1st: 1-4-7-6…Both parts of this entry could be OK in this spot, but the definite edge has to go to Class Won (1). Ran an awful one the last out, but just have to figure that was a dud, and should bounce back. Has had a couple of OK works since. Lanerie stays aboard, which is a good sign for this significant class dropper. Eddie Kenneally hits with .16 percent of his firsters, and just because his Nicholas and Me (4) has not shown he can run makes him a contender with these today. Private Party (7) and Mo Bourbon (6) have credentials, too. I go with the 1 to win/place/show (hoping that both parts of the Caleb Posse entry can hit the board and double me up). I then box the 1-4-7 and the 1-4-6 in the exactas.
2nd: 10-6-1-9-8…The first of the two “baby races” looks to be a wide open affair, but I side with Red Alert (10) on the far outside. Must get a good break from there and clear the field, or must settled back so he doesn’t lose much ground on the turn. But figures to do the former rather than the latter. Wesley Ward has had a quiet meet here after ripping up Keeneland with the 2YOs. He sends out Nuclear Option (6) here and he figures to make a real run at the lead. Can he hold this time? Jimmy D (1) is by a sire that has disappointed at stud, but this trainer knows how to get babies ready to run (wins with .28 of 2YOs). I use. I bet the 10 to win/place and then key over/under all the numbers above.
3rd: 4-5-1-2-6…Curious race, for sure. I have to settle on Bingo Kitten (4), the 7YO for the barn of Mike Maker. He won a $25K claiming event for fun in his last out – on the grass – and now plummets to $5K on the dirt. I’m betting that the Ramsey’s want to win a race in their hunt for the owner’s title here, rather than the fact that the old man is waning. Stratocruiser (5) is another 7YO, who won his last out. Looks good in the same spot. Trainer JR Caldwell, who has won with .40 percent of his starters this meet, has an entry in this event and you can’t dismiss him or them, either. I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-5-1, and the (note here) 5-1-2.
4th: 8-7-3-9-6-2…The second “baby race” of the day and this one is just as interesting as the first. I go with Laudation, who ran a solid third in her career debut as the odds-on favorite. Should improve off that one. Katie’s Reward (7) is a firster for trainer Brad Cox, and has been working extremely well over at Keeneland. Danger. Patti Patti Patti (3) is a 10-1 ML longshot and I think the odds may drift higher. Ran well early in the same heat with the favorite in here today, before faltering. She may have needed that one for a solid operation. I go with the 8 to win/place and then key the 8 over/under the rest of the numbers.
5th: 1A-1-7-6-5-2…Obviously, I like the entry in this one. But since the meet’s leading rider – Corey Lanerie – is named on both of them, I suspect one of them will be scratched before post. Either way, I go with the Tom Amoss-Lanerie connection, and they are hitting at .21 percent as a team. Twirl Girl (7) and Northern Connect (6) both have a shot, especially the latter. I think this mare will run very well today for veteran trainer Rick Hiles, who knows how to spot his horses. I bet the 1 to win/place and then key over/under the numbers. Also, I will bet a tad across the board on the 6 – hunting a price.
6th: 2-5-3-6-9-7…A MSW for fillies and mares going 5F on the turf is always an exciting and eventful race. Tough to handicap, as well. Perhaps, the toughest surface/distance combo for ‘cappers. I go with Dulua Kaiu (2) for trainer Ian Wilkes, who is having a superb meeting. This one looks to improve greatly off her last effort, and she is a whopping 8-1 ML. I go with my guy, Ian, here. Zipperini (5) has had 12 chances to find the circle and has come up short each time. Has run two straight seconds and gets a positive jock change today for the barn of Greg Foley, who started off this meet with a bang. Have to use, IMO. Sweet Invention (3) is another who has had her chances, but seems to find a way to run second (4 in 6 starts). I’ve Got Grace (6) may be closing with a purpose after an extended layoff for trainer Dallas Stewart. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then wheel over/under the “all button.” I also box the 2-5-3 here, to provide a little cover.
7th: 6-4-9-8-5-3-2…Wide open race with a ton of possible winners and race scenarios. I finally land on Dreamcall (6), another long shot at 12-1 ML. I throw out the turf try in her last, and the two previous are pretty good. Picks up a huge jock change to Lanerie. Maybe you don’t get the full 12-1 here, but I take some odds with her. Wicked Lick (4) should be the post time favorite, since she has tackled the tough ones all spring and has been second to the likes of Farrell and Untapped. But she is another that finds a way to run second a lot, and I fear more the same today. Gulf Front (9) ran a huge one for trainer Neil Howard and Bill Farish in her first try around two turns. Rider gets off to leg up on Wicked Lick, but I like this switch to a guy who knows how to ride on the lead. Watch out for this one at 8-1 ML. I bet the 6 & the 9 to win/place/show and then I key the 6-9 over/under the numbers above.
8th: 12-1-3-6-4-5-7-11…Don’t get the wrong impression, when you see all those numbers. I love Miss Vicki (12) in this spot and she is my Bet of the Day. Coming out of the 7F chute, she should be able to find a nice spot to stalk this crowd and make a huge move at the top of the stretch. Lanerie had to go wide with her in the last effort, but they both should benefit from that experience. A good trip today is all she needs. Miss Medaglia (1) is 8-1 ML and she could run a good one off a significant layoff. Very well bred filly who caught a terrific one in her last out. Could run better today. Lifefullofreinbows (3) has run two good ones in a row, and actually beat Miss Vicki in the last. Better odds here. What a Star (6) is another one coming off a good effort and is a beaten favorite. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 12 to win/place and then wheel over/under the rest of the numbers listed.
9th: 3-8-6-4-10-1-2…Nessy (3) gets my backing in this one, for Wilkes and BJ Hernandez. His last race, despite a 6th place finish, is impressive – considering how wide he was against a superb field. Gets a lot softer bunch today and should find the circle if he gets a clean shot from the back. Kitten’s Gold (8) is coming out of a MSW win, but cost a lot of money ($340,000 as a yearling) and may just now be figuring out this game. I take a shot with a 10-1 ML. Cite (6), War Daddy (4), Southern Wild (10) are all about evenly matched. But I do like Producer (1) at a huge price in the exotics. Third race in this cycle and comes off a big effort. May be good enough to show up underneath. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then key over/under the rest of the numbers listed.
10th: 8-3-6-9-12-10…Finley’sluckycharm (8) has never lost at Churchill Downs and she doesn’t figure to start today. She was spectacular in winning the G3 Winning Colors here on May 27, easily dispatching a field of six contenders that had no shot. But her race, two back, in the G1 La Brea may have been even more impressive than that, when she looked to have won before being caught by Constellation late. That race was 7Fs, and that is the distance today, too. There doesn’t appear to be a filly the caliber of Constellation in here, but the distance is the only fear today. If she falters late, you may take a look at both Kathballu (3) and Improv (6). The former will be coming late. The latter will be trying to stalk the leader. Both have solid credentials. I only bet the exactas here, wheeling the 8 both on top and bottom of all the numbers. I bet the 6 across the board.
11th: 9-5-11-2-8-4…My Kinda Devil (9) is 7-2 ML and may drift up a tad, if not for the “Corey Lanerie Factor.” (The meet’s top jock is riding here.) I throw out the last two efforts and take on top in here in a modest field. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then key over/under all the numbers listed.
Good luck &
All the Best/