All-Stakes Pick 3 for Churchill Downs on June 29

June 28th, 2024

A total of six stakes races, led by the $1 million Stephen Foster S. (G1), will take place beneath the Twin Spires on Saturday afternoon. I’ll take aim at the three-race sequence leading up to the feature in hopes of boosting my bankroll for the big one.

Churchill Downs Racetrack Pick 3 Wager

$2 Pick 3: 4,6 with 1,5,8 with 1,7,8 ($36)

Churchill Downs Pick 3 Analysis

Race 8 – Fleur de Lis (G2)

The nine-furlong affair for fillies and mares attracted just six, but the event doesn’t lack quality. #4 Scylla (6-5) is the one to beat for trainer Brad Cox. The Juddmonte homebred is 3-for-3 on the surface and has been razor-sharp in her last pair of performances, led by a fine triumph in the Shawnee S. (G3) most recently. She’s a must-use in her current form cycle.

#6 Xigera (9-2) has yet to regain her 2023 form and was just soundly defeated by Scylla last time out, but she draws outside of that foe and will likely improve in her third run of the season. This Phil Bauer charge will receive an advantageous trip under Julien Leparoux and is not without a chance if she runs her best race. 

Race 9 – American Derby

A well-matched field of eight sophomores will run 1 1/16 miles on the lawn in the middle leg. #1 Green Light (3-1) broke his maiden by 10 lengths on the surface last time out and might be the one to catch in a field with no early speed signed on. The Hard Spun homebred might be a star in the making with Jose Ortiz in the silks.

#5 Agate Road (7-2) adds blinkers after a non-threatening run in the American Turf (G2) most recently for Todd Pletcher. This Grade 2 victor has a fine turn of foot, and if the equipment change aids him and gets him involved earlier, then the son of Quality Road will be a major player under Irad Ortiz Jr.

I’ll also include #8 Brilliant Bertie (8-1) in his stakes debut. One of two in the cast for Cherie DeVaux, the Noble Mission colt has been visually impressive in two wins at the meeting and could secure a very good stalking spot from the break. The Kentucky-bred bay will have Brian Hernandez, Jr. in the silks.

Race 10 – Kelly’s Landing S. 

A field of eight will run 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt in a difficult closing race. I can’t single #1 Anarchist (6-1) in this particular spot, but the Doug O’Neill trainee is my top pick. This Distorted Humor five-year-old finished first or second in all eight outings in 2023 and has seemingly trained well in advance of his return. Antonio Fresu coming in to ride is intriguing, too.

#7 Angkor (5-1) dueled early with the speedy Skelly last time and paid the price late when unplaced in the Aristides S. in his latest dash, but he will have a more suitable voyage in this one. The Anchor Down gelding was a fine allowance victor in his seasonal debut two back, and a repeat of that performance will give him a chance while always forwardly placed under Jose Ortiz.

Churchill legend #8 Bango (6-1), the co-winningest horse on the famed strip with 11 local tallies, can’t be dismissed. The Greg Foley trainee failed as a short-priced favorite off the shelf most recently, but his best effort second off the bench will make the son of Congrats a win threat at a square price.