Saratoga Scouting Report: Kentucky Horses for Wednesday, July 17

by Joe Kristufek

With Churchill Downs coming off perhaps its strongest spring meet in history, the horses based in Kentucky should perform even better than they have in years past. Chances are, in many cases, they won’t get the respect they deserve. There is value to be had.

That’s what I’m here for.

For the entirety of the Saratoga meet, I will provide “scouting reports” for the Kentucky-based horses – good, bad and indifferent.

Horses are listed in order of preference, with a short comment playability notation in the wrap.

Race 3

#5 Pete’s Play Call (main track only)

A force to be reckoned with in 2018, this hard-hitting six-year-old son of Munnings made a cameo appearance this spring at Churchill, landing in a salty optional claimer. Off slowly and in tight between horses while tugging, he was never seriously involved. The winner Mr. Crow is graded stakes caliber, and the second and third finishers are also of high quality. This guy ran like a horse who needed the race and he followed up with a sharp work over the Saratoga training track. He won his lone start locally, so if the race happens to wash off, watch the toteboard for clues and listen to what Maggie Wolfendale has to say.

Comment: Tough call but could be sneaky.

Race 4

#8 The Sicarii (main track only)

He ran twice during the Churchill meet, with a runner-up performance in a slowly run first-level allowance at Thistledown sandwiched in between. He was hung wide in both of his Churchill starts, the first around two turns on turf, the second sprinting on dirt. He didn’t show much, and neither one of the fields he faced was anything to write home about.

Comment: Even if the race washes off, he’s a tough use.

Race 5

#7 Just Fly

This $40,000 two-year-old in training buy by Justin Phillip trained well into her career debut and she finished a creditable second behind a 21-1 debuter Indy Takes Charge, who returned to run a non-threatening fourth in the Debutante. Switched over to the grass for her follow-up start, she got off to a sluggish start and failed to make an impact thereafter. A bullet work over the Saratoga training track signals a potential move forward. There are no big ticket items entered here and it would be no surprise to see her bounce back with a good effort.

Comment: Watch the toteboard on the bevy of first-timers. This gal isn’t great, but this field doesn’t appear to be either.

#9 Raggedy Annie

Comment: I have no idea how talented she might be, and the pedigree does suggest that two turns may eventually be her thing, but a shout out to the Churchill Downs Racing Club is certainly in order!

Race 7

#12 Bail Out

He’s winless from eight starts with four seconds and a third. Has he been a victim of hard luck or does he just lack competitiveness? I side strongly with the former. In the Keeneland race back in October, he closed relentlessly, but was bothered late and was probably best. The winner could have easily been taken down. He didn’t have the cleanest of trips in either of his next two starts, and most recently at Churchill, he led late before being run over by the stakes-caliber Avigale, who flew home in visually impressive fashion.

Comment: Disadvantaged by the extreme outside post here, but must still be viewed as a top contender.

#2 Alfons Walde

Progressed nicely during the Churchill Downs spring meet, finishing second in his two most recent starts. On May 25, he lost a couple lengths at the start, but enjoyed an advantageous pocket trip thereafter. He rallied to the lead off the turn, but was simply outfinished by a solid winner in Kid Lemuel, who returned to run a good second in an “off the turf” first-level allowance in his follow-up start. In his June 29 follow-up start over a grass course that slightly favored speed, he was hung three then four-wide, drew even with the 5-2 pacesetter late, but was outkicked by that foe. He’s well drawn inside here, and could be in line for an advantageous, pocket trip.

Comment: He fits here, but others likely have more upside. A use in gimmicks, but not sure you need to stretch to him for multi-race purposes.

#7 Embellisher

Tired on the lead going a one-turn mile over a “good” main track in the career debut on June 16 against just five foes. Set the pace amongst 10 rivals in a follow-up start over the Ellis Park green, dug in late and settled for third. The Ellis Park turf tends to favor early pace types, and Julien Leparoux got banged up pretty good after being tossed from his mount in Saturday night’s Indiana Derby. Can we trust him to be at his best?

Comment: Guessing the owner/breeder wants to make a summer trip to Saratoga and the recent run at Ellis Park justifies it. A contender? That’s another story.

#13 Panforte Di Siena (main track only)

An even fourth of 10 in his career debut in a salty maiden special weight race at Fair Grounds (eventual Louisiana Derby [G2] winner By My Standards was third) he resurfaced five months later going a one-turn mile over a “good” track at Churchill. He trained well leading into that race and ran a better than it looks fourth. After losing two lengths at the start, he rushed up at the rail, was tugging while in tight, switched off heels and finished willingly. He should benefit big time from that start and I like the work he posted since.

Comment: Likely to outperform his odds if the race is washed over to the main track.

Race 9

#6 Talk Veuve to Me

One of the top three-year-old fillies in the country last year, she’s already far exceeded her $20,000 yearling sales price. The track slightly favored off the pace types, but she was a major disappointment when cooked in the pace in the Humana Distaff (G1) on Kentucky Derby weekend and we haven’t seen her since. She was disqualified from purse money after winning the seasonal debut in the race prior at Keeneland, adding to the concern, and she hasn’t exactly been lighting up the track in the mornings.

Comment: The likely favorite in what doesn’t appear to be the strongest race for the level, but she’s not easy to trust at the expected short price. Proceed with caution.

#1 Special Relativity

Very productive the past two years, she’s perfect from two starts at Saratoga, and she’s obviously been prepped for this meet. In her first start off a seven-week break on June 8, she ran one level above her eligible condition and managed to finish a very respectable second behind a talented Brad Cox trainee in Maybe Wicked (2-1). Chasing from the rail through moderate splits over a sloppy track, she was hung four-wide on the turn. No match for the winner, she did finish well for place. Sent to Saratoga shortly thereafter, she has two local works in preparation for Wednesday’s start.

