Betting With, and Against, First Mission in the Clark Stakes

November 22nd, 2023

A competitive field of 10 will travel 1 1/8 miles on the Churchill Downs dirt in Friday’s lucrative $600,000 Clark S. (G2) at Churchill Downs. The morning-line choice is the lightly raced #2 First Mission (3-1), who has been very impressive from just four career starts to date for trainer Brad Cox. A winner of the Lexington S. (G3) in the spring, the sophomore returned with a game allowance tally at Keeneland most recently and has trained swiftly in the interim. 

First Mission – With

  • $20 exacta 2 with 4,6,10 ($60)

First Mission – Against

  • $.50-cent trifecta 4,6,10 with 2,4,6,10 with all ($36)
  • $.20-cent superfecta 4,6,10 with 2,4,6,10 with 2,4,6,10 with all ($25.20)

First Mission has never lost when traveling a route of ground and gives the impression of a colt who will ace the move to nine furlongs in his local debut. This Godolphin homebred has good tactical speed and will be saving ground while tucked in behind the early leaders with Luis Saez retaining the ride. 

#4 Gasoline (5-1) returned off the seven-month layoff to win a pair of allowance races in succession on the oval and has never been better for trainer Todd Pletcher. The late-developing son of Curlin was always more of a one-paced runner prior to his latest showing, when he displayed a quick turn of foot en route to a powerful allowance score on the strip. The Kentucky-bred chestnut is peaking and is another contender that will appreciate getting more ground to work with, as well. Flavien Prat picking up the mount is a good thing, too. 

Linda Rice’s #6 Film Star (5-1), second in the Woodward S. (G2) two back, exits a close fourth in the Forty Niner S. (G3) in preparation for his return to this venue. The sharp son of Flatter has finished first or second in nine of his last 10 races in total, and the four-year-old colt will bring speed coming off of a one-turn event in his latest performance. Jose Lezcano will be in the irons. 

#10 Blue Devil (10-1) faces a tall task on the class rise combined with drawing widest in the group, but the Jeff Hiles pupil has shown marked improvement since moving to the dirt three back and has a chance at a fair price. The Uncle Mo four-year-old was a close third in the Lukas Classic S. on the strip in his most recent showing and might benefit from an expected swift early tempo in the tilt with Javier Castellano taking the reins. The four-year-old has never been better.