(Scylla / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

G3 Shawnee Stakes Preview: “I Am Biased”

By Dennis Trusty, “Trusty Picks” — @dennis_trusty on “X,” and dennis.trusty23@aol.com

When I sat down and scrolled through this Saturday’s card at Churchill Downs, I did so with some trepidation. I normally don’t like “Preview” days and this is one of those for the upcoming Stephen Foster Day, later in the meet.

For some reason, I never do well on these days. Not in the past.

But when I saw this card I went:

Oh my we could be in store for a day of fantastic racing.”

And I nearly passed out when my eyes came to the 8th race — the G3 Shawnee Stakes.

I must admit. I am biased. I handicap with my heart a lot, even though I truly know and remember the old saying: “It is better to bet with your head and not your heart.” Especially, in a race like this one.

But I am passionate. And, with this race, my brain melted. At the end… I had nothing left. I love my Scylla. 

Here’s my take:

  1. Magical Lute (12/1) Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr., Trainer: Ian Wilkes, Owner Whitham Thoroughbreds. Won last time out at Keeneland and her best races can be underneath here. She scares me, deep closer rushing late. 
  2. Malloy (30/1) J: Jamie Torres, T: Wayne Catalano, O: Coffeepot Stables. Might have confidence after Hawthorne victory last out. Has talent, but has never gotten to it. I know this horse is solid might need less class though, IMO. Very good.
  3. Wet Paint (7/2) J: Flavien Prat, T: Brad Cox, O: Godolphin. Former Kentucky Oaks favorite. Was 2nd off the layoff. Stepping down in class and might need to regain confidence. Could be poised for a big effort. Very dangerous.
  4. Take a Stand (20/1) J: Luis Saez, T: Victoria Oliver, O: G Watts Humphrey, Jr. Always runs a solid race and hasn’t missed the board in over a year. Needs to improve to win. Even though this horse isn’t for me, still a very good race horse.
  5. Bellamore (8/1) J: Tyler Gaffalione, T: Steve Asmussen, O:Kaleem Shah Inc. Who knows what happened last time out, but she has earned a spot here. Winning the G3 Sam Houston Ladies Classic might be a notch below these, but she is still solid. The Questionmark? Very inconsistent and that’s ok, cause her best races are deserving of a look.
  6. Xigera (2/1) J: Julien Leparoux, T: Phillip Bauer, O:Rigney Racing, I am a huge fan of this filly. I don’t know what happened off the layoff. Might have needed a race. Leparoux must have known something wasn’t right last time and backed off, which is a good thing for a 2nd off the layoff. Every race last year was an exploration of amazement. Had 6 starts and 5 wins. Hard to beat that.
  7. Scylla (5/2) J: Javier Castellano, T: Bill Mott, O: Juddmonte Farms, Quite possibly, this gal is my favorite horse in training. I went over one day at Churchill — on June 2nd — and then left. She won by 8 lengths that day, making my knees buckle,…almost break. I’ve been on her ever since. She’s a star in the making right before our eyes, with her record being 5: 3-1-1. Now, she’s really taking a step forward today in class. Girl let’s see what your made of …and don’t break my heart.
  8. Hoosier Philly (6/1) J:Edgar Morales, T:Tom Amoss, O:Gold Standard Racing. I thought she was going to be the Kentucky Oaks favorite, at multiple points. Then something went off the rails. Her first race, she was 8-to-1 morning line, I believe. She was knocked down to 1-to-4 odds by post time. I think it was the first time Churchill Downs and the bettors had witnessed those kind of odds, at least for as long as I have lived and gone to the track. She is special to me, but needs to find her former form. She might just do that after this long break.
  9. Hidden Connections (12/1) J: Reylu Gutierrez, T:Bret Calhoun, O: Hidden Brook Farms. She’s always been talented. After all, she ran in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies against the likes of Echo Zulu, Juju’s Map and others. Every horse in that race was tough and talented. She hasn’t been winning, for a minute now, but she still is running decent. Her numbers are in fact good enough to win this race on par.

Here’s how I bet:

Picks: 7 Scylla (5/2)-6 Xigera (2/1)-8 Hoosier Philly (6/1)-1 Magical Lute (15/1)-9 Hidden Connection (12/1)