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A CLOSER LOOK at Louisiana Downs races on 9/29
1st La. Downs
Clints Blue Ribbon
While he has had a number of chances his latest was his best race and could lead to better this time; Carson Dealer might get an even better trip alone on the lead which could complicate his chances; if top and bottom can run back to their latest they should run one two but there are others who could come between them; this is horse racing and nothing is ever that simple.
There are a couple of the races at Houston that could give him a shot; hard to say after the way he has performed at this meet that he will run to those but there is always the chance if you are looking for an eligible surprise.
Ran a couple of times in the summer in his first races since the fall and they were not that bad placing him in the top half of the field on each occasion; he has had some additional time to regroup and has a couple of modest works; question is will he now run back to those or will he improve or is there something amiss; a possibility if it is either of the first two options.
His race before the layoff would place him squarely in the mix and he certainly ran as if he needed his latest and he has not run well fresh recently either; maybe the drop is a signal that he is ready to run his race today; he is possible too if he does run close to his best.
Looks to hold a big edge as early speed always does in a small field; while it is possible that he will bounce off his last tough beat he is lightly race and being the lone speed should help his chances; he is not one we would elect to play against though if the price is too short he does become a risky play -just in case he bounces.
2nd La. Downs
Ran well in his debut after a slow start and he will have to be at his best to get away better leaving from the inside; hard to know exactly what the pace match up will be with the firsters but he could improve and should be live this time with a better start even as he steps up in company.
Sire gets his fair share of debut winners and the dam has multiple winners and a debut winner who went on to win stake -Red Tazz- and she also won her first start; has been working up to the race though there is little speed indicated and he will be a bit of a surprise off that angle; if the money shows and he looks the part, well then think again.
Sire does well in the debut department and the dam has produced a few winners though she herself was unraced; has a couple of nice works and has been to the gate recently too; he could be troublesome if expectations are high and that will show up on the tote; he is a possibility though there are a couple who might be tough to beat.
Dam won a couple of routes and the sire, while not strong in the debut category has had his first crop of 2's all win, often going longer; has four works this month but whether he can show enough speed to overcome his pedigree is the question of the minute; like others more but will tab him for later.
Has had his share of chances this year and last and he has shown some tactical speed and been in position; his best recent race was on grass and for a tag and that leaves him as suspect for today.
Second career start was okay but he tailed off in his next; he shows no interim work and will need to do better than he that last if he is to menace these; hard to know with no works and the poor last race; would be possible if he ran back to his best.
Debuted unsuccessfully in the mud and did not finish; he is back on short rest but would be wary of him today based on what he did not do last time.
Rayo De Plata
Has made steady progress in each of his starts and with continued progress he will be one of the ones to catch in here; it will take one of the others to run an improved race if he runs to his last.
Goes turf to dirt and if the improvement is due in part to the Lasix and the racing experience he will be one of the contenders in this match up as he shortens up after a speed try last time; he has breezed to sharpen up too; contender.
3rd La. Downs
Skip a Turn
Didn't finish too well in her previous state-bred efforts here between layoffs; four year old worked well here on the 15th; hasn't had much luck breaking from the inside post; will have to have something left for a productive effort today.
Belek filly hasn't put out a bad effort in her first four Louisiana Downs starts; closed well at odds over 10-1 last time out around this level; should prove well with Melancon back in the irons today; money finish.
Bold Pac Man filly finished well in her last two state-bred maiden claiming efforts on the slop at Evangeline Downs; she's finished in the money in 5-of-9 lifetime starts, and she seems to like this distance; gets Hernandez aboard for her Louisiana Downs debut; check to tote for value in the exotics.
Wasn't a factor breaking from the outside here last time out against open $10K maiden claimers; fits better in Louisiana-restricted company and should improve off her last dull effort; should finish in the better half of these.
Keep Thgrey Going
Gray filly has been beaten by double-digit lengths at double-digit odds in her first three Louisiana Downs main track efforts; posted a swift 3/8s work here three days back, but she'll have to improve; early factor.
Split the field last time out behind Miss Dennette and Dottie's Gamble; Zuppardo's Love filly ran her best effort here three starts back around this level; faced tougher company in her last two starts at this distance; best effort yields minor award.
Bay filly is the first foal out of her Gone West mare, who was 0-for-3 lifetime as a racehorse; this filly broke well from the outside in her last around this level; draws a better post today and gets the shorter distance; should move forward off of her last; money finish.
