Churchill Downs Early Pick 5: Wednesday, September 20, 2023

September 20th, 2023

One week into the Churchill Downs Fall meet and the Early Pick 5 payouts are averaging just over $10,000. This five-figure trend will likely continue on Wednesday as the sequence has several vulnerable morning line favorites, including one who will surely be singled on the majority of tickets. 

With a $71,625 carryover in the .20-cent minimum Derby City Pick 6 beginning in Race 4, horseplayers will be pouring over that sequence and deepening the pools throughout the card.

50-cent Pick 5 = $63

  • R1: 1,2,4 (more importantly, against the top choices)
  • R2: 5,7,9
  • R3: 6
  • R4 1,2,4,6,7,8,9
  • R5: 4,9

Race 1 Dirt 6 Furlongs Clm 16000N2L Three-year-old & up fillies and mares 

If prices are similar to the morning line, then I will fade the top three choices and use #1 Tamara's Way (5-1), #2 Dogwoodsmilliejane (6-1), and #4 Social Mandate (6-1). This being the first leg, we get to see their prices and should use that information when finalizing our tickets. My opinions are more about being against these horses at short prices, but I am not cutting in line at the windows to bet on any of them.

The last outing at Kentucky Downs for #1 Tamara's Way (5-1) appeared to simply be a prep, as the jock sat motionlessly aboard for a sharp break, forward placement, and gradual fade towards the rear. Though I am skeptical as the only strong figure she has produced came with the aid of the Ellis speed bias. The four-year-old #2 Dogwoodsmilliejane (6-1) is fresh for this and should be ready to improve off that figure earned in her maiden score this summer. In blinkers we trust for #4 Social Mandate (6-1) who is fresh after giving up early on last out. She could work out a perfect stalk and pounce trip if the pace heats up. 

Race 2 Dirt 1 1/16 Miles Md 30000 Two-year-old fillies

Having swung against the favorites in the lid-lifter, I’ve built a modest amount of equity into my ticket and will back the logicals in the second leg, which fits my handicapping opinion.

#5 Choctaw Grace (5-1) put in a solid debut effort and should step forward at second asking. I’ve watched some game efforts from #7 Wreck It Ruby (7-2) as she is turning for home ready to roll, but she just hasn’t had a clean set-up. She seems to have something to prove. #9 Scarlet Miss (5-2) was rank early but settled nicely debuting at Kentucky Downs earlier this month. Strong figure earned and no doubt will be fit for the stretch out after racing one mile there. 

Race 3 Dirt 1 1/16 Miles Alw 30000s Three-year-olds & Up

My single. A logical one, who could very well be the post-time favorite, but in no way will #6 Master Game (3-1) be leaned on by other tickets so heavily as to minimize a strong payout. Forster’s 2022 claim has turned out to be a profitable one and jockey James Graham knows him well. Master Game has been in fine form while facing much better this year. Looking at the works, Forster seems to have him ready to roll. 

Race 4 Dirt 1 1/16 Miles Md 16000 Three-year-olds & up

I am spread here as there are many questions around this field full of lightly-raced turf to dirt surface changers and class-droppers. I feel confident about spending more to go deep because I am fading the most likely single of the sequence in the next leg. I want to capitalize on being against that favorite, and I don’t want to be tossing horses aside who I can envision winning in here. 

#1 Honor Gold (4-1) has been spinning his wheels on the turf--maybe dirt is the answer? #2 Booster Shot (10-1) had a lot of morning hype but never backed it up in the afternoons. New barn could be the key. #4 My Brother Keith (7-2) ran a sneaky good late effort last out. #​​6 Gordy's Label (5-1) went for a spin on the turf last out prepping for this. It’s been a minute since we’ve seen #7 Solevo (5-1), but this once upon a time $685,000 purchase was sold for $20,000 and Kenneally doesn’t blink about spotting them right to turn a profit. #8 Creative Way (3-1) had trouble in his debut, then nearly clipped heels in his last two efforts, after which both times he basically quit. Attracts Gaffalione who could be the key to a clean trip. The Calumet homebred #9 Generation (15-1) drops to claiming ranks after two runs, both against the race flow, and last out after a tough start, he was never asked. 

If I had to lean on less here, I would circle Solevo and Generation. Generation would be a savvy single.

Race 5 Dirt 6 Furlongs Md 50000 Two-year-olds

The favorite I am against. #10 Stormquist (6-5)’s previous trainer Rivelli backed off on this freshman after he exited a key race in May where he ran well. Stormquist was sold at the Keeneland September sale for $100,000 and was transferred to Cox, who enters him in for a tag, which combined with the purse is less than that purchase price. If he wins, the owners will lose money on this transaction, unless they have plans to capitalize at the windows. Red flags everywhere. Fading this chalk.

#4 Jackson D (8-1) is by Half Ours and that now-deceased Louisiana-based stallion’s freshman are always live, especially at first-asking. #9 Wecallemfuncoupons (6-1) is a half to Nocturnal who debuted with a huge figure as a three-year-old. Englehart is in town on a prospecting mission hoping to strike Kentucky’s golden purses. I can poke too many hotels in the rest of the field’s precocity or pedigree being suitable to the distance/surface to consider using.