Big-Race Showdown: Expert Selections for Risen Star, Rachel Alexandra Stakes

For the seventh year in a row, America’s Best Racing is challenging some of the brightest minds in horse betting to come up with their top three picks for key races every weekend leading up to the 2023 Triple Crown and then continuing through the 2023 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The handicappers face off in what we like to call the “Big Race Showdown.”

The players’ picks will be posted here and a running bankroll will be kept to track their success all year long. Bankrolls will be tabulated on the basis of $2 exacta and $2 trifecta box bets of each player’s top three selections. We will also be keeping track of which player correctly selects the most winners. In the 2022 Big-Race Showdown, Mike Somich selected the most winners and highest percentage with 16 winners from 51 contest races for a 31.4% strike rate. Louis Rabaut, John Piassek, Naomi Tukker tied for second with 15 winners. Somich also led all players with exacta earnings with $663.22, edging John Piassek’s $640.02; while Spencer Luginbuhl was the leader by trifecta earnings with $981, nipping Somich who had $927.

Your players for the 2023 Big Race Showdown season are Edison Hatter (In the Money Media Analyst, Meadowlands On-Air Host), Ashley Mailloux (freelance racing analyst), Jessica Paquette (Racecaller for Parx Racing, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation), John Piassek (Communications Manager, Maryland Horse Breeders Association),  Roberto Rodriguez (El Potro Roberto, DRF en Espanol), Mike Somich (The Magic Mike Show, Somo Bombs Handicapper – The Racing Dudes), Naomi Tukker (Eclipse Award-winning Sports Broadcaster, World Horse Racing Producer),  Darwin Vizcaya (Handicapper and Host, La Trifecta from America’s Best Racing), Rowan Ward (Chartcaller at Hawthorne Race Track and a Freelance Writer), and Brian Zipse (Senior Writer for Horse Racing Nation and Host of HorseCenter).

This week’s Big Race Showdown races are: the $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes Presented by Fasig-Tipton, a prep race  Feb. 18 at Fair Grounds for the Longines Kentucky Oaks; and the Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford set for Saturday, Feb. 18 at Fair Grounds, which is the first Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve prep race to offer a total of 100 Derby qualifying points to the top five finishers. The Risen Star plus five other stakes races on Fair Grounds’ stacked Saturday card will be shown live on FanDuel TV, along with action from Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, Turfway Park, Golden Gate Fields, and many other tracks.