Comment: She obviously loves Saratoga and was prepped for this race. Seems more like an underneath player, but worthy of multi-race consideration if you’re against the chalk.

#4 Skamania

A rare claim by Al Stall Jr. for $50,000 last June, this four-year-old daughter of Adios Charlie has been quite productive. In her first try sprinting on turf two starts back at Churchill, she broke alertly, sat the pocket trip, popped out, extended her stride and rolled by the pacesetter late. It looked good at the time, but that race has turned out to be a key one moving forward. In her follow-up start, she made a fantastic appearance visually, but she failed to run up to her looks, finishing fifth after enjoying a perfect, pressing trip. She adds blinkers and returns to dirt for this one with a useful work in between.

Comment: Earned her fastest fig on dirt three back at Oaklawn, but the addition of blinkers seems more like an experiment than a need. Seems more like an underneath player, but worthy of multi-race consideration if you’re against the chalk.

Saratoga Race Course (c) Adam Coglianese Photography

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Saratoga Scouting Report: Kentucky Horses for Friday, July 12

by Joe Kristufek

With Churchill Downs coming off perhaps their strongest spring meet in history, the horses based in Kentucky should perform even better than they have in years past. Chances are, in many cases, they won’t get the respect they deserve. There is value to be had.

That’s what I’m here for.

For the entirety of the Saratoga meet, I will provide “scouting reports” for the Kentucky-based horses – good, bad and indifferent.


Derby Memories (#3) (6-1)

Off a 21-month layoff, this four-year-old son of Curlin returned to make just the second start of his career on June 23 at Churchill Downs. Off four lengths slow over a yielding turf mile, he was held up inside and raced evenly thereafter. I thought it was a solid enough race for the maiden $50,000 claiming level, and he now drops in for $20,000 and moves over to the dirt. Nine furlongs should suit well and I wouldn’t be surprised if he outperformed his odds.


Lord Simba (#8) (4-1)

Claimed for $16,000 two back out of a third-place run behind a pair of next out winners, this lightly-race six-year-old returned to score a sharp win at the same level. Super live on the tote since the moment the betting opened, he got the same perfect pressing trip that he enjoyed in the race prior, but this time he sealed the deal against a collectively softer group. Former Grade 3 winner appears to be headed in the right direction and the slight class drop for a high percentage barn certainly makes sense.

Kahramani (#4) (5-1)

A consistent performer, often at lower levels, virtually his entire career, he was most recently fourth in an oddly run race at Churchill. The winner got away with soft fractions and ran his best race in ages. This guy got the perfect spying trip behind that pacesetter and failed to go on. He’s been off seven weeks, and chances are seven furlongs isn’t his best game anyway.


Mylastfirstkiss (#8) (12-1)

Purchased for $250,000 as an Ocala March two-year-old in training, this daughter of Flatter was a live 5-1 on the tote in her first and only start on June 21. Off slowly, she lost roughly six lengths at the start and was never a factor behind Frank’s Rockette, perhaps the most impressive two-year-old winner of the entire spring meet at Churchill. Tough to gauge the quality of what she’s facing here but we also have no line on how good this gal is. A dart throw if you’re against the others.


Keep Quiet (#7) (3-1)

One might question his heart off three consecutive narrow defeats, but the reality is, he does try really hard. In his only start of the Churchill meet on May 24, he stalked a fast pace while three-wide throughout. Hung four-wide off the turn, he led late and dug in gamely, only to be bested late by the legit Space Mountain, who had the benefit of closing into a hot pace. Claimed for $50,000 out of that race, he returns at the same level for Steve Asmussen, and he does own a win and second from two starts over the Saratoga green.

Dontblamerocket (#9) (6-1)

Exits the same race at the top choice and finished 1 1/4 lengths behind him. He enjoyed a ground-saving trip that day, split rivals late and then evened out a bit. Late runner did have the advantage of being able to close into a hot pace that day, and the flow might be against him this time around, making him more of an underneath type to me.

Hay Dakota (#11) (9-2)

Second best in a very average $40,000 turf claimer at Churchill on May 1, this veteran six-year-old won on the claim and rise off a seven-week break last out. Chasing into an honest pace from the pocket as the lukewarm favorite, he eased out cleanly, got the jump on the late runners and held firmly safe. It was an advantageous trip for sure, and now he’s asked to break from an extreme outside post against a tougher field.

Dubby Dubbie (#8) (12-1)

His romping win over a wonky November turf at Churchill was a complete farce, and after being purchased privately in advance in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), he’s been completely exposed. Don’t be fooled by his $548,256 career bankroll as $350,000 of it was “earned” for finishing eighth in that race. He’s failed to seriously threaten in four starts since and now takes a needed drop off a brief freshening. Problem is, he’s still in too tough.

RACE 9 – Forbidden Apple Stakes (G3)

Hembree (#3) (8-1)

His race at Churchill came two starts back, but he’s very worth mentioning in this space. The upset winner in the Opening Verse was allowed to hear his feet rattle on the lead, and this guy closed from the back of the pack to edge the classy Ballagh Rocks for second. He just missed in his follow-up start in the Poker Stakes (G3) at an overlaid 12-1 and appears to be better than he’s ever been.

March to the Arch (#5) (6-1)

Two things about the Wise Dan Stakes (G2) at Churchill on June 15: 1) It was a deep and contentious race 2) It was not Grade 2 caliber. A hot pace up front set the table for this four-year-old gelded son of Arch to run down a 70-1 shot. Admission Office, who might be one of the best turf horses in North America by year’s end, finished a much-the-best third as the favorite. As a four-year-old, March to the Arch might still have some upside, but in my mind he might look slightly better on paper than he actually is.