F P Roman Princess
Proper Challenge filly wasn't too interested in sprinting against state-bred $15K maiden claimers before the layoff; four year old scored her only money finish six starts back against state-bred $10K maiden claimers at EvD; will have to surprise.
Didn't like the slop according to her last-place finish and 19+ length defeat last time out at EvD; closed well two starts back at 40-1 going 5/8s; gets Leblanc aboard for her Louisiana Downs debut; wouldn't benefit from a wet track.
Held on well in her last against open $17,500 maidens at EvD; she's finished in the money three out of her last four starts, and she worked well since her last; will have to hold on late for a piece of it.
Excavate filly makes her first start off of the eight month layoff; first dam was 5 for 8 lifetime as a racehorse, and she has produced five winners; posted the nice half-mile gate work at EvD on 8/29/01; should appreciate the drop; check post parade for more clues.
Couldn't hold on late as the chalk last time out behind Miss Dennette, Dottie's Gamble, and Fanciwith; she's a half sister to multiple stakes winner Vilaxy (7 wins-$364K); likes this distance; will have to overcome her outside post; major pace factor.
4th La. Downs
Big Two Four Three
Helped set the plate for Buzzard Road by wearing down Hale the Bold & Nippa Way; is looking at identical scenario with another rail trip, this time pressured by pacesetting outside duo; just don't believe colt has enough gas when it counts in the last seventy yards; looking at another finish on the margins once more.
Even though Texas Prince drew off in a laugher, Tell a Calm still had daylight on this gelding at the end of that dash, and had put in the pace work while this 5yo languished in mid-pack; inside sneak attack on the stretchout at the Expense of that foe and Bodega North seems unlikely; going with others.
The stretchout hasn't been his game in the past; Rennie is McKeever's main pilot - but look who climbs aboard; leading rider a likely candidate to get 5yo to sustain the extra furlong and change; gelding needs to reproduce bang-up run over Cajuns plus a bit more; interest depends on the price.
Grinding bid wore down softer two prior; Nippa Way had every right to go on and faltered, leaving this guy in charge; can forgive the cut-back regression last time against old hickory King and Hart; 6yo just might rebound with a flourish; pilot's win percentage a concern; tricky call.
Sharp nickel tag form can't be overlooked; Melancon for Asmussen 26-5-2-6 through 9/23; that's 50 percent ITM; will Tell a Calm, Polar and Big Two Four Three all combine to come back to him in mid-stretch?; strong exotics contender, but second-choice might be slim on value for all.
Claiming warrior always there; but rarely puts repeat together; admittedly, conditions suit - forced to move into nw2/5m is an insignificant shift; but Riverside Town tuff at this level, Tell a Calm is a wild card, and Buzzard Road & Sarepta Sauce can both rebound; won't be 3-1 this time, you'd better box that exacta.
Best days behind?; appears to be on the verge of needing second-circuit placement for confidence builder; plenty eligible for N1y, chasing N2y instead quite a disadvantage sporting such soft form; would be a shocker to turn the tables on Buzzard Road.
Maybe regressed a bit in local return last time after EvD peak effort straight off summer freshener; but hoss has never particularly cared for this oval anyway; Faul takes the last shot against uncertain pace scenario; iffy.
Finally stirred to life after summer break in the EvD claiming basement a month ago; tried theft in LaD return, but lost interest once Bodega North headed him; must break on top to beat Tell a Calm to the crossover for the first turn - a recipe for suicide duel benefiting neither; but can't completely eliminate from tri kicker.
Tell a Calm
Took better to mid-stretch going 6f last time; must balance stretchout speed capabilities versus ability to get the full mile & seventy; Guillory is the in-the-money-man, 42 percent; if Polar & Big Two Four Three yield early, watch out; expect win-or-bust bid, but improving 5yo merits concern.
5th La. Downs
Could use a little more of his name in action; picked up some stragglers on the stretchout at 55-1 before getting 41-day break; but hardly amounts to convincing wake-up call here in seasonal return; at least three here to keep him off the board; wait one more.
Had hinted at maybe coming around at 4 when nipping Lone Star tri kicker with Texans in May; did well to settle last time, followed blowout winner Sauce Pecan through turn trouble to nab distant second; now the big question - does that translate into big bid on the stretchout?; maybe; exotics player.
