Today’s card at Churchill features four stakes races along with a handful of maidens. This was a tough card to handicap and features some horses we could see on the Derby and Oaks Trail in the Spring next year. A common trend seems to be favorites drawn to the outside and I tried to beat a few with price plays. Good luck to all and lets get home some winners!
Race 1 is a maiden $51,000 and a who’s who of heavy hitters. The top trainers all come together in this one and it makes for a very competitive field. I usually prefer a horse with some experience, but I’m drawn to the 2 here Meistermind. A Bodemeister colt owned by Winstar and the China Horse Club featuring the Asmussen/Santana combo. His breeding suits the field and he should be a decent price. I’ll play him to W/P here and hope to kick off the card with a bit of a price.
Race 2 is another maiden this one for fillies. I think the best contender here drew the outside post in the 10-Flash N Dance. I’m also intrigued in three first time starters here. The 11 is another out of Bodemeister trained by Asmussen. But I think she’ll struggle with the outside post. I’ll look a little more inside at the 9-Bella Moon and the 7-Pinot. Both have great workouts and can steal this one with a good trip. I’ll play a double here 7,9,10,11/1,8
Race 3 is a $62,500 optional claimer. I believe this is a two horse field with the 1-Cowboy Rhythm and the 8-Race Me Home. As Dale Romans pursues the all-time Churchill wins record, I think Race Me Home gets him one race closer. I’ll play an exacta box 1,8.
Race 4 is a mile maiden for two year olds. Much to the tune of the earlier races the morning line favorite draws outside in post 11. Brian Hernandez gets the mount on Gambit who comes off a troubled start at Ellis. I’ll look inside at the 8-Tenkoz who showed promising works at Churchill before a head scratching Ellis Park race. I’ll give him a chance to rebound here and with his last result might get a price. W/P/S on the 8 Tenkoz.
Race 5 is a 7 furlong allowance for fillies and mares featuring a few proven horses dropping in class after huge races. But I’m drawn to the 7 Miss Kentucky. She broke her maiden on the Churchill dirt before trying the Saratoga turf twice her last times out. She drops in class and with a return to dirt I think we can get her at a price. If she gets on the lead I don’t think she looks back and will be hard to catch. I’ll play her on top of an exacta with the 2 Tu Se Manques who comes off an impressive maiden at Ellis. Exacta 7/2 with the 7 to W/P if we get a price.
Race 6 is another maiden for fillies going 6 furlongs featuring a handful of first time starters. I’ll go with the 5-Mia Mischief. Another Asmussen/Santana combo who has good works at Churchill. I’ll play her to W/P here.
Race 7 is a maiden on the Turf going on a mile. The morning line favorite draws to the outside, but I look inside at the 5-I am Iron Max. He was gaining to come second in his last and I think a similar effort wins this. I’ll play the 5 to W/P and a cheap double 5/7
Race 8 kicks off the Stakes races as well as the All Stakes Pick 4. The 2-Blue Prize is intriguing after winning stakes in Argentina. But I’ll go with the 7-Tiger Mot. Coming in off a win in the Grade 3 Group Doll at Ellis. She has struggled at Churchill, but comes in hot. I’ll play the 7 to W/P and use the 2,3,7 in Pick 4.
Race 9 is the 6 furlong Open Mind 100K. To me the clear and deserving favorite is the 4-Ivy Bell. Since switching to Denzik’s barn she has ran great at Churchill. She gets Brian Hernandez and comes in off a stakes win at Mountaineer. I’ll single her in my Pick 4 and play a double 4/1,2,4
The 10th race is the Grade 3 Iroquois for the two year olds going a mile and a sixteenth. The 1 and the 2 are the favorites here and I don’t see any reasons not to like them. The 1-Ten City ran into some trouble last out, but his best wins today. Dale Romans stretches out the 2-Hollywood Star and I think the longer distance fits this horse. Another horse I like in this field is the 4-Tres Equis. If you throw out his turf debut he has a large maiden win where he stalked and drew off nicely. Big jump in class, but can contend at a price. I’ll use all 3 in my Pick 4 and hope we get the 9th race double.
The 11th and final race is the Grade 2 Pocohontas. Here we have the two year old fillies going a mile and a sixteenth. I’ll go with the 8-Sunny Skies. She lost her last, but was gaining and ran out of room. I think the added distance fits her perfectly and Kelly’s Humor the horse who beat her, draws the outside post at 12. Upset Brewing is another drawn to the outside who can pose a threat. I’ll play an exacta 8/7/10,12 As well as use the 7,8,12 in my Pick 4 to keep the ticket cost under $20
Pick 4 Ticket: 2,3,7,1/4/1,2,4/7,8,12