Xpressbet writer Jeff Siegel offers his top plays for Friday with both coming at Fair Grounds.
Fair Grounds Race No. 6 (3:45 p.m. CT)
#4 Bartulia (3-1)
Was a willing third in his debut last month at Horseshoe Indianapolis in a better-than-average race for maiden special weight 3-year-olds while appearing something less than cranked up, so we’re expecting this sophomore gelding to produce a significant forward move for a barn that hits at a remarkable 30% with second-time starters. The son of Creative Cause catches a field without much speed in this middle distance affair, so we’re expecting the Brad Cox-trained sophomore to be on or near the lead throughout. He’s a fit on speed figures as it is, so with any kind of improvement he should be hard to beat while offering good wagering value at or near his morning line of 3-1.
Fair Grounds Race No. 8 (4:45 p.m. CT)
#5 Cushee (9-2)
The known element doesn’t impress, so let’s go with a well-regarded newcomer in this moderate maiden two-turn main track event for juvenile fillies. The daughter of Curlin is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner American Patriot and to two other stakes performers, and was produced by a full-sister to Dubai World Cup winner Well Armed, so she has the bloodlines to justify her yearling purchase price of $775,000. The Michael Stidham barn has solid stats with debut runners and the work tab should have her fit enough, so at 9-2 on the morning line she’s worth a play in the Win pool and in the various rolling exotics.