Betting With, and Against, Highland Falls in the Blame Stakes

May 30th, 2024

A total of 10 contenders will aim to take down morning-line choice #2 Highland Falls (5-2) in the $275,000 Blame S. (G3) at Churchill Downs on Saturday. The local prep for the Stephen Foster (G1) attracted a very good group in what looks to be an especially competitive event as part of a huge day of racing in Louisville. 

Highland Falls – With 

  • $30 exacta 2 with 6 ($30)
  • $10 exacta 2 with 3,5 ($20)

Highland Falls – Against

  • $1 trifecta 6 with 2,3,5 with all ($27)
  • 50-cent superfecta 6 with 2,3,5 with 2,3,5 with all ($24)

Race Shape:

A quartet of runners will flash speed and the pace will be strong, in my opinion. #1 Frosted Departure (15-1) has to leave from the rail under Julien Leparoux, and he will be joined by the speedy #4 Uncle Jake (30-1) and Kenny McPeek’s accomplished #7 Classic Causeway (30-1), as well as multiple stakes winner #10 Five Star General (30-1). I don’t envision a scenario where the tempo will be soft. 

The next flight of runners will include #3 War Campaign (9-2), #9 Cagliostro (6-1), and Clark (G2) winner #11 Trademark (12-1), and of this trio, I like War Campaign best. The Declaration of War five-year-old has been second behind excellent winners in two straight and sports a 6-3-0-3 mark on the surface. He’ll be in my exotics wagers with Tyler Gafflione in the stirrups. 

I prefer the deeper closing types in this particular spot, as I feel that they are among the most talented horses in the field, and they will also get a great setup too. The quartet that will be unhurried early include Highland Falls, Grade 1 victor #5 Tapit Trice (3-1)#6 Dreamilke (4-1), and #8 Last Samurai (20-1). And this looks like an ideal spot for Dreamlike to pick up his first stakes trophy. 

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the four-year-old was not overly consistent last campaign, but he was plenty good on his best days, and the Gun Runner colt hints that he will be an important horse in the second half of the season. He had a nice prep for Saturday in a Keeneland allowance event and will appreciate the added ground in his second off the shelf. Irad Ortiz Jr. riding is a bonus. 

Highland Falls is obviously good enough to win the race under the right circumstances coming off a pair of very good graded races in succession. The well-bred son of Curlin has ascending Brisnet Speed numbers, as well as regular pilot Florent Geroux in the silks, but I could see him being outmoved from horses drawn to his outside turning for home.