First Premio (#2 ) (10-1)

Mark Casse’s other runner also exits the Wise Dan. A clean trip while stalking hot fractions, he actually put a head in front briefly in the stretch, but he couldn’t kick with the top four finishers late. He is what he is and it isn’t likely good enough to get the job done here.

PHOTO: New clubhouse at Saratoga Race Course (c)

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Saratoga Scouting Report: Kentucky Horses for July 11

by Joe Kristufek

With Churchill Downs coming off perhaps its strongest spring meet in history, the horses based in Kentucky should perform even better than they have in years past. Chances are, in many cases, they won’t get the respect they deserve. There is value to be had.

That’s what I’m here for.

For the entirety of the Saratoga meet, I will provide “scouting reports” for the Kentucky-based horses – good, bad and indifferent.

Race 2

#12 Declined

His “on paper” form entering this assignment is solid, and he might be even better than he looks.

On May 27, he battled through even fractions and dug in gamely late, only to settle for second behind I Can Do Anything, who has since returned to finish a good third in a two-turn turf allowance. Third place finisher He’s Stylish stretched out to wire maidens in his subsequent effort.

On June 15, he sat in the pocket behind honest fractions, was stuck in tight between horses on the turn and hung five wide before finishing with punch to cross the line a narrowly beaten third.

He posted a useful work between starts and there’s no reason to think he won’t run another huge race.

#4 Hurricane Jake

Launched his career this past winter at Fair Grounds and held his own in a pair of competitive turf sprints. Stretched out around two turns at Keeneland in a sloppy track “off the turf” event, he made the lead and held on for second behind a very average winner.

Off seven weeks, he returned on May 27 to finish an even fourth in a turf sprint at Churchill. He enjoyed a clear, two-path trip and simply evened out late.

Perhaps a result of the venue change, it took him five weeks to post a work post-race. He gets Lasix for the first time here and is a candidate to outperform his odds.

Race 3

#5 Verve’s Humor

His winter route performances at Oaklawn were more than respectable, and the May 30 start at Churchill is an absolute toss-out race. On one of the rare days with a significant inside/speed bias, this deep closer was up against it from the word go, and slow fractions and a troubled trip sealed his fate.

He hasn’t missed a beat in training, and now resurfaces over a nine-furlong distance he should relish. That being said, it doesn’t look like the early pace scenario in this one will work in his favor either.

#7 The Rock Says

He’s run well in all four lifetime starts, all routes, mixing it up between turf and dirt.

On May 26 against 11 rivals, he gutted out a maiden breaker in the slop. The horses who ran second and third behind him did come back to win, but neither Morning Social nor Hitch were overly impressive in defeating short fields.

Fractious in the gate on June 20, he enjoyed a perfect catbird’s seat trip behind the front running winner Rare Form before gutting out second over the lifetime hanger Mississippi.

He should have a tactical advantage in what doesn’t appear to be the strongest race for the level, but I’m not sure nine furlongs is his best trip.

Race 4

#2 Local Hero

Marginally on the Triple Crown trail as a three-year-old, his high-knee action on dirt always led me to believe he might be a better horse on turf.

He had run some sneaky good races on turf prior to his June 21 journey over the Churchill green for Mike Maker, a race in which he suffered a narrow defeat to his talented stablemate Clear for Action. He saved ground behind a hot pace that day, rallied six-wide on the turn and simply couldn’t get past the winner late.

He posted a useful half-mile drill between starts and fits like a glove under today’s conditions.

#8 Bemma’s Boy

A recent claim, Maker’s other runner in here may be better than he looks on paper.

He won his only turf start way back in November, and showed some resiliency in doing so. He’s run on dirt seven times since, but three of those were intended to be turf starts (washed off).

His granddam is Grade 1-placed on turf, and it’s worth noting that Maker has had much better success with Jose Ortiz than Luis Saez, who rides his other runner Local Hero.

#11 Indigo Yankee (main track only)

His route effort on May 18 left much to be desired, but off a nine-month layoff, perhaps he needed the race. The follow-up performance over seven furlongs on June 28 was much better. He made a middle move to the pocket into an honest pace and finished willingly in a solid race for the $40,000 (beaten) level.

He won over nine sloppy furlongs in his only previous start at Saratoga, and there is a chance of rain in the forecast.

Race 9

#1 Abyssinian

Sent off at odds of 6-5 in her May 11 start in the Mamzelle Overnight Stakes at Churchill, she battled a fast pace and led off the turn, only to be run over by a 35-1 shot in Change of Control. It was a solid, yet unspectacular performance, and now she’s tasked with running against males, including Call Paul, who may absolutely relish the trip.

Race 10

#8 Encore Kitten

She didn’t show much against maiden special weight rivals in the career debut on May 4, and then was bet down to the 2-1 favorite’s role when dropped into a claimer for the follow-up turf start on June 13. With honest fractions in front of her set by a run off leader, she enjoyed a perfect spying trip before rallying in the stretch. She lost a neck decision, but was caught in very tight deep stretch.  Overall, it was a very average race for the level, and she’s likely to receive more respect than she deserves here. For multi-race purposes, I’d be willing to fade her.

#3 Going to Temple

Exits the same race as Encore Kitten, and after losing roughly four lengths at the start, she did manage to pass tired horses in the stretch. She has a right to improve off that lesson-learning debut, but appears to be more of an “underneath” type here.

#11 Lady Trish’s Dream

She actually finished three lengths in front of Encore Kitten in their May 4 encounter, but after breaking three lengths slow over a yielding course seven weeks later, she failed to run a step. She does drop in for a tag for the first time off that needed race, Julien Leparoux stays aboard and Kenny McPeek is super dangerous when dropping horses in from maiden special weight to claiming. If you’re against the favorites and are willing to spread in multi-race wagers, I wouldn’t be completely against using her.

