Monte Man winning the Heitai Stakes - Photo by Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr

Monte Man winning the Heitai Stakes – Photo by Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr

Saturday night is Louisiana Premier Night at Delta Downs, a special day of racing with ten stakes events packed into a twelve-race card that kicks off at 6:25 p.m. Eastern.

The card is naturally stacked with multi-race wagers, including rolling doubles and Pick 3s. Let’s go through the stakes races and look for some plays….

Race 2: Starlet Stakes

#1 Midnight Fantasy has won her first three starts by a combined 22 ¾ lengths, earning BRIS speed figures of 88, 82, and 89. Trained by Joe Sharp, this daughter of Midnight Lute towers over the field on paper and should be long gone on the front end. No need to get creative—I’ll single her in the multi-race wagers.

$15 double: 1 with 4

Race 3: Bon Tempts Starter Stakes

What’s not to like about #4 Our Millie? She loves Delta Downs, she’s 8-for-10 sprinting five furlongs, and she’s won her last two starts in fine fashion. There should be enough speed here to set up her late run, and trainer Ron Faucheux is winning at a 25% rate at Delta Downs. She looms as another early single on the card.

Race 4: Gentlemen Starter Stakes

#5 Greeley’s Daughter has won six straight and will be heavily favored to win a seventh. But is she really a standout? She’s been competing primarily in starter allowance races, and in terms of BRIS speed figures the restricted stakes winner #2 Just Stormin is actually faster. I’d lean toward the latter as my pick, but will skip the race for betting purposes.

Race 5: Ragin Cajun Starter Stakes

#1 Biblical Strength certainly has improved with age; the gelding opened his career by going 4-for-32, but has now won seven of his last 10 starts coming into the Ragin Cajun. He looks good on paper, but he’s facing some capable rivals on Saturday (the frequent winner #10 River Bobcat first and foremost) and I’m not sure I want to play him at a short price, especially since I don’t have strong opinions in the fourth or sixth races. If you want to get involved, maybe betting River Bobcat to win at 12-1 is the play—he did win this race last year and recently returned from a layoff with an easy win over this track and distance.

$10 to win on #10 River Bobcat

Race 6: Ladies Starter Stakes

Can anyone say “no bet?” #1 Zyanara likes this track and distance, but you can make a case for any number of these fillies and mares, so I’m tempted to just pass the race.

Race 7: Matron Stakes

It’s going to be tough to beat #1 Ours to Run, who won this race last year with a 96 BRIS speed figure. She’s won her last three starts by a combined 18 lengths (all with 94+ BRIS figures) and overcame a modest early pace to win the December 8 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint Stakes Sprint Stakes in convincing fashion. #9 Minit to Stardom and #10 Shakopee Town, second and third in that race, are logical candidates to round out the exotics again.

$10 trifecta: 1 with 9,10 with 9,10 ($20)
$5 Pick 3: 1 with 1,5,7 with 5 ($15)

Race 8: Prince Stakes

#7 Classy John is a classy colt with three wins from four starts, but he’s bred like a sprinter and there’s no guarantee that he can stretch his speed over a mile at Delta Downs. That shouldn’t be any obstacle for #1 Cafe Du Monde and #5 Jimi’s a Star, who ran 1-2 in the Louisiana Legacy Stakes over this track and distance in November. Jimi’s a Star actually finished less than a length behind Classy John in the six-furlong Louisiana Futurity in December and was an easy winner of a Delta Downs allowance race on January 19, making him an appealing alternative to the expected favorite.

$6 double: 1,5,7 with 5 ($18)
$2 Pick 3: 1,5,7 with 5 with 1,7 ($12)

Race 9: Championship Stakes

The experienced graded stakes competitor #3 Givemeaminit is 2-for-2 since rejoining Louisiana-bred company in December, but both of those wins came sprinting six furlongs and I’m not sure he really wants to run this far, even against easier competition. #4 Underpressure has no distance issues and won the Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes last time out, but he’ll share top weight of 123 pounds with Givemeaminit and they’ll be conceding seven pounds to #5 Afleet Ascent, a newcomer with a big chance to win. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Afleet Ascent is shipping in from California, where he’s placed in multiple stakes races while earning competitive BRIS speed figures. If he takes to Delta Downs, he can beat this field.

$10 to win on #5 Afleet Ascent
$10 double: 5 with 1,7 ($20)

Race 10: Distaff Stakes

#7 Remember Daisy is 5-for-6 against Louisiana-breds and has won her two starts at Delta Downs (both over this one-mile distance) by a combined 13 ½ lengths. She’d be a logical choice except for the fact that #1 Testing One Two is likewise unbeaten against Louisiana-breds and is 5-for-5 at Delta Downs, with a victory against open company in the Treasure Chest Stakes among her career highlights. I’ll use them both in the multi-race wagers.

$10 exacta: 1,7 with 1,7 ($20)
$5 double: 1,7 with 3,7 ($20)

Race 11: Sprint Stakes

#3 Monte Man won five straight stakes races against Louisiana-breds last year before coming up short against Givemeaminit and #7 Divine Bean in the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint Stakes. Monte Man might well rebound (and he won this race by a neck last year), but Divine Bean is steadily improving and will tote seven pounds less than Monte Man. He shouldn’t be overly troubled by the cutback to five furlongs, so while the money might come in for Monte Man, Divine Bean might have just as strong a chance to win.

Good luck!