Churchill Downs Race #7
Normally I focus on stakes races but the "Stars of Tomorrow" card at Churchill Downs always draws a little extra interest from me. My goal for the winter months is hone my skills for multi-race exotics. Exacta's and trifecta's are fine but I want to focus my handicapping on picking winners and to go along with that I want to learn more about structuring tickets. All of that to say that the reason I'm looking at this race in depth for this space is that the only "single" on the card in my opinion goes in this race. Troy G. is not even the morning line favorite for this race but I see him as the most likely winner on the card. He is the speed in this race and unless someone runs out of character he might be left completely alone. I think because of his speed he is better suited to dirt than he is to Polytrack but he's still a very good horse on Polytrack. Last time out he nearly wired the field at Keeneland at the stamina testing distance of 7f. The horse who ran him down is one of the choices in the Iroquois later on the card. Two turns on dirt should be a much better fit for him as it makes his speed more dangerous. He has the highest dirt figure in the field as well showing off his preference for the surface with a gutsy win at Saratoga. His trainer Ken McPeek has won with 5 of his first 6 starters at this meet. So the barn is hot, the horse has a pace advantage and he owns the highest figures in the field. Smells like a single to me. Having alternatives that you can use in a backup Pick 6 are usually worthwhile. The ones I'd consider using are Crown The Chief, They're Late, Cliffy's Future, Beethoven and Zion. The first three mentioned are the ones I like the most if Troy G. should somehow collapse but I really don't expect it. I basically like them because they've either shown a real affinity for dirt or an affinity for a route of ground. Crown the Chief and Cliffy's Future are both coming off Polytrack efforts so there could be a bounce back to form.
It looks like a wide open race and I happen to dislike the favorite. I think Rachel Alexandra is being over hyped. She only really looked good when she ran away with a 5f maiden race here at CD in the spring. I don't think she's come back to that effort and the one turn mile here will stretch her. She went back to work too quickly for my liking after her last. This will be her second start off a layoff and I think she'll regress because I think the distance will be too much for her. Once you get past her it really looks like any one's race. I've settled on Sara Louise as my primary selection mostly because I think she is the best closer. She's not a deep, one run closer but I think she will be stronger in the lane than most of her competition. It looks like there is a healthy dose of speed in this race and she is perfect fit tactically. A one turn mile looks ideal for a horse with her style. I also like Dr. Zic, I know she's a speed horse and doesn't look like the type I want here but I was very impressed with her maiden victory. I don't think this is a horse who needs to be in front she was just better than her competition. At the head of the lane she re-broke willingly and looked pretty professional for her first start. Hopefully she can sit on the rail just in behind the speed, Borel has been known to do that a time or two. Her pedigree doesn't really suggest a win early sprinter so it's possible that she is a horse of quality in the making who will appreciate more ground. She should also be a square price. I think I would use every horse defensively in this race except Petty Things. I think she'll be run into the ground so I won't use her anywhere. Everyone else has a shot but Sara Louise and Dr. Zic will be my primaries.
Sunday's feature at Churchill should also be a very interesting contest. No one will mistake this group for championship class but a winning bet still pays the same currency and the winner will likely try to step up against tougher horses in the Falls City. Copper State and Leah's Secret are surely meant more for a race like the Falls City than this one. I haven't seen the morning line yet but I imagine they, along with Baroness Thatcher will take most of the money. My play for this race is a horse I expect to be the 4th choice. Initforthekandy looks perfectly poised here and unlike the principles this is likely her goal. She managed to run second in the Fleur de Lis but one turn races are really more her forte, she will likely go on to the Falls City but her connections like think her best chance is here. Toss out her last effort. She is not a turf sprinter and her trainer was just looking for a good stepping stone to get her to this series. In her last few dirt races she has been very competitive and if not for Hystericalady (who could beat this group on three legs) Initforthekandy would have a three race winning streak at Churchill. She's been hot in the morning and even her name is appropriate for a stakes winner on the weekend of Halloween. If you want a bit of a price look at Amazing Speed. She ought to be a longshot but she's been first or second in her last six races on the dirt. Asmussen should likely be able to coax some good form out of her after his synthetic experiment failed.