Churchill Downs: September 15, 2017, Opening day, By Trent Ledbetter

Churchill Picks 9/15
Race 1
Let’s start off the Churchill Fall Meet with a price. I like the 1 here Tickety Boo and she is 6/1 on the Morning Line. Last time out she ran great at this distance and gets the same jockey here in Jack Gilligan. The 6 Myositis Mystique and 5 Salute the Warrior are both coming off weak efforts. I like the 6 slightly more due to her last effort being on the turf and switching back here. I’ll play an exacta 1 with 5,6 as well as the 1 to W/P.

Race 2
In the second race I like the 2 Diamond Delight. She hasn’t raced in nearly a year, but has been showing good works throughout the summer and who doesn’t like Corey Lanerie at Churchill. The 3 His Royal Majesty has been steadily improving and drops in class here. She could be gaining when they hit the wire. I’ll play an exacta of favorites here 2,3

Race 3
The third race is a tough one that I feel has a few horses who can runaway with their best effort. The 4 Albano gets a much needed class drop and is running 3rd off the layoff. He ran his best speed figure at this distance and a repeat of that effort will win it here. The 1, 3, and 6 can all contend with a good effort and I’ll throw them underneath the 4 in my exacta as well as playing the 4 to W/P.

Race 4
Race 4 is a 50,000 Maiden Claimer featuring a hand full of first time starters. I went with experience here and look for the 1 United Patriot or 3 Shakedown to win even though they come in to this one off layoffs. But I’ll also throw in the 8 B Dubya. Her breeding suggests she can deliver here and her Dam Misty American has produced many winners. If she can overcome the outside post I like her to come in the money. I’ll play an exacta box 1,3,8

Race 5
This 6 furlong $5,000 Claimer features two horses I like. The 2 Dingiada comes off a great race at Belterra and gets Florent Geroux here. The famous Zayat Stables have the 4 Leanne N Susan and she drops in class after a June win at Churchill. She comes off a long layoff, but should come through in this field. I’ll play an exacta box 2,4

Race 6
Race 6 is another Maiden race. The 4 Dancing gets a major class drop and comes in off a great workout at Saratoga. Ridden by Julien Leparoux and trained by Mark Casse who looks to rebound after a rough this horse has its fair share of questions. But so do many in this field. Also to note here the Churchill Racing Club’s Party Club trained by D Wayne Lukas breaks from the 10th position and tries a route for the first time. A majority of these horses are attempting routes for the first time and I’ll play it safe and go with the morning line favorite Dancing. But if you have a horse you like here, go for it, this field feels wide open.

Race 7
The 7th race features the first Turf race of the Fall Meet. The 5 Lovin Empire owned by Ramsey Farm is coming in off a two-month layoff. The sight of Julien Leparoux and the red Ramsey R winning on the Churchill Turf is all too common for me to look elsewhere. Although the 7 Aircraft Carrier looks to contend in this field. I’ll throw in the couple 1 entries, and the 4 Spice Drop and play an exacta 5,7/1,4,5,7.
I’ll also play a Pick 4 ticket: 5,7/6,8/4/5,11,12,13

Race 8
The 8th is an optional claimer for $62,500. The last time the 6 Improv ran at Churchill she was second by a neck in the Grade 3 Matron. She and the 8 Stonetacular are the deserving co-favorites here. Look for these two to battle it out and for either to come out on top. I’ll throw both into my Pick 4 and play them in an exacta.

Race 9
The 9th is an allowance going 7 furlongs. The 2 Attribute and 4 Behavioral Bliss both come into this one off big Maiden wins. The 4 overcame a bumped start and although he loses Castellano I think he still has what it takes with Miguel Mena aboard. I’ll single him here and play him to W/P

Race 10
The last race of the day is a 6 furlong claimer. If the 13 draws in I think he overcomes the outside post and runs away with this one. However if he doesn’t I’m going with my biggest price of the day. The 5 Flatter the Queen ran his best race at Churchill and drops in class here. Coming in off a layoff, but he should be up near the lead with a clean break. If he gets on the lead I don’t see anyone catching him here. I’ll play the 5 to W/P and I’ll go deep in the Pick 4 with 5,11,12,13.

Meet Notes
Although it’s a relatively short meet look to see the combination of Corey Lanerie and Brad Cox up near the winners circle many times throughout. It’ll be interesting to see how Mark Casse responds to a disappointing Saratoga meet and also how the usual crowd of Dale Romans, Asmussen, Walsh, Maker, and Wilkes do. Overall enjoy it while it’s here because it’s short and it’s sweet and packed full of great racing.

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