races coped with the sealed track, five on the program still went to public choices. By Saturday, all was "fast" again, as well as the public was smart, adding six choices to the week. There were four on Sunday and the week ended on Monday with three.

On the surface

Though the "best" horses were winning an impressive clip all week, 51 percent of the overall winners came from off the pace to get their victories. Not all of them showed up late from out of the clouds, but they were far enough back at one point of call to not be stalkers.

Winners close to the pace won at a 30-percent race and wire-to-wire winners only grabbed 19 percent of the wins. Some might attribute the "sloppy" intervention early in the week to demoting speed as an important element ,but a lack of firm surprise winners is a better indication that the playing field was quite level.

There were only three turf races during the week, all of Monday, and they showed no sign of bias.

Trainers

The top names dominated the four-day race week. Steve Asmussen continued his barrage of winners, adding another five to his ledger. Bret Calhoun came close with four winners and Tom Amoss had three.

Doubling were Wesley Hawley, Edward Johnston and Michelle Lovell. We saw another winner from ex-jock Ray Sibille last week.

HORSES TO WATCH

Friday (1/29)

5TH -- STRIKE HAPPY (Service Strike) showed speed and led to the half at 21-1, which is a good sign for improving, especially holding well against a closer's track.

8TH -- HANDS ON (Friendly Lover) got into a duel to the three-eighths in the afternoon's early slop.

Saturday (1/30)

1ST -- BAKUBAH (Cactus Ridge) won a heavy duel midway while on the outside, took the lead and wound up fourth at 12-1.

4TH -- WHEELING WINI (Johanesburg), a first-time starter for David Carroll, closed well with promising strides.

10TH -- LIL RICK'S GAL (Macabe) had a messy trip with altered paths.

Sunday (1/31)

3RD -- INCALZANDO (Giant's Causeway) is a bet back from this win, taking it while wide to start getting command and drawing off against claimers.

7TH -- HEY MY BABY (Malibu Wesley) dueled with a 14-1 shot, put that one away, and had speed into the stretch at 18-1.

Monday (2/1)

1ST -- JAVA HONEY (Deputy Diamond) shot from a slow start to the lead, won a duel near the drive to lead and was beaten late to hold second.

4TH -- CERTIFIEDNBONEFIED (Twilight Agenda) challenged three wide three times during the event, impressive mini-battles for a 32-1 shot.

Hot Off the Presses!!
Track Stats 2010 books are in stock. Order today

NEW! Brisnet.com Live Chat
Handicap the Fair Grounds card & chat one-on-one with our staff. Pose your questions now!

Winner's Choice
Brisnet Expert selections

SIRE STATS 2010
Over 5,000 sires and more complete synthetic track ratings

WIZARD'S full card analysis