Saratoga starting gate (c) Harold Roth/

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How to Bet the 2019 Bashford Manor Stakes

A field of 10 two-year-olds will go six furlongs on the Churchill Downs dirt in Saturday’s $125,000 Bashford Manor Stakes (G3). Half of the well-matched field was victorious last time out with a pair of most impressive winners among those.

FREE Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) PPs courtesy of!

PHANTOM BOSS (#1) (9-5) — Shackleford colt has run a pair of nice ones at the maiden level and makes his stakes debut in this spot. Jorge Periban trainee was a head shy on debut to a runner who dominated the Tremont Stakes in his subsequent performance. Likely one to beat will have Rafael Bejarano in the silks.

SNELL YEAH (#2) (8-1) — John Ennis trainee will aim to break his maiden in a graded race today. Kentucky-bred was a clear second to a nice one in the slop on this surface most recently, and he deserves a chance with a forward move against this cast. Gabriel Saez picks up the potentially live mount.

ALEC AND ARTHUR (#3) (8-1)Stakes-placed son of Successful Appeal hasn’t done much wrong from a trio of lifetime runs, two of which resulted in victories. May foal prepped for this with a facile allowance win on the course and smoked a bullet half-mile in the interim. Colt is very logical with Tyler Gaffalione on board.

ROOKIE SALSA (#4) (5-1) — Kentucky Juvenile Stakes star finished third in the Tremont Stakes most recently and returns to the Bluegrass State for this assignment. Two Step Salsa colt was a winner in his lone local appearance and has to be given a winning chance beneath Angel Suarez.

FINNICK THE FIERCE (#5) (30-1) — Second timer was a resilient winner on debut at Indiana Grand and has some appeal at a price. Chestnut son of Dialed In will be forwardly placed in the early stages with Abel Lezcano retaining the mount.

SILENT MALICE (#6) (20-1) — Maiden returns in just six days following a third-place maiden run at Churchill Downs on Sunday. Interesting sort was never going to win last time, but he did show great interest late once getting a clear run. Chris Landeros will guide the exotics contender.

JAMMING CAMERON (#7) (30-1) — Longshot was outrun with allowance foes in his Churchill Downs debut most recently. Maiden winner will need marked improvement to challenge this field in the stretch.

VERB (#8) (9-2) — Keith Desormeaux trainee has put in a pair of solid third-place finishes from two races to date. $65,000 Dialed In colt could put it all together in his third lifetime assignment. James Graham gets off of another contender to pilot the Kentucky-bred.

TWO LAST WORDS (#9) (15-1) — Bay gelding from the Tim Glyshaw barn led throughout in an off-the-turf race at Indiana Grand on debut. The second timer faces a tall task in this event, but he could be in the mix from the start in a field lacking an abundance of pace. Corey Lanerie takes the call.

ROWDY YATES (#10) (7-2) — Superb first out winner draws widest as a major contender for conditioner Steve Asmussen. $42,000 son of Morning Line was geared down late in his maiden romp and should have clear sailing throughout from this slot. Oklahoma-bred will always be forcing the pace under Ricardo Santana Jr..


Phantom Boss will be sent from the rail, and he will likely have company on his outside from Alec and Arthur, Two Last Words and Rowdy Yates.

Verb and Rookie Salsa will be in the next flight hoping to pounce at the head of the stretch, while Silent Malice will aim to run them all down late.


$20 Win #1 = $20
$1 Trifecta Part Wheel: 1,10 with 1,8,10 with 1,4,5,6,8,10 = $16

PHOTO: Phantom Boss (c) Benoit Photos

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How to Bet the 2019 Debutante Stakes

A field of nine will vie in Saturday’s $125,000 Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs. The six-furlong affair for sophomore fillies is led by excellent maiden winners Magic Dance and Indy Take Charge, both of whom graduated beneath the Twin Spires.

FREE Debutante Stakes PPs courtesy of!

SECRETLY WICKED (#1) (8-1) — Wicked Strong filly won on debut but has been unplaced in two subsequent outings for Jack Hancock. Chestnut finished behind a few of these in a local allowance, and she will need a big step forward to make an impact in this field.

INDY TAKES CHARGE (#2) (3-1) — Dark bay filly was very sharp at first asking in posting a 3 1/4-length tally at Churchill Downs. April foal signaled her readiness for her stakes debut by zipping a bullet three-eighths locally. Chris Landeros has the return assignment.

MEGAN MARIE (#3) (10-1) — California-bred has improved with each lifetime start in preparation of her stakes bow. Jonathan Nance pupil rallied from off the pace to be runner-up in a local allowance against the boys most recently on this course. Filly could make the frame late at a price.

STREET FLYER (#4) (12-1) — Street Sense filly finished third after chasing the pace in a recent run on the oval. James Chapman charge has shown steady improvement and rates a top-three chance with another step forward. Tyler Baze will be in the silks.

MY GOOD GIRL (#5) (10-1) — Bay daughter of Danza was tons the best breaking her maiden at Indiana Grand but faces a tall task in her first with winners. Marco Castaneda pupil fired a bullet half-mile last out and could be a pace factor with a clean break.

CHOLULA LIPS (#6) (7-2) — Golden State invader led throughout in a convincing debut tally at Santa Anita. Empire Way filly adds blinkers off the score and could be any kind in a field with some question marks. Rafael Bejarano will be in the stirrups.