Could sophomore have missed his best chance at this level three prior?; hanging habit hard to back when favored last five of six; colt is almost tooo patient; that may leave the door open for Wild Chill or even Ground Tracker; could be backwheel candidate.
Jumpin Jack Flash
Pinched out of well-beaten 7th for 12.5k?; wheels back with same nine days later; but losing streak likely stretches to 17 today; would have to wait for smaller Okie-bred for best chance; later.
How will 3yo fare forced into pacesetter's role on the stretchout; flat-footed bunch could give Jiminez a gift lead; colt ha s plenty of pedigree to get the extra turn; must repel Wild Chill & Evasive Decision, but once clear, watch out; may never look back.
Was live on the drop and merely missed the nod; chance to avenge the loss against inconsistent bunch; Bourque must move at the right moment to put Ground Tracker away and hold Evasive Decision safe; won't be 6-1 again, but it could be diploma day; the main threat.
Tracking bid behind Wild Chill a decent wake-up call; but that foe alsolikely four lengths better right now; chances would depend on inheriting the lead from Ground Tracker before 'Chill gets there - a slight stretch; but won't eliminate 3yo from tri/super consideration.
On the one hand, unlike many maiden lifers in here, at least colt hasn't done anything wrong twice yet; and he picks up the meet's no. 2 pilot in Lovato; on the other hand, even with an alert break, 3yo sports no clear signal he's ready to beat these; for pure contrarians only.
Form capitulated in SanAn after mild Iowa form failed to progress; sire loved this oval, but local bow in July against similar was a forgettable dud; pass.
Mr Quick Quack
Would have wanted an on-the-board finish at Evangeline before getting excited about any kind of chance here to upset these; sophomore seems destined to split the pack; will wait for another Acadia spot first.
Just Forty Five
No disgrace splitting special weight turfers last time; but you Just can't win from this far out around two turns; price slice in Aug. was nice; but reproducing that effort without the gate speed to cross over could prove a chore; has to settle for the margins today.
Inconsistent crew where the main players are mostly career maidens holds the door open for top pilot on 4yo stretching out for the first time; through 9/23, LeBlanc 18-4-2-5 for Schmidt; who added sharp blowout two weeks ago; yet posts 11 & 12 are a combined 0 for 12 around two turns; cautionary note.
6th La. Downs
By a stallion who placed at 4 and who has had a limited amount of starters from five crops; dam was a winner of $16k, and from six foals to race she has produced six of the same, her best being No Native, a stakes-placed winner of $186k.
By a stakes winner of 4 races and $134k who rates below average as a debut sire; dam is a winning half-sister to the quick Fasty And Nasty, a stakes winner of $112k, and from two foals to race she has one winner, the stakes-placed E. Cee Mister($36k).
Debuted in the slop, and managed to run a distant fourth; she has worked back sharp since that race, and figures to move forward in her second career out; note her dam produced stakes winners Tarage($162k) and Chartreuse($92k), as well as the dam of Manistique($1.3mm); win candidate.
Must respect filly for her consistent form; she has run third in all three of her career starts and even charted new territory in her most recent out when she raced around two turns on turf; concern is that she never seems to have enough punch late, but perhaps backing up in distance will help her cause; win candidate.
Did not make much of an impact in her debut, and she has been given some time to regroup from that race; final work for her return was a sharp one, so looking for her to be in the race earlier than she was last out; she also stands to improve with the experience of a race under her belt, but still, others seem more probable for the win.
East Coast shipper did not make an impact in her first local start last out and there is a chance she did not handle the wet going that afternoon as the last time she ran in the slop she was beaten in double digits; shows a sharp work since that race, and with a flashback to her best form she can graduate.
By a Grade 2 winner of $620k who rates above average as a debut sire; dam is a half-sister to six winners, and from two foals to race she has produced two winners, her best being O.K. Baby O.K.($33k).
Most experienced runner in the field returns to the races following a near five month vacation; she shows a sharp four furlong work for her return, and like that for her comeback she is stepped up in class, perhaps a sign that she is on her game right now; dangerous with flashback to her best form.
Leading rider LeBlanc reunites with runner, who he guided to a promising second-place finish in her debut; she stepped up in class last out and was not as effective against steeper, but with a nice work since, as well as more racing experience, perhaps she can recapture her best form; minor award.
