Exotics plays for the 2024 American Turf

May 2nd, 2024

A wildly competitive cast of three-year-olds will vie in Saturday’s $600,000 American Turf S. (G2) at Churchill Downs. In total, 17 colts and geldings have been entered for the 1/16-mile grassy event and any number of the talented sophomores can come out on top in the especially challenging handicapping test.

I don’t know how fast the pace of the race will be, but numerous contenders in the contest like to be involved early on, so using a one-run closer such as #13 Can Group (15-1) makes some sense to me. The Mark Casse trainee has excuses for his pair of 2024 tries leading up to Saturday, and I think that he will be forgotten in the wagering with Prat riding. 

#14 Agate Road (5-1), one of two in the field for Todd Pletcher, didn’t embarrass himself in a pair of graded stakes races on the dirt most recently and will relish the return to the lawn on this occasion. This Quality Road colt does his best work late and is logical to me if the pace is contested early on. 

Shug McGaughey’s #11 Cugino (10-1) was closer to the pace than I expected in the Transylvania S. (G3) when he finished a game runner-up at Keeneland. The Twirling Candy colt has tactical speed, but he will not be in the mix early against this cast from an outer post slot. The $225,000 yearling purchase will be moving into contention approaching the turn for home under Javier Castellano. 

I’ll also give a winning chance to #1 Twirling Point (15-1) at a fine price. The Jonathan Thomas trainee has been consistently good in five straight, and if he can carve out a sensible voyage under Florent Geroux from the fence, then the Augustin Stable homebred will be a menacing figure inside the final furlong. 

I surely have a measure of fear of morning-line choice #5 Legend of Time (7-2) who rolled home to a trio of sharp wins in succession at Meydan this season. The Sea the Stars colt from the barn of expert horseman Charlie Appleby could be any kind