Ellis Park will play host to an excellent 10-race card on Sunday with a handful of stakes races on the slate, and I have some horses of interest with value that I will be including in my plays.
Race 5 — Maiden Special Weight
A big field of juveniles will go postward in a 7-furlong dash that lacks a standout. Conditioner Ian Wilkes is far from a stellar first-out trainer, but I am very intrigued by #6 Milliken (8-1) at first call. April foal has not missed the morning work since June, and I love that Brian Hernandez Jr. will be in the silks.
Milliken is kin to a pair of debut winners, Grade 2 star McCraken and dual Grade 3 queen Four Graces, as well two-time juvenile victor Bondurant. I expect the colt to be an early type as well.
Race 6 — Preview Turf Sprint S.
The boys will travel 5 1/2 panels on the green. #5 Carotari (6-1) has not been very sharp in his last pair at Churchill Downs but could thrive with the change of scenery on Sunday. Brian Lynch charge is a stakes winner this campaign, and his draw outside of the other major pace in the field will be beneficial as well. Julien Leparoux taking the reins only adds to the appeal.
Race 8 — Preview Ladies Sprint S.
Fillies and mares will speed 5 1/2 furlongs on the sod in a good betting affair. Eddie Kenneally’s #7 Lead Guitar (12-1) offers fantastic value at her morning-line price. Daughter of Maclean’s Music was a fine winner in her 2020 debut beneath the Twin Spires when drawing away in the stretch, and she gets a pass for her dirt experiment most recently.
Lightly-raced 4-year-old faces a tall task in a field full of veterans, but the versatile New York-bred could peak third time off the layoff in her stakes bow. Bay will close into a contested early pace with Hernandez in the stirrups.
Race 10 — Preview Turf Cup S.
Defending champ #11 Factor This (6-5) rides in on a three graded stakes win streak and looms large for Brad Cox. 5-year-old is perfect on the local lawn and will be the one to catch at the top of the stretch. He is a must use.
But I think #1 Hierarchy (15-1) has upset potential at a square price for Joe Sharp. Point of Entry gelding earned a lifetime best Brisnet Speed number in a recent Churchill allowance triumph, and the Kentucky-bred owns a 3-2-1-0 line at the distance as well. Bay will save ground throughout the 1 1/4-mile finale under Corey Lanerie.