The much-anticipated spring meeting at Churchill Downs will commence on Saturday, May 16, and run through June 27. The abbreviated 26-day stand will play host to 16 stakes events totaling more than $2 million, and the racing is sure to be uber-competitive featuring many high-class runners from top barns.
Below are a few of the top horses that I will be keeping tabs on that could make a spring appearance at Churchill Downs:
Kentucky Derby Hopefuls:
Grade 1-winning juvenile Maxfield is expected to make his first run at 3 in the $150,000 Matt Winn (G3) on May 23. The Godolphin colt will start his voyage on the 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby in the 1 1/16-mile event for conditioner Brendan Walsh.
Risen Star (G2) Division 2 runner-up Major Fed, who finished a solid fourth in the Louisiana Derby (G2) most recently, is also likely for the Matt Winn. The Greg Foley charge has improved with each lifetime performance, and he finished third on debut on the course when sprinting last campaign.
Multiple Grade 2 winner By My Standards has been brilliant from a trio of outings in 2020, and the 4-year-old is pointing toward an engagement in the $500,000 Stephen Foster (G2) on June 27, where he could face Al Stall’s handicap star Tom’s d’Etat.
Champion Midnight Bisou, second versus the boys in the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup in her 5-year-old debut, could be bound for the $200,000 Fleur de Lis (G2) on closing day. The brilliant Midnight Lute mare could be the top draw of the entire meeting for Asmussen.
Alabama (G1) starlet Dunbar Road, who was last seen finishing a closing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), could also point for the Fleur de Lis. The exciting Quality Road filly had a superb 2019 campaign and could be even better at 4.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) queen Sharing is gearing up for an engagement in the $100,000 Tepin S. on May 23. Daughter of Speightstown is a turf savant destined for huge things for Graham Motion.
Four Wheel Drive, who capped an unblemished juvenile campaign with a fine score in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2), is expected to challenge allowance foes in a May 17 turf dash for Wesley Ward. Royal Ascot is ideally the major summer target.
Another Royal Ascot hopeful for Ward, the splendid Kimari, is a three-time stakes heroine who was super impressive in the Purple Martin S. in her 2020 debut. By Munnings, the dual-surface dynamo could be pointing toward the Dogwood (G3) on June 6 – depending upon what happens with the scheduling of Royal Ascot.
Godolphin’s Alms has been virtually untested from four lifetime races on the green for Mike Stidham. 3-year-old daughter of City Zip would be a logical inclusion in the $100,000 Regret (G3) on June 27.