7th La. Downs
Lost 26 times before he finally won, then won three out of five before reverting to his old ways of getting close without winning; dropped to this claiming level for his last start and finished a good 3rd at a slightly shorter distance; was beaten two lengths by Humble Fourteen in that race and faces that foe again today; breaks from the rail, as he did in his last, and his last two speed figures are good enough to put him close at the wire.
Was beaten less than four lengths by this kind on the turf in his last start and hasn't raced well on that surface in the past; he finished 2nd vs. $5K claimers at this distance in his previous start, and his speed figure in that race wasn't good enough to put him in the picture today; won 11 of 66 starts in his career, but only one of 19 in the last two years; usually closes well and could pass some tired horses in the stretch.
Is making his first start of the year and didn't hit the board in six races last year; wasn't close vs. this kind last year and he shows just two works for his return; there is very little to like, but it may be worth noting that Curt Borque is taking the mount; went off at 15-1 or higher in his last nine starts and should be a very big price in this spot.
Show Your Temper
Closed from far back to finish 5th vs. $12.5K claimers in his last start and beat $10K N3L rivals going away on a muddy track in his previous outing; best race could put him close, and a muddy track would surely help his chances, but there doesn't appear to be a lot of early speed in this race, and he may need a fast pace to make his late run effective; might be worth putting on the bottom of some trifecta tickets.
Was well-beaten by $7.5K claimers in his last three starts at EvD and lost by almost 12 lengths to this kind in his previous outing at FG; appears to be overmatched in this spot, and he is another that has very little early speed; woke up at FG last Dec. and finished a close 2nd at 44-1; may be ready to run another improved race today, but it would be a real shocker if he should upset this field.
Down and Out
Beat $5K claimers very impressively in his last start and earned the top last-race speed figure in this field; led from wire to wire to win and that running style should do well in this field, where he could get a relatively uncontested lead if Dwight's Friend doesn't go with him early; switched to the leading rider for last and that rider is back aboard today; will probably be a short price, despite the jump in class, and looks like strictly the one to catch.
Closed well to beat a similar field in his last start despite racing six-wide around the turn and into the stretch; earned a speed figure a bit lower than that of Down and Out in that win, but he lost a lot of ground and could move up a few lengths in this spot; usually comes from far back and will probably be moving best in the stretch; should be hard to beat if they don't slow the early pace down too much.
Has beaten much better and was once a dedicated frontrunner, but he is dropping down the claiming ladder and has been coming from just off the pace recently; showed little vs. $15K claimers in his last, but beat that kind at LS four races back and finished 2nd to better in his first start at this meet; probably holds the key to this race; if he runs with Down and Out early, he or a closer could win, but if he doesn't, that one will probably lead all the way.
Bound to Run
Finished a good 3rd at this claiming level on the turf in his last start and posted a competitive speed figure; he posted even higher figures vs. better in his previous two races, also on grass; didn't win or run 2nd in 11 turf races and won four of 17 on dirt and one of three at LaD so, after six outs on grass, the switch to the main track could move him up; has enough speed to stay close early, but the outside post could hurt his chances.
8th La. Downs
Came off a six week layoff in August with his mind on business as he has thrown three good ones in a row; concentrating now on sprinting after several route tries and it has paid off; slight class drop from last non three try and he looks like one of the ones to beat.
Back-to-back wins at about this claiming price back at the first of the year then connections got a little ambitious; tag price cut in half from most recent although do not like the six weeks between starts; published work between outs would ease concern.
Another taking a dramatic class dip and it comes only one race removed for the non two win for the quarter; did break his maiden for 10k so connections have been this low before; it has also been some time since he has been out although he does have that steady half mile move since.
Tepid rally last time while failing to put much of a dent in the outcome in the late going; he is another who has spent some time on the sidelines although Asmussen has kept him busy in the mornings; better when he lays just off a moderate pace and maybe the leaders will not go as fast early as last time.
Contender here as he finished on equal terms with the horse on the rail as both just missed; catches a group without much early lick so he will likely help control the early tempo once again; similar price in last three and 4-1 would be a fair value here.
Key To The City
Just the two sprints in the last eleven months and neither one was very good; last two routes are dismal as well and there is a lot more attractive form to choose from; Lovato just about the only redeeming angle as he piloted him to one of his better efforts this year back in July.
