Recap of Friday's 7th at the Fair Grounds:
As expected, the race was taken off the turf. The pace did set up as expected, the early speed did not hold up and the winner came from off the pace. When you have a race down to a 50/50 choice, you have an 80% chance of being wrong.... My top choice based in value didn't fire, but my secondary selection (Make a Fortune) made a solid late run to win as the 2-1 favorite.
Saturday takes us east - to Gulfstream (and some better weather!)
Race 10 - 1-1/16 mi Turf - Ft. Lauderdale Stakes G2 - 4yo&up
1 Vertiformer (12-1) - runner up in the McKnight G2 at Calder in a marathon; otherwise not much else impresses here - PASS
2 Nikki's Sandcastle (5-1) - former claimer that won two open stakes over this course and has been close up over the polytrack at Keeneland in the Fayette - will need to run the race of his life to win here, but certainly will be a factor late trying to close.
3 Fifty Proof (6-1) - came back off of a long layoff last out to take a restricted stakes north of the border. G3 winner and G2 contender in the past shows a decent set of works and is likely to improve and be near the lead the entire way.
4 Dominus (3-1) - solid turf pedigree and only two turf starts, including a G2 win at Saratoga. Formidable favorite here and can fire off the shelf. Definite contender.
5 Hollinger (4-1) - Forwardly placed over the last year but "always a bridesmaid, never a bride"... did get the place in this race last year via DQ at a nice price - wouldn't be surprised if he gets up for show here.
6 Quick Wit (20-1) - Outclassed, poor recent form, and never shown dominance over the turf - PASS
7 Sky Blazer (10-1) - Has cleared the N3X condition, but has struggled at this level. He does like this surface, but he is outclassed again here. PASS.
8 Big Blue Kitten (6-1) - This former claimer was shipped overseas for a G1 at Ascot, however seems outclassed again here. PASS.
9 Mucho Mas Macho (20-1) - Outclassed and would need to make a big run late; bias here works against this one... PASS.
10 Tiz Sardonic Joe (12-1) - Just cleared the N2X condition with a mediocre closing effort against open stakes company at the Spa. Decent pedigree, but has not proven he belongs at this level. PASS.
11 Empire Builder (15-1) - Forwardly placed with decent showings in open company stakes, however is outclassed at this level and will be flat late. PASS.
MTO12 Pants on Fire (5-2) - Will Scratch.
The pace seems to set up well for #3 Fifty Proof who has proven he can take it wire to wire, duel, or press over his career. He seems to be the class of the field and did win easily in first off the layoff of over 17 months - look for an improved effort here.
Probable Plays: WP3; Ex 3,4 - 2,3,4,5,11
Confidence: 3 of 5 - Class and pace seem to be pretty well defined here
Good luck all!