An extremely well-matched field of 10 will travel 1 1/8 miles on the Churchill Downs turf course in Saturday’s lucrative $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1).

Turf Classic Analysis

The pace could be swift and contested as a trio of contenders prefer to do their running on the front end. #1 Factor This, #9 Somelikeithotbrown, and #10 Spectacular Gem, will be forcing a strong tempo from the break.

Turf Classic Contenders

#1 FACTOR THIS (3-1) Brad Cox pupil rides in on a four-race win streak and most recently showed his versatility when winning at 1 1/4 miles over soft going at Ellis Park. The Factor 5-year-old was victorious in the Wise Dan (G2) at Churchill two back, and the bay is an obvious win contender if he can carve out a sensible trip under Shaun Bridgmohan.

#2 BOWIES HERO (6-1) – Grade 1 winner makes his local debut as a win threat for Phil D’Amato. Consistent sort had a decent prep when fourth in the Eddie Read (G2) last time out, but his 1-for-7 mark at the distance is a big drawback to me. The son of Artie Schiller surely fits with this bunch on class alone, but I will let him beat me on Saturday. Florent Geroux has the call.

#3 ROCKEMPEROR (7-2) – First of three from the barn of Chad Brown missed by a nose in the Charles Whittingham (G2) two back, prior to falling a neck short in the Manhattan (G1) in his latest venture. Holy Roman Emperor colt seeks his first graded tally in the Turf Classic, and his stout late kick will be aided by a stern early pace. John Velazquez riding adds to the appeal.

#4 DIGITAL AGE (6-1) – Bay colt from the Brown shedrow was victorious in the 2019 American Turf (G2) in his lone previous attempt on the Churchill green. Invincible Spirit 4-year-old was a convincing winner in a Saratoga allowance event most recently, and he fits against this cast with improvement beneath Javier Castellano.

#5 DONTBLAMEROCKET (15-1) – Blame gelding has hit the board just once in his last four appearances for Norm Casse. Longshot has placed twice on the local lawn, but I would be surprised to see him take down this cast at a big price. Julien Leparoux will be in the silks.

#6 MR DUMAS (12-1) – Interesting contender at a price brings good form to the field for Mike Maker. Majesticperfection colt sports a nifty 4-3-0-1 local line and was last seen finishing a strong second in the Bernard Baruch (G2) at Saratoga. Course specialist will get first run on the deep closers turning for home under Manny Franco.

#7 TRUE VALOUR (12-1) – Son of Kodiac makes his first run since being transferred to the barn of Graham Motion. Grade 2 winner is eligible to improve for a fine layoff conditioner, but he has failed to hit the board in five of his last six and is hard to back with confidence on Saturday.

#8 SACRED LIFE (6-1) – Top pick drove home as a powerful winner of the Oceanport S. at Monmouth and seems poised for a big showing in the Turf Classic. Brown pupil has earned substantial Brisnet Late Pace ratings in both 2020 assignments, and the bay should get a healthy pace to rally into on Saturday as well. The 5-year-old moves up considerably if there is any moisture in the ground with Paco Lopez riding.

#9 SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN (8-1) — Big Brown colt was victorious in the Baruch when leading at every call for Maker. Bay 4-year-old was a fine third in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) in his lone prior outing on this course, and he is eligible to move up in his second run off the short layoff. New York-bred will be forwardly-placed with Tyler Gaffalione in the stirrups.

#10 SPECTACULAR GEM (10-1) – Speedy son of Can the Man is a stakes winner on the surface and brings a two-race win streak to the Turf Classic for James Baker. Kentucky-bred colt could receive a good trip forcing the tempo despite being parked widest of all, but he still must prove to me that he is good enough for a field of this quality. James Graham has the call.

Turf Classic Wagers

  • $20 Win and Place: #8 Sacred Life ($40)
  • $2 Exacta: 8 with all ($18)