by Joe Kristufek Race 4 – ZENA RULES (#4) (4-1 ML) A consistent late closer who runs second (eight times) much more often than she wins (three times), this six-year-old mare enters this contest in the best form of her 33-race career. The late closing runner-up two back behind the odds on, class-dropping favorite Aife over a Churchill Downs main track that slightly favored speed, she returned to win her follow-up start in the slop going away. She should have an honest pace to kick at here and will be tough to deny in the stretch. Race 5 – WEST OF IRELAND (#1) (7-2 ML) Super live on the toteboard when he debuted in a two-turn turf race at Churchill on June 14, he lost all chance when he hesitated at the start and then checked all the way to the back of the pack. He drops in class and adds blinkers for a formidable team and chances are he has a lot more to give. The likely favorite Penalty Shot looms as the one to beat on the drop. Breaking from an outside post he pressed an honest pace while tugging last out and then faded in the stretch. That was a much tougher race than this one. Race 7 – MR DUMAS (#7) (5-1 ML) Live on the tote in his career debut as a November two-year-old, this sophomore son of Majesticperfection would finish a deceivingly good third behind a sharp winner. We haven’t seen him since, but he’s trained smartly in recent weeks. He’s bred to sprint and appears on edge to fire a fresh shot. There are a few high profile first timers entered here, so our choice should offer a fair price. For gimmicks and multi-race purposes, I’d also give serious consideration to Nola Win, who is very capable with his best form, and Encinitas, who earned the class hike off a hard charging second place run. Race 8 – FORT PECK (#7) (8-1 ML) A horse with a bright future at age three, he seemingly went off the rails a bit in his first two outings this year, but in reality, he had excuses for both of those poor performances. He bounced back in a big way last out, finishing a good third behind a high-quality top pair. He should be in position to sit the catbird’s seat trip behind a very honest pace in this one. Race 9 – EVEN BEAT (#8) (5-1 ML) On March 29 at Gulfstream Park, she overcame a rough start to win a turf sprint going away. In the follow-up race on May 9 at Churchill, she was shuffled back twice and in tight on the rail before closing stoutly to finish a close third. In addition, she galloped out great that day. I’m not going to hold that “off the turf” fourth last out against her one bit. PHOTO: Ellis Park (c) Coady Photography/Ellis Park