MAGIC DANCE (#7) (8-5) – Steve Asmussen pupil was super impressive in her maiden romp and is surely the one to beat second time out. Daughter of More Than Ready draws well and has trained forwardly following her first-out triumph. The Three Chimneys homebred gets a rider change to Ricardo Santana Jr.

LADY GEORGE (#8) (10-1) — Call Me George filly broke her maiden with claiming foes at Pimlico and lands in a demanding spot today. April foal is training well, however, and she entices Florent Geroux to take the assignment.

LADY GLAMOUR (#9) (15-1) — Discreet Cat filly rallied for a debut win on the oval against maiden claiming foes. Kentucky-bred comes in fresh with the addition of blinkers while taking a big class hike. James Graham has the call atop the second timer.


Cholula Lips brings her West Coast speed to the field and will clear them early on with a clean break. Secretly Wicked, Street Flyer and Magic Dance will likely take up the next flight, with Indy Takes Charge rating in behind that trio.


$1 Superfecta Part Wheel 7 with 1,2,4,6 with 1,2,4,6 with all = $72

PHOTO: Magic Dance (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs

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Churchill Downs’ closing day mandatory Pick 6 payout creates a must-bet situation on Saturday

Churchill Downs’ closing day Saturday 12-race card will be a great send-off to a great meet, and will be highlighted by a mandatory payout of the entire carryover pool in the Single 6 Jackpot.

Click for FREE Brisnet PPs of all 12 races!

Churchill’s Single 6 Jackpot is a 20-cent denomination wager and, if it survives through Friday, the carryover in excess of $300,000 makes it a must-bet situation this Saturday. Including what figures to be a massive amount of money bet into the pool for the mandatory payout day, the pool should hit the $1 million mark.

Even if you haven’t bet into the pool all season long, Saturday will be a tremendous betting opportunity at carryover money. Plus, at 20-cents a ticket, even small or average players can cover a wide range of combinations for an affordable investment.

Here is one example of a recommended Saturday Single 6 Jackpot ticket at Churchill, worth $76.80. Best of luck!


Several horses have shots to win race 7 – the first leg of the Single 6 sequence – and it just so happens all of them on this ticket are drawn on the far outside. Those posts are not enough of a deterrent to keep the best horses off the ticket. BATTLE OF MEMPHIS (#8) (4-1) looks like the horse to beat based on a solid allowance second here last out with a good BRIS Speed figure. There are, however, three possible upsetters at double-digit odds who also should be on your tickets, including SALVATOR MUNDI (#10) (10-1), who will improve back on the grass in his second race off a layoff. The other double-digit contenders are SPEED GUN (#12) (12-1), who is two-for-two on the turf in his career, and DASHING DAN (#9) (20-1), who makes his sophomore debut in this spot off a break but showed promise on the turf last season after getting the maiden win at Saratoga.


In the Kelly’s Landing overnight stakes at seven furlongs on the main track, go ahead and spread three ways to cover the main contenders. UNCONTESTED (#1) (7-2) drops from the Churchill Downs Stakes (G1) last time and won the General George (G3) at Laurel Park as recently as three races ago. Fellow WARRIOR’S CLUB (#8) (5-2) also drops from an unplaced effort in the Churchill Downs Stakes and was second two races ago at Keeneland in the Commonwealth (G3), a race he won in 2018. PETROV (#7) (6-1) has been just missing behind a good opponent here in two recent six-furlong outings, including a runner-up finish in the Aristides Stakes last out.

FREE Kelly’s Landing Stakes PPs courtesy of!


OM (#12) (2-1), who exits a very good second-place finish behind division-leading monster World of Trouble in the Jaipur (G1) at Belmont Park, is certainly the horse to beat in this 5 1/2-furlong turf allowance, but he’s still not the only serious contender. UNDRAFTED (#2) (7-2) and BATTLE STATION (#4) (8-1) are two very realistic Wesley Ward trainees who are both sitting on second-off-the-layoff improvement. TOTALLY BOSS (#8) (6-1) steps up in company versus these but has reeled off nice-looking back-to-back turf sprint wins, including a course and distance victory here last out.


If you are trying to put together an economical ticket for smaller and mid-range players, you need to look for a single somewhere in the sequence, and this race presents itself as the best possible single of the six races with MAGIC DANCE (#7) (8-5) for trainer Steve Asmussen. The filly crushed maidens at first asking and earned a far superior BRIS Speed figure in the process. She should take care of business versus these with a similar effort. When there is a giant carryover like there is on Saturday, it’s more about simply surviving than it is about fishing out big prices in any given race.

FREE Debutante PPs courtesy of!


The penultimate leg of Saturday’s Single 6 Jackpot mandatory payout sequence is the Bashford Manor (G3) at six furlongs on the main track. The horse to beat is PHANTOM BOSS (#1) (9-5), who has been impressive in two starts so far at Santa Anita, including a career debut second behind eventual stakes winner Fore Left, followed by the maiden win, which was another impressive outing to finish easily ahead of next-out winner Pas de Panique. Tough to see him getting beat, but if he does it will probably be by ROWDY YATES (#10) (7-2), a Steve Asmussen first-out winner last time who was geared down in the stretch. There’s no telling how good it could be.

FREE Bashford Manor PPs courtesy of!


If you are fortunate enough to still be alive into the final leg of the Single 6 Jackpot, you should plan on covering a lot of horses in the finale. Four horses should do it starting with ALFONS WALDE (#5) (4-1), who stalked the pace and held on well for second last out in a 10-horse field at 1 1/8 miles. He tired late in the race so the one-mile distance of this contest should be just perfect. If not, ICON (#9) (8-1) looks like a live Steve Asmussen first starter by Tapit with some good workouts. BIG BEAUTIFUL WALL (#11) (9-2) has established turf form that makes him a legit contender. Finally, ZIP YOUR LIP (#4) (6-1) is an x-factor in the race who stretches out and tries turf for the second time after appearing to handle this surface in a turf sprint. He’s shown enough to date where you’d kick yourself if he won and you didn’t have him on your ticket.

