A pair of maiden dashes for 2-year-olds bookend a challenging late Pick-4 sequence at Churchill Downs on Thursday.

Race 6 — Maiden Special Weight

A dozen juvenile fillies will vie in the competitive opening leg. The 6 1/2-furlong dash boasts some promising first-time starters from strong barns, and the early money could be a telling indicator as to which youngsters might be ready to roll.

#3 Divine Comedy (7-2), #5 Midnight Ballerina (4-1), #6 Malloy (12-1), #7 Bel Fiore (6-1), #8 Sweet Mary Lou (8-1), and #9 On the Rise (10-1) all get included on my ticket to start things off.

Race 7 — Claiming

A 6-furlong sprint sports a field of seven in a race where the pace could be fast and contested. My top pick #4 Peruvian Boy (9-2) could benefit most and provide excellent value in the sequence. Tapiture colt makes his first appearance since arriving in the Correas barn and is training well as of late. He will be moving best of all in the stretch.

Impressive debut winner #5 Jessup (2-1) and the speedy #7 My Man Flintstone (3-1) also make a lot of sense and will be used on my second ticket.

Race 8 — Starter Allowance

Grassy test for the boys on the lawn attracted 10, with one entered as a main-track only contestant. #7 Front Man (5-2) has shown nice improvement since transferring to the lawn three back. Dan Peitz trainee graduated on the course and is a must use for me with Lanerie in the irons.

I will also include #2 Fra Mauro (5-1) in his return to the lawn. Asmussen pupil is very consistent, and the son of Mizzen Mast has won or placed in four of his eight previous tries on the sod, as well. The surface change may put him over the top on Thursday.

Race 9 — Maiden Special Weight

An overflow cast of 13 2-year-old fillies will close things out. If #13 Decade (3-1) draws into the field, I would be quite tempted to single the California Chrome second timer for Asmussen.

If not, I will spread with debuters #5 Seeking Seca (10-1), #8 Super Sport (6-1), and#10 Targeted Return (7-2), as well as #11 Len Lo Lady (10-1) and #12 Montgomery Park (3-1).

(I have structured a pair of plays based on whether Decade draws into the finale or not.)

Wagers:

  • $.50-cent Pick 4: 3,5,6,7,8,9 with 4 with 2,7 with 5,8,10,11,12 ($30)
  • $.50-cent Pick 4: 3,5,6,7,8,9 with 4,5,7 with 2,7 with 13 ($18)