Churchill Downs spot plays and Pick 3 for June 3

June 1st, 2023

Churchill Downs' Stephen Foster Preview Day on Saturday, June 3, will feature six stakes worth $1.35 million, including the Regret (G3), Aristides S., Audubon S., Shawnee (G3), Arlington (G3), and Blame (G3).

Below we offer spot plays for the above stakes in Races 6-8 and provide a Pick 3 ticket combining the three races.

$3 Pick 3: 1, 4 with 7 with 4, 6 ($12)

Race 6: Aristides S., 6 furlongs, 4yos and up

#3 Gunite (9-5) opened as a slight morning line favorite among a strong field of five, but the four-year-old has failed to win his last two when racing near today's distance. He was last seen finishing a half-length third to today's race rival #1 Sibelius (5-2) in the Golden Shaheen (G1) at Dubai and was beaten 3 1/4 lengths when second to Elite Power two back in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint (G3) on the Saudi Cup undercard.

Three back, the Gun Runner colt romped to a four-length win over another of today's race rivals, #2 Tejano Twist (5-1), in the King Cotton S. over a sloppy Oaklawn track while under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. With today's rider, Tyler Gaffalione, Gunite has done his best work racing at 6 1/2 to seven furlongs.

We'll stand against the favorite here and back #1 Sibelius (5-2), who drops in class off his Golden Shaheen victory and has won three straight in races between six and seven furlongs. The Not This Time gelding is 4-for-9 from today's distance for his career but finished second in his lone start at Churchill. Trainer Jeremiah O'Dwyer is a 20% winner with horses that won their last race and a 15% winner off a 46- to 90-day layoff. Junior Alvardo, a 19% winner with sprint distances, will regain the mount. Sibelius has not raced since March 25, but the five-year-old has put in a number of sharp works ahead of his third start of the season.

We'll also include #4 Bango (2-1), who dominated by five lengths in the St. Matthews Overnight S. on May 4 at Churchill to record his 10th win at Churchill Downs, which places him second on the all-time win list at the track. The Congrats six-year-old posted a 101 Brisnet Speed figure in the process and will go for his 11th victory at the track today in his second start off a layoff. Greg Foley is a 24% winner in non-graded stakes and a 15% winner with horses that won their last race. Hot jockey John Velazquez (25% winner this meet) will pick up the mount with Gaffalione aboard Gunite.

Race 7: Audubon S., 1 1/8 miles, 3yos

#7 Webslinger (8-5) took a huge step forward with a career-best 96 Brisnet Speed figure when winning the 1 1/16-mile American Turf S. (G2) at Churchill as a 23-1 longshot last out on May 6. The Constitution gelding will make his fifth start of the season for trainer Mark Casse, a 14% winner in non-graded stakes. Javier Castellano (2-for-10 this meet) will retain the mount and strikes at a 13% rate on turf. We'll single the closer over morning line favorite #6 Sharar (9-5), who makes his first U.S. start since transferring to the barn of Todd Pletcher, a 9% winner with shippers to the U.S. The Gun Runner colt was last seen winning a 1 1/4-mile allowance at Meydan in Dubai and romped to a four-length win two back when racing at today’s distance at the same track. Luis Saez, a 13% winner on turf, will pick up the mount on the three-year-old, who makes his first start since Feb. 24.

Race 8: Shawnee S. (G3), 1 1/16 miles, 4yo and up fillies and mares

#4 Idiomatic (5-1) snapped a three-win streak when she came home an even second last out in the one-mile Ruffian (G2) at Belmont May 6. Two back, the Curlin filly won by two lengths in the 1 1/16-mile Latonia S. on Turfway’s all-weather and cleared late to triumph by 1 1/2 lengths in an allowance optional claimer at the same track Feb. 16. Trainer Brad Cox is a 31% winner this meet and a 26% winner in graded stakes, while new rider Florent Geroux is a 24% winner with routes and a 23% winner at Churchill. The four-year-old also posted a bullet five-furlong workout at Churchill May 27, indicating she may be ready to take another step forward in her third start on dirt.

We'll back Idiomatic at 5-1 odds and include morning line favorite #6 Frost Point (2-1) in our Pick 3 ticket. The Frosted mare flashed a 98 BRIS figure when winning the Doubledogdare (G3) at Keeneland on April 21 and will make her second start off a layoff, a winning move 20% of the time for trainer Kenny McPeek. Junior Alvarado will pick up the mount on the five-year-old, who is 3-2-1-0 from today’s distance and 2-0-1-0 at Churchill.