Piassek's Plays: Saturday Focus on Fair Grounds

Gambling
Down the stretch at Fair Grounds. (Eclipse Sportswire)

In his regular gambling blog, John Piassek presents his top picks for the upcoming weekend in horse racing, offering betting options at different budget levels. Piassek’s Plays is brought to you by Horseplayers.com, the official online qualifying site of the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). Horseplayers.com offers low-cost feeders every day and BCBC and NHC qualifiers every weekend, and it’s the only site where you can qualify for the $1 million BCBC. It’s free to sign up – click here to get information about registering and how to enter contests.

Piassek has contributed to the horse racing sites The Racing Biz and Danonymous Racing and worked at Tioga Downs, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga Race Course. He joined America’s Best Racing in January 2021.


Saturday, Jan. 22

Fair Grounds, Race 3, post time 2 p.m. ET

Television schedule

Friday, Jan. 7: 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Jan. 8: 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. on FS2; 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS1; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Jan. 9: 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. on FS2; 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS1; post time varies on TVG

#3 Pioneer of Medina: The third race on the card is a first-level allowance optional-claiming race at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. The biggest name in this seven-horse field is Stellar Tap, whose maiden victory on Aug. 7 gave trainer Steve Asmussen the all-time North American win record. Since then, he's finished unplaced in two stakes races and is making his 3-year-old debut in this spot. He has a chance but will most likely be overbet.

Pioneer of Medina ships in for Todd Pletcher off an impressive maiden win at Tampa Bay Downs. He prompted the pace and pulled away in the stretch to win impressively. He's the only one in the field who has won around two turns and is one of two in here who has never lost against winners. He should sit another great trip and draw off from the rest in the stretch. 

Strategy on a $10 Budget

$6 to win on 3

$2 exacta: 3 with 5, 6

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$15 to win on 3

$5 exacta: 3 with 5, 6 ($10 total)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$24 to win on 3

$10 exacta: 3, with 5, 6 ($20 total)

$1 trifecta: 3 with 5, 6 with 2, 5, 6, 7 ($6 total)

Fair Grounds, Race 7, post time 3:56 p.m. ET

#6 Hazy Command: A large field of 3-year-old maiden fillies will line up here. Hazy Command ran a big race last out in her second start off a brief layoff. She made a big, if slightly premature, move and took the lead in the stretch. She got caught late but held on for second and ran a career-best speed figure by a big margin. If she can keep up her form and time the move a bit better down Fair Grounds's notoriously long stretch, she has a big chance.

Strategy on a $10 Budget

$5 to win on 6

$5 exacta: 6 with 3

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$9 to win on 6

$5 exacta: 6 with 2, 3 ($10 total)

50-cent trifecta: 6 with 2, 3 with 1A, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 ($6 total)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$18 to win on 6

$10 exacta: 6 with 2,3  ($20 total)

$1 trifecta: 6 with 2,3 with 1A, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 ($12 total)

newsletter sign-up

Stay up-to-date with the best from America's Best Racing!