Churchill Downs: Betting the $3,260 Super High 5 carryover

June 8th, 2024

Belmont Stakes Day at Saratoga is attracting most of the Saturday attention, but don’t overlook the $3,260 Super High 5 carryover up for grabs at Churchill Downs.

The non-jackpot prize pool is available to chase right off the bat in Race 1, a $50,000 claimer for horses who have never won two races. Seven horses have entered the 1 1/16-mile dirt contest, so there are only 2,520 possible Super High 5 outcomes to analyze.

It’s a tricky race to handicap because none of the entrants bring especially inspiring form to the table. #1 Route Runner (5-2) is certainly a logical threat after finishing second in a 1 1/8-mile race over this track and class level on May 12, beaten only 1 1/4 lengths while earning an 87 Brisnet Speed rating that matches the par winning number for Saturday’s conditions. But since Route Runner is exiting a defeat over this class level, it’s hard to view him as a lock to win.

On the bright side, there isn’t much speed on paper in Race 1, so the pace-tracking speed Route Runner displayed on May 12 figures to come in handy. It could also aid #6 Express Line (7-2), a three-year-old shipping in from California for trainer Peter Eurton, who has gone 1-for-3 (33%) at Churchill Downs this meet.

Express Line has yet to run farther than 6 1/2 furlongs, the distance over which he wired a $50,000 maiden claimer at Del Mar last December, earning an 86 Brisnet Speed rating. He’s only run once since then, finishing fourth in a Jan. 15 $50,000 starter optional claimer over the same distance at Santa Anita.

Express Line is bred to handle stretching out over 1 1/16 miles, so who’s to say he won’t secure an easy lead in his route debut and take this field all the way on the front end? Eurton wins at a 25% rate with horses running long for the first time, and Express Line enters off a pair of half-mile workouts in :47 1/5 at Keeneland, so there are reasons to believe Express Line will be sharp enough to pull it off.

Here’s how we’ll bet the Super High 5:

  • $1 Super High 5: 1,6 with 1,6 with 2,4,5 with 2,3,4,5,7 with 2,3,4,5,7 ($72)

We should also mention that, if there are any scratches from Race 1, that will reduce the field size below the seven-horse minimum for Super High 5 wagering. In that case, the carryover will instead be offered in Race 2, a $40,000 maiden claimer for two-year-olds sprinting five furlongs on dirt.

The 10-horse field looks quite competitive, but we’re drawn to the chances of #5 Happyflyer (3-1), who flashed speed when debuting in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Keeneland. He tired to finish fifth that day, but he’s since been gelded and transferred to the care of trainer Chris Richard, a 25% winner with horses dropping from maiden special weight to maiden claiming company. A bullet half-mile workout from the Keeneland starting gate in :47 1/5 suggests Happyflyer is ready for a big run, so we recommend keying him on top.

Good luck!