The SINGLE 6 JACKPOT ticket ($76.80) for Saturday, June 29:

8, 9, 10, 12  /  1, 7, 8  /  2, 4, 8, 12  /  7  /  1, 10  /  4, 5, 9, 11

Good Luck!

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PHOTO: Churchill Downs (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs

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Debutante favorite the key in Saturday’s Single 6 Jackpot force out at Churchill Downs

There will be a mandatory force out of the Single 6 Jackpot on Churchill Downs‘ closing day Saturday, hopefully with a significant carryover and fresh money if there are no single winning tickets during Friday’s sequence. The scheduled post time for the first leg, Race 7, is 3:50 p.m. (EDT).

Enjoy FREE Brisnet Premium Past Performances for the entire Saturday card here.

Here’s a pre-scratch look at how I’ll play:

Race 7 — Allowance

#4 RY’S THE GUY (9-2) dominated maiden foes in the slop last time and seems to be on the upswing. His dam won the 1000 Guineas (G1) and has reared several grass stakes winners, so this surface switch might prove agreeable to him. #8 BATTLE OF MEMPHIS (4-1) rebounded with a better effort in late May, finishing a clear second at this level. Fade two back currently an outlier on his past performances. #10 SALVATOR MUNDI (10-1) narrowly missed winning the Bourbon (G3) last fall and was likely out of his element when his comeback run earlier this month was switched to a sloppy main track due to rain. Better expected here. #12 SPEED GUN (12-1) has captured both outings wire-to-wire, and connections held on to him after bringing him back in an N2L claimer off a 15+ month layoff. Fits against these.

Race 8 — $120,000 Kelly’s Landing

The two class horses in the field are #1 UNCONTESTED (7-2) and #8 WARRIOR’S CLUB (5-2). The former debuts for Tom Amoss here and won from slightly off the pace in his lone victory under the Spires, but in general is more of a need-the-lead type. Warrior’s Club only 1-for-13 at the Downs, but has generally faced more imposing fields and was a below-par sixth in the Churchill Downs (G1) last time.

Race 9 — Allowance

This might prove too short a trip for morning line favorite Om, so we’ll instead go with a longer-priced trio. #1 ANGASTON (12-1) has endured some troubled starts of late, but generally runs well over this course and should threaten if everything goes cleanly. #2 UNDRAFTED‘s (7-2) only “bad” run over this course was in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2) last time when he finished fourth, but was only a head and neck from earning runner-up honors. Classy veteran has won here the last two times Lanerie was in the saddle. Stakes-winning #7 DONE DEAL (8-1) has fired very fresh over this course in the past and seemingly better then downturn in form last fall would suggest.

Race 10 — $125,000 Debutante

#7 MAGIC DANCE (8-5) will be a popular single in this sequence off a blowout debut win over next-out winner Josie. Figures more like an even-money or odds-on choice and will use accordingly.

Race 11 — Bashford Manor (G3)

In contrast, this juvenile male stakes race seems more wide open. #1 PHANTOM BOSS (9-5) beat Cal-breds to graduate last time, but before that was a neck behind eventual Tremont winner Fore Left in an open maiden special at Santa Anita. The maiden #2 SNELL YEAH (8-1) showed improvement second out and could get first run if the speed begins to crumble. #4 ROOKIE SALSA (5-1) won the $125,000 Kentucky Juvenile on Derby week, then ran against the grain of the track when a distant third in the Tremont to the aforementioned Fore Left. #10 ROWDY YATES (7-2) appeared to have more to give when graduating on debut geared down for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Race 12 — Maiden

#2 MY AMERICA (12-1) faded late in his turf debut last September after two scheduled grass appearances were washed out. This extremely well-bred colt is out of a half-sister to European star filly Peeping Fawn, and hails from the family of Broodmares of the Year Better Than Honour and Best in Show. Probably capable of better. First-time starter #3 MUSICIAN (12-1) has a strong trainer/jockey combo of Walsh/Gaffalione in his corner. Dam has produced grass stakes winners Euphony and Strike Again, as well as Grade 3-placed Tequila Joe. All won first time out. #5 ALFONS WALDE (4-1) showed noticeable improvement in his second stateside appearance and is a logical threat off that effort.

Here’s the 20-cent ticket:

4,8,10,12 with 1,8 with 1,2,7 with 7 with 1,2,4,10 with 2,3,5 = $57.60

Good luck!

PHOTO: Magic Dance (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs

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Friday last chance to claim Churchill Downs’ Single 6 Jackpot before mandatory payout

The Single 6 Jackpot at Churchill Downs has gone un-hit, and the carryover will be $309,368 heading into Friday’s 11-race card, the last chance to take down the Jackpot before the carryover all goes to a mandatory payout on closing day, Saturday, June 29.

Before there is a giant Saturday mandatory payout carryover pool, however, the Single 6 jackpot must remain un-hit through Friday. That’s one more chance for you to get the entire pot. With a 20-cent denomination, you can play many ticket combinations in the Single 6 for an affordable amount of money. Weather may be a factor on Friday, with rain possible both late Thursday and Friday. This is important, obviously, because there are two turf races scheduled in the Friday sequence, and there is a decent possibility the main track could be wet.

If you are going to play Churchill’s Single 6 Jackpot Friday, you can simply play it as a normal Pick 6 and go for a non-jackpot payout for the day’s winning tickets. If you hope to land the only winning ticket for the jackpot, however, you will need to include some high-priced long-odds horses on your ticket and hope for the best.