Steady enough sort in his last four or five starts but this will be a considerably sterner test as this is a tougher than usual cast for this claiming price; likes to come from out of the clouds and am also concerned about the lack of a legit early pace; possible he gets up for a share.
Digging For Gold
Well-traveled sophomore who will be starting at his fifth different track this year; rather inconsistent sort but he has had his moments; ordinarily this would be an easier spot for this claiming price than that last Kentucky start but not this group; will wait.
Already entered a couple of times at the meeting but has yet to start; will no doubt be fresh and he had enough quickness early in his career to be a pace factor at least; not a whole lot to go on since he has just the one mandatory published work as he as been training off-track; too many questions.
9th La. Downs
Caught a pretty good one in his first two at Prairie, including a stakes try where he finished a solid third; big disappointment in first local start then made amends when he avoided problems at the gate which plagued him in local bow; not much of an impact when he returned to the ranks of winners and think a minor award might be his best scenario again today.
Proud And Steady
Norman has made a habit of sweeping the first two positions in these juvenile stakes here this year and appears to be in a pretty good position to do it again; this one not as accomplished as his entrymate but he has not done much wrong in his short career; one-two punch from leading barn looks very salty.
Would be odds-on by himself and with his still-developing entrymate, the price gets shorter still; race in Pioneer Norman attributes to a bit of a cough and he sure was over it in the Minstrel; sub :22 opening quarter puts him in front by daylight once again and it is his race to win or lose.
Finished five lengths behind Proud and Steady in that last maiden race as he cleared early and tired; he will really have to work to keep up with Tricky today and if he does, think it will takes its toll; not much in here to choose from an exacta standpoint, but if the entry runs one-two, he might last long enough to complete the gimmick.
Everybody in here gets a check if they finish so this is actually not a bad spot to make a debut in; Ney enjoying a solid meeting with much of his success coming with young horses; nice pedigree and he has been drawing some attention in the mornings; not sure he can compete with the entry, but exacta involvement a distinct possibility.
Have to believe he is a lot better than the one start shows when he caught a sloppy track and was very tardy out of the gate; not alone as he did draw a pretty good amount of support at the windows; finished some 13 lengths behind Proud and Steady that day and think he narrows that gap considerably.
10th La. Downs
Showed vastly improved early foot in third career start then caved in when displaced turning for home; gets fourth different rider in as many starts today as Ziesing will try and save some horse for late; third start back off the layoff could signal a peak effort.
Barn looked like they had to play catch up with him with just the two works then a race; showed some speed in that coming out party before tiring down the lane; should be tighter for this and think he runs better.
Return not too bad as like Solar, he simply looked like he got tired down the stretch; leading rider keeps the mount and he is another who looks like he has some room to improve.
First timer picked a realistic spot to debut as there are not any world beaters present; steady if unspectacular string of works including a pretty nice gate move earlier in the week; keep an eye on tote.
Short, long, turf or dirt, he just can't seem to carry his speed to the wire; held on a little better last time as he descended to the lowest level of his career; public sometimes cannot seem to get enough of these professional maidens and have a feeling he might be overplayed.
Run Randy Run
Useful rally when he came off the sidelines after five months away as he was coming late after the leaders went rather slow early; looks like he will have more pace to work with today and with the benefit of the one start back, looks well suited for any kind of trifecta ticket you want to put together.
Best career effort came in the slop in March so most recent a little troubling as he gave way after making the early lead; Lovato takes off which is not encouraging although he is obligated to riding for Norman; might last for a small share at today's shorter distance.
Very unenviable record of late as he has been beaten at odds-on in his last three; great exacta candidate as he has been the bridesmaid five times in a row; no doubt will be the public's choice again today although you would think they get the idea.
A very distant third two back while Conferee was losing the photo; dreadful performance off that effort when facing the same level of competition; does get Jacinto back but little else to get exited about.
Unable to duplicate that solid effort two back and do not know why as the early pace was actually considerably softer; part might have been the four wide trip but he still should have stuck around better; tough call for a rebound.
Blinkers go on after he showed some promise in most recent when dropped way down; did not draw very well for his speed from way out here as there looks like there are at least two who are as quick as he is; work between starts not too bad over a drying out strip so maybe today is the day.
Ducks White Boots
Texas invader has poor looking paper to say the least as he has lost his last three by a combined 130 lengths while facing less than he is in against today; will likely approach 100-1 on tote and have to believe he runs to his price once again.