An overflow field of 15 is entered for the Friday feature at Churchill Downs, the $500,000 Clark (G1).

Clark Stakes Wagers

  • $1 Trifecta: 3 with 7,8,11,12 with all ($48)
  • $.50-cent Trifecta: 7,8,11,12 with 3 with all ($24)

Clark Stakes Analysis

The pace will be established by #8 Bodexpress, with #7 Mr. Freeze in closest pursuit in second. I do not envision a rapid early tempo, nor would I be surprised to see the aforementioned pair being in the hunt inside the final furlong.

My top pick, #3 Code of Honor, exits the one-turn Kelso (G2) at Belmont Park and will never be too far back for Shug McGaughey. The Grade 1 hero has faced some fine opposition throughout his career, and he seems poised for a big performance in his second run on the Churchill Downs dirt. The chestnut, who was second in the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1), will have regular pilot John Velazquez in the silks.

I have been impressed by the steady progression of #11 Coastal Defense this campaign and consider him to be a live player for Romans. The $800,000 yearling purchase has earned triple-digit Brisnet Late Pace numbers in three straight outings, and he also sports a fine 3-2-1-0 mark on the surface. Bred in the Bluegrass State, Coastal Defense continues to train forwardly and will run well in his Grade 1 debut under Talamo.

The consistently good #12 By My Standards can’t be ignored for Bret Calhoun. Goldencents colt didn’t fire in the deep Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in his latest offering, but he was very sharp in tallying the Alysheba (G2) on this course two starts back. The bay has been first or second in 10 of his 13 lifetime tries, and he will track from midpack beneath Gabe Saez.