A strong field of eight will travel 1 1/16 miles on the Churchill Downs main oval in Friday’s competitive $400,000 Alysheba (G2).
I expect #8 Bodexpress to be sent from the break and to clear his foes in the early going. He will never get far away, as #1 Silver Dust, #2 McKinzie, and #4 Mr Freeze all have a good measure of early foot. The pace will likely be swift, setting things up for a late runner.
#1 SILVER DUST (15-1) – Hard-trying son of Tapit has won or placed in seven of nine prior outings at Churchill Downs, and he has finished first in a pair of Grade 3 tilts in 2020 for Bret Calhoun. Gelded 6-year-old was a close third over this surface two back in the Blame S., and his best showing will give him a top-three chance under the guidance of Adam Beschizza.
#2 MCKINZIE (8-5) – Bob Baffert star was two lengths back in the deep Metropolitan Handicap (G1) most recently. Defending champ dominated this race last campaign, and he could be peaking in his third assignment since February. Street Sense 5-year-old would not be a surprise with Mike Smith riding the stalker.
#3 OWENDALE (6-1) – Brad Cox trainee is capable of firing a big shot on his best day, and I think he will shine on Friday. Into Mischief colt has arguably the best turn-of-foot in the field, and I envision a robust pace with the major players all dueling in early stretch, which will aid his cause late. Bay has trained steadily in preparation of this race and retains regular pilot Florent Geroux, as well.
#4 HENCE (50-1) – Outsider from the Jack Sisterson barn has failed to hit the board in seven straight races dating back to 2018, and he will aim to upset the Alysheba field off a one-year absence. I can’t endorse the chestnut against these.
#5 MR FREEZE (6-1) – Logical win contender has held up well with some talented foes in 2020 and looms a sure danger on Friday. To Honor and Serve 5-year-old is Grade 1-placed on the oval, and his versatile running style will give Manny Franco options in the early part of the race. Chestnut will never be far from the pace.
#6 BY MY STANDARDS (7-5) – Bret Calhoun pupil has taken the next step this season and rates a big chance as the slight morning line choice. Goldencents 4-year-old sports a 5-3-2-0 mark in 2020, and his pair of defeats might have been his most impressive results when second in the Whitney (G1) and Stephen Foster (G2). Bay signaled his readiness for the Alysheba with a rapid half-mile drill most recently.
#7 TITLE READY (20-1) – Dallas Stewart trainee was a game allowance winner at Keeneland last time out in his initial run of the season. The well-meant 5-year-old obviously is talented, but he is hard to back confidently while facing this formidable field off just one prep race.
#8 BODEXPRESS (15-1) – Wildcard of the field can be dangerous when he gets the lead and he looks like the swiftest in this deep cast. Bay colt is winless since November and would be a surprise to take this group all the way on the front end, but he rates as an exotics contender at a big price with his best performance. Javier Castellano will be in the stirrups.
- $.50-cent Superfecta: 3,6 with 2,3,5,6,8 with 2,3,5,6,8 with all ($60)