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Paul Quigley's US Racing Preview
28 Feb 2015

Stakes events are thin on the ground on Attheraces Stateside on Saturday. In fact there are only a couple, both at The Fair Grounds. They along with a quartet of allowance events make up The Weekend Stateside Preview. Both stakes at The Louisiana venue are on the turf. The first is a wide open route for locally bred older horses. The other is for three year olds and open company.

PAUL'S ANALYSIS FROM  The Fair Grounds races 4 to 9
Saturday 28 February 2015


Fair Grounds Race 4 (8.54pm)
Allowance Optional Claiming - Louisiana bred 4 year olds and upwards - 1 Mile - Turf

The race to concentrate on seems to be one at this level just over three weeks ago. Hail To The Nile (9) did the best of them, setting the pace and losing by a nose. That was a massive improvement but the form has a solid look to it. The winner came into the event in fine form and made it four wins at this meet 11 days later. The frontrunner looks the one to beat. Second time back after a fine comeback did produce a big regression in a similar scenario last spring.

Grand Isle (2) was a length behind Hail To The Nile last time. It was his best effort at the meet but he has run to a similar level at Arlington last summer. He may be the safer play and maybe the value play in this event. The four year old was only a neck in front of Lori's Darling (3) who was another who ran a career best in that allowance event. Jockey Robbie Albarado knows him well.

PAUL'S SELECTION
Grand Isle (2)

EXOTIC BETS
Reversed Exacta (2 bets): Grand Isle (2) and Hail To The Nile (9)

BET ONLINE INTO THE US POOLS
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Fair Grounds Race 5 (9.24pm)
Allowance Optional Claiming - Fillies and Mares - 4 year olds and upwards - 1 Mile 70 yards - Dirt

It is always chancy going with a closer in dirt races, especially routing. Even when there looks certain to be a speed duel, a scratch or a jockeys decision can change the race flow. That said, this allowance event should have a trio of frontrunners even if the entry's scratch down to one a piece. With that in mind, the luckless Delilahjane (5) should go well. She's been runner up in her last two starts when trying to close into soft fractions. Today could be her turn.

Last time Delilahjane split Merveilleuse (1A) and Cherishd Obsession (2) who set a slow pace between them. The winner is holding her form well. She may be tested early this time with more early zip signed on. New barn mate Radiant (1) and Comfort Level (3) both have speed. The latter only narrowly missed in a similar event at the end of January.

Missdixieactivist (2B) followed a up fine second with a poor effort. Ginger Stone (4) has an upset chance from stalk mode.

PAUL'S SELECTION
Delilahjane (5)

EXOTIC BETS
Reversed Exacta (2 bets): Merveilleuse (1A) and Delilahjane (5)
Reversed Exacta (2 bets): Comfort Level (3) and Delilahjane (5)

BET ONLINE INTO THE US POOLS
You can place single and exotic bets with the following UK bookmakers:
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Fair Grounds Race 6 (9.54pm)
Allowance Optional Claiming - Louisiana bred 4 year olds and upwards - 5 ½ Furlongs - Dirt

Mars Curiosity (6) has run a pair of fine races at this meet. A victory in open company in November was followed by a neck runner up in a similar event to this a month later. He has tactical speed and maybe crucially draws outside his likely market rival. He's proven fresh and worked a fine five furlongs at the start of the month.

Knockitdownhard (5) has held his form since being claimed at Delta Downs in November. He ran third in a stake and then narrowly prevailed under allowance conditions. The five year old is not just a bullring specialist. He has a first and a second in his only pair of starts at The Fair Grounds. His trainer Tom Amoss has been on fire at this meet.

Skip The Pinot (1A) ran a very creditable fourth in a stake at Delta Downs three weeks ago. He was four lengths behind Mars Curiosity in December. That was his first run after a lay off since August and he may not have been at his best that day. He's worth a look if running here and not in the scheduled mile turf stake half an hour later.

Red Production (3) will have a target on his back. The speedster was outfinished by a neck by Knockitdownhard over five furlongs in January.

PAUL'S SELECTION
Mars Curiosity (6)

EXOTIC BETS
Combination Exacta (6 bets): Skip The Pinot (1A), Knockitdownhard (5) and Mars Curiosity (6)

BET ONLINE INTO THE US POOLS
You can place single and exotic bets with the following UK bookmakers:
Ladbrokes | Betfair | Blue Square | William Hill | Sky Bet | Bet 365


Fair Grounds Race 7 (10.22pm)
The 35th Running of The Dixie Poker Ace - A stake for Louisiana bred 4 year olds and upwards - 1 Mile - Turf

This is a wide open stake. Benwill (9) may go off favoured, dropping in class after a decent effort in a Grade 3 at Sam Houston. Although he is a stakes winner at this level, he's been beaten by quite a few of these in the past. By contrast, the sharp Heavy On Themister (7) may be a slip under the radar. He's much improved of late winning back to back starts in races that came off the turf. He's had limited chances but has a victory on the grass. If he can show the same improvement on the surface switch, he may well go close.