Here is a ticket constructed not only to have a shot at the Pick 6, but also to provide some bombs for a chance at the whole pool and the carryover:


Waste no time going jackpot hunting by going against the favorites in this seven-furlong optional claiming race to begin the Single 6 Jackpot sequence. TRAPPE VALLEY (#10) (5-1) comes from Arlington in good form and owns more dirt wins than Polytrack wins. The other best contenders here are good prices including GREELEYS CHARM (#7) (8-1), who likes Churchill Downs and is two-for-two at the distance, and FLASH ATTACK (#9) (10-1), who improved at Belterra Park last time with a second behind a repeat next-out winner and has run well on several different circuits.


Narrow the 11-horse field in this seven-furlong claiming race down to two main contenders by using ARTEMUS BRIDGE (#3) (3-1), who has been doing very well since switching to dirt at Churchill and now drops in class to a level at which he should win. Artemus Bridge could be a single, but SUMMERDUCK (#8) (4-1) cannot be ignored after winning two of his three starts at the current Churchill meet. He goes first out off the claim by Norman McKnight, who wins 32 percent first off the claim.


This 5 1/2-furlong optional claiming dash is the first turf race of the Single 6 Jackpot sequence, and you can try to nail it down with three horses whether the race ends up on the grass or off-the-turf. Go three deep here either way. On the turf or off, the horse to beat is probably SIR NAVIGATOR (#4) (3-1), who destroyed Churchill Downs claimers at six furlongs two races ago and then ran big last time at this distance and level to just miss in a turf sprint by a nose when beating some of these same horses. On the turf, the best upset chances belong to LEINSTER (#3) (9-2) and MISTER MAESTRO (#7) (7-2). If this ends up off the turf, replace the latter two with BEST OF GREELEY (#8) (30-1), who is a dirt horse who likes a wet track, and main-track only entrant CONTROL STAKE (#1A) (10-1).


Go four deep in this seven-furlong claiming race with an 11-horse field that could be highly-impacted depending on whether or not the track is wet. D SQUARED (#4) (5-2) returned from a long layoff and reeled off two straight wins at this Churchill meet for Steve Asmussen. He easily could make it three in a row. The x-factor in this race is CRAWL FROM THE BAR (#6) (8-1), a Polytrack horse who makes his career dirt debut in his 10th start here. If he handles this surface he’ll be tough, because his form stacks up very well against this field. Horses who could benefit from a wet track who should be on your tickets are INDIGO YANKEE (#2) (5-1), who won a starter allowance on a sloppy track at Saratoga last season, and FIREHORN (#8) (30-1), who drops in from an allowance last time and ran a good race in the mud at Keeneland last fall.


This one-mile high-priced allowance optional claiming race with a full field features a strong-looking favorite and one appealing-looking possible upsetter. Use both. Start with the favorite, GET THE PRIZE (#7) (8-5), who has been knocking on the door here at Churchill Downs at this level with back-to-back runner-up finishes, including one on a fast track and one in the slop. If he ends up coming in second once again, it will likely be because TWELFTH LABOUR (#11) (8-1) beats him. Twelfth Labour broke his maiden here two races ago in fine fashion over a track labeled wet-fast, beating a next-out winner.


This maiden special weight going a grassy mile features several main contenders either drawn on the also-eligible or main-track only list. For our Single 6 Jackpot tickets, anywhere from one to three horses from this race will get onto our tickets depending on scratches. As many as two horses from the AEs could get onto our ticket if this race stays on the turf. If it’s off the turf, two horses from the MTOs could be on the ticket. One horse that’s for sure, on turf or off turf, is OUR BAY B RUTH (#10) (5-2), who looks good on either surface. If also-eligibles ELLE M’A SOURI (#11) (5-1) and BRIE’S LUCKY CHARM (#12) (5-2) get in the race on the grass, use either or both. If the race is off the turf then use both MTOs, TEMPERIT (#15) (4-1) and LEMON’S MEDAGLIA (#16) (6-1).

The SINGLE 6 JACKPOT ticket for Friday, June 28:

Go  3  x  2  x  3  x  4  x  2  for the first five legs, and use 1-3 horses in the final leg depending on scratches. At a .20 denomination, this combination will cost:

$28.80 with one starter in race 11
$57.60 with two starters in race 11
$86.40 with three starters in race 11

Here are the numbers:

On turf
7, 9, 10  /  3, 8  /  3, 4, 7  /  2, 4, 6, 8  /  7, 11  /  10, 11, 12

Off the turf
7, 9, 10  /  3, 8  /  1a, 4, 8  /  2, 4, 6, 8  /  7, 11  /  10, 15, 16

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Churchill Downs’ Single 6 Jackpot up for grabs ahead of mandatory payout

The Single 6 Jackpot at Churchill Downs has gone un-hit, and the carryover has reached a huge $294,725 heading into Thursday’s eight-race card. The clock is ticking down on just two more chances remaining to take down the Single 6 Jackpot before the carryover reaches a mandatory payout on closing day, Saturday, June 29.

Before there is a giant Saturday mandatory payout carryover pool, however, the Single 6 Jackpot must remain un-hit for two more days. That’s two more chances for you to get the entire pot. With a 20-cent denomination, you can play many ticket combinations for an affordable amount of money. Weather will be in the Louisville area Thursday, but precipitation, if any, should hold off until after the races.

If you are going to play Churchill’s Single 6 Jackpot Thursday and Friday, you can simply play it as a normal Pick 6 and go for a non-jackpot payout for the day’s winning tickets. If you hope to land the only winning ticket for the Jackpot, however, you will need to include some high-priced horses on your ticket and hope for the best.

