Dan Liebman’s Selections for Churchill Downs on Friday — Sept. 22

While my good friend, Gene, is riding the high tides of the Caribbean, I will try to catch a nice wave here at Churchill Downs.  Here is a closer look at today’s picks:

Race 1


The question appears, “Who will like the drop to a realistic class level the best?” Cause You Can fits here, as does Grace at Midnight and Okbyecya. Take your pick and tread lightly.

Race 2


Two of Thirstforlife’s better efforts were when Albarado was aboard. His equipment changes, including the addition of blinkers, should guarantee he will be forwardly placed. Capital Letters has solid works and his trainer’s claim stats say he is worth a look. Rocky Tough should close ground to get a part.

Race 3


Valentine Rosie drops in for a tag for the first time, as does Wholehearted. That class drop makes them both competitive in this spot. Clever Serve is better than she has shown in her last two starts.

Race 4


Shaker Baker should like a bit more ground and ought to show improvement. Lonely Petunia was only beaten a length in her last start. A repeat puts her close. Lady Margaret can’t help but run better.

Race 5


Off the brief freshening, Rippin Ride should get to the front easily from the rail and be the one to catch. Steve Asmussen is always good with horses off claims and More Than Shirl has hit the board in half his 20 starts. Arsenalofdemocracy should get a good run from off the pace.

Race 6


Battle Colors should be a top bet of the day, with solid works for this maiden voyage. Brought a hefty price for the sire as a juvenile. Primed and ready to go. With a good trip and the addition of blinkers, Such a Tease should be ready for a peak effort. Also using Precocious Moon and Bee Jersey, the latter being the question mark in the race.

Race 7


Demands Attention demanded our attention last out on the turf. Can he transfer that to the dirt? If he does, he wins. Honor Thy Father takes another class drop. Is it enough? Chester Mon could get a share.

Race 8


Adulation hasn’t run a bad race. It is time for him to graduate. Mono got caught wide at the Spa. Better trip puts him there. Dreamology hails from a barn that doesn’t often win first out. They also don’t often get $500,000 yearlings in the barn.

Race 9


Beautiful Game will be a heavy favorite and deservedly so. He should handle this group. The fact Bridgmohan sticks with Private Vigilante makes you think the stable can run one-two in here. Trappezoid has a shot.

Race 10


Run Juja Run showed more speed in her last start. She should be able to carry that further in here. Happy Anniversary is parked on the outside but could be in the hunt should she get position. Blinkers can’t hurt. Mizzencat makes first start in the bluegrass.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Dan Liebman

    Dan Liebman

      Dan Liebman attended his first Kentucky Derby in 1973 when, from the infield, he saw a glimpse of Secretariat, still today the greatest horse he has seen race. He later worked full time in equine journalism for more than 25 years, his last full time position as Editor in Chief ...

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