Let 8 Ride is back on TwinSpiresWednesday's cancellation at Delta Downs made it one day easier to get to Friday's $500 insurance round in the popular Let 8 Ride game, but landing on a winner for Thursday's race isn't any easier with a decent-sized field expected for the Louisiana-bred $5,000 claimers.
Brisnet.com is providing free Ultimate Past Performances for the Let 8 Ride promotion, and the first thing I always look at when handicapping a track I'm not as familiar with is the Ultimate summary page, which gives track bias stats such as win percentages and impact values for certain running types and post positions at the distance for the current meeting.
This is an important snapshot of the type of trip that typically wins the race. The figures for this race indicate no prevailing bias, but I think it'd be fair to say that if all other things are equal then early speed off the rail is the best trip.
New to Let 8 Ride this year is the provision that only your first $8 win wager counts toward the contest. Used to be you could advance with any successful $8 win wager (including buying the race by betting all starters to win for $8) but for this year only your first $8 win wager counts, so choose it wisely.
My pick for the first race of the first contest is #4 My Bell Boy (nobody in their right mind bets the four horse. The four is a joke, Trotter!), who fits the preferred profile as the one who figures to show some speed off the rail with the added benefit of three wins on an off track, including the only off track race showing on his PP lines.
I'm forgiving My Bell Boy's last start, which was a nonthreatening fifth as the 4-to-5 favorite against this claiming level, but he was wide after a sluggish start with a slow pace ahead of him. Things will be more honest today with a change in jockey and a slight drop in class based on facing only Louisiana breds this time.
Sea the Soldier makes sense as the favorite off his off-track win last out, but that was against cheaper, and I'll go against him stringing together a fourth solid race in two months against better and more pace. Little Dollar is drawn outside and could have enough pace to run at late, but the intangible of dropping down for such a cheap price off the layoff after a competitive 2012 against much better is enough for me to lean toward My Bell Boy.