Here is a ticket constructed not only to have a shot at the Pick 6, but also to provide some bombs for a chance at the whole pool and the carryover:


You can cover the majority of the contenders in this eight-horse optional claiming race at one mile with just three horses on your ticket. COLOR ME PRETTY (#4) (3-1) easily won a similar one-mile Churchill dirt race last fall and is seven-for-19 in the win column in her career. Her BRIS Speed figures stack up well here, and her loss under the Twin Spires two back was in a key race against very much tougher competition. MIZZEN AIR (#5) (7-2) has been in the money in three recent races at this level on this circuit, but none of them were at this distance. She’ll improve here based on her 4-3-0-1 career record at a mile. BABAKNOWSEVRYTHING (#6) (5-1) also loves this distance (5-3-1-0) and should be forgiven for a big loss last out when she lost best chance with a bad start.


Most of the horses in this six-furlong maiden-claiming race either have done very little mostly at longshot odds so far in their careers, or are first-time starters from barns not usually associated with first-out winners. That leaves two main contenders, including COPPER FIDDLE (#10) (7-2), who ran a promising second in his career debut two races ago and could rebound in this spot. The other main contender is SLICK SILVER (#11) (3-1), who has run decent tries everywhere he’s been except Keeneland and now drops in against maiden claimers to finally graduate.


This is a wide-open 11-horse, one-mile high-priced optional claiming race that will be one of the toughest legs of the Single 6 Jackpot for handicappers. Favored GRANDEZZA (#7) (5-2) has improved markedly since adding blinkers two races ago, graduating last time with a big BRIS Speed figure. She must be used, as well as mid-priced contenders like SOCIAL CIRCLE (#4) (8-1), who just missed behind a repeat next-out winner last time, and KIM K (#9) (6-1), who was a restricted stakes winner as a two-year-old and will benefit from her return from a seven-month layoff at this level here last time out. This race also offers the opportunity to put a live bomb on the ticket with AGI’S CAIT (#5) (15-1), who ran big to just miss in a one-turn mile on Arlington’s Polytrack last out. Evidently the connections seem to think she’s better on dirt.


This turf route allowance race is another of the tough spots in the Pick 6 sequence that will be tough to get past on a reasonably-sized ticket. Take the three best challengers and hope for the best. BIG TORCH KEY (#7) (9-2) graduated last out with a solid win at Keeneland, beating today’s rival Avigale, who came back to graduate in his next race. RED ISLAND (#9) (7-2) nearly went wire-to-wire at this level here last time until settling for second beaten less than a length. TRACKSMITH (#11) (9-2) must overcome a seven-month layoff but goes out for trainer Joe Sharp, who wins off these kinds of breaks, and was stakes-placed on grass as a two-year-old.


In this seven-furlong optional-claiming dirt race, you could spread around or take a stand on one standout. If you are playing an economical ticket, the latter is advised. This race offers a solid potential single with MAGIC TAPIT (#7) (5-1), who has been average in his five turf/synthetic starts, but sensational in his one start so far on a dirt track when he ran a fast seven furlongs to win a Gulfstream Park allowance in January. If he comes close to running back to that career best, he should beat this bunch.


If you’re fortunate enough get through to the final leg with a live ticket, you should have at least four of the 12 starters in this 1 1/8-mile maiden-claiming dirt race. In a race overloaded with plodders, go with the ones with some tactical speed like FLAT OUT BEAUTIFUL (#4) (3-1), BIRD DOG (#8) (6-1) and the live longshot jackpot kind of horse you’ll need, HYPERSONIC (#9) (20-1). The one plodder you might want on your ticket would be DOBY (#6) (7-2).

The SINGLE 6 JACKPOT ticket (20 cent) for Thursday, June 27:

4, 5, 6  /  10, 11  /  4, 5, 7, 9  /  7, 9, 11  /  7  /  4, 6, 8, 9 = $57.60

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How to build a Churchill Downs Single 6 Jackpot ticket

If not hit Thursday or Friday, there will be a significant mandatory distribution of the Single 6 Jackpot on closing day of the Churchill Downs Spring/Summer meet on Saturday.

With a 20-cent minimum cost for each combination, getting involved in the Single 6 mandatory payout is well within the reach of players with even the humblest of budgets. Pooling your capital with one or more people is also another fun way to increase your chances of cashing while spreading the risk.

However, like other multi-race exotics, there are good ways and bad ways in formulating tickets. With a low minimum cost, the enticement might be there to include as many horses as possible in each leg of the Single 6 sequence – an extreme form of a “caveman” ticket.

There are problems with that approach, not the least of which is the potentiality of reducing your profit margin if too many favorites or other short-price horses win. The worst case scenario would be hitting the Single 6 having invested more into the wager than you get in return.

The primary key in creating any successful multi-race exotic ticket is the ability to take a stand in one or more races with the minimum amount of horses while spreading out in races that seem more contentious and wide open.

With it being closing day and field sizes likely to be very large, finding “singles” during the Single 6 sequence could prove challenging, but sharp handicapping will potentially reward those players who can find them while expanding coverage in races that don’t seem as clear cut.

If singles are hard to come by in the opinion of some bettors participating in the Single 6, the low minimum cost of the wager affords players the leeway of using an extra horse without busting the bankroll. Using two horses or less in as many races as possible is ideal, especially if avoiding altogether heavy favorites or vulnerable short-priced contenders everyone else is using.

Another ideal scenario is defeating a favorite, if possible, in the first leg. The only race in the sequence where bettors can see the actual win odds, beating the first favorite in the Single 6 is a great beginning as it significantly reduces the number of live tickets remaining. Indeed, latching onto several higher-priced winners early and being live to a number of scenarios (whether short-priced or not) later in the sequence can be the best of all worlds.

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