Mcgehee's Mercy (8) did lose to Heavy On Themister on dirt last month. He's better on turf. He did finish behind Tiger Run (10) in a grass stake in December but this race sets up better for a stalker like him as opposed to that frontrunner. If talented sprinter runs, Cougar Bait (5) may get a perfect set up. He gave an allowance field a 10 lengths start and a beating last month.

Sharp dirt horse Beauty's Pioneer (3) is 0 from 11 on turf. He has a trio of runner up tries on the surface and is worth a look no matter what the footing. Hopeful Notion (11) looks as good as any of these but could have drawn better. The horses that Fist Full (4) beat in early February run in race 4 today.

PAUL'S SELECTION
Heavy On Themister (7)

EXOTIC BETS
Combination Exacta (12 bets): Beauty's Pioneer (3), Cougar Bait (5), Heavy On Themister (7) and Mcgehee's Mercy (8)

BET ONLINE INTO THE US POOLS
You can place single and exotic bets with the following UK bookmakers:
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Fair Grounds Race 8 (10.52pm)
Allowance Optional Claiming - 4 year olds and upwards - 1 Mile 70 yards - Dirt

Indycott (5) came back to his best when winning a starter optional claimer last time. He was claimed out of the red hot barn of Jo Sharp but new trainer Tom Amoss is winning at nearly the same clip. Interestingly, his new connections run him in a protected spot suggesting they like their new purchase. The five year old is a late runner who would be best seen with some pace to chase down. However, he managed to stay a lot closer to the early fractions under Miguel Mena last time.

Saint Of Saints (4) is the one Indycott has to catch. His last run is a toss out as it came on turf. His two previous efforts on dirt give him decent claims. He wired claimers before running third in a similar race to this one. He's especially dangerous if he shakes clear of Buggin Out (1) early on.

Teniente Coronel (7), Dad Are We Here (2) and Sea View Chico (6) filled the minor places in an allowance optional claimer last month. There was little between that trio. The last named may be the one to take out of the race as he was coming off a lay off since August.

Geothermal (3) stayed on steadily in a turf event on his return after almost 10 months away. He may be all the better form that run and won his only start on this dirt track.

PAUL'S SELECTION
Indycott (5)

EXOTIC BETS
Combination Exacta (6 bets): Saint Of Saints (4), Indycott (5) and Sea View Chico (6)

BET ONLINE INTO THE US POOLS
You can place single and exotic bets with the following UK bookmakers:
Ladbrokes | Betfair | Blue Square | William Hill | Sky Bet | Bet 365


Fair Grounds Race 9 (11.22pm)
The 57th Running of The Black Gold - A stake for 3 year olds - 7 ½ Furlongs - Turf

Bourbon Cowboy (6) might be the classiest three year old in this field. He's been placed in a trio of stakes, the latest being here in December. Connections found an allowance event to get a confidence-boosting victory at the January. This will be his turf debut. That's less of a concern than this distance. In his only try further than six and half furlongs, he faded badly. Maybe he can settle behind likely frontrunner Fly Friendly Sky (5) and get first run on the closers.

Sprinter Fly Friendly Sky (5) lost to Bourbon Cowboy before winning an allowance contest himself last month. He is bred to stay but races freely. Florent Geroux will have to settle him on the lead without using him up but at the same time not disappointing him.

If the stretch out sprinters fail to last, Another Lemon Drop (9) should be the one to take advantage. He followed a wide margin allowance with a fine fourth in a Grade 3. The 1-2 that day filled the same positions in The Grade 2 Risen Star a month later. Those races were on dirt but he broke his maiden at Keeneland on turf. He's not short of speed so may simply outfinish the pacesetters even if they set even fractions.

Fusaichi Flame (7) has been running with credit on dirt but his only victory came on the grass. Lucky Player (10) won a Grade 3 in September. He was in a hot race at Oaklawn on his seasonal debut. He's never raced on dirt but Steve Asmussen could have easily found another dirt race for him.

PAUL'S SELECTION
Another Lemon Drop (9)

EXOTIC BETS
Reversed Exacta (2 bets): Fly Friendly Sky (5) and Another Lemon Drop (9)
Reversed Exacta (2 bets): Bourbon Cowboy (6) and Another Lemon Drop (9)
Reversed Exacta (2 bets): Fusaichi Flame (7) and Another Lemon Drop (9)
Reversed Exacta (2 bets): Another Lemon Drop (9) and Lucky Player (10)

BET ONLINE INTO THE US POOLS
You can place single and exotic bets with the following UK bookmakers:
Ladbrokes | Betfair | Blue Square | William Hill | Sky Bet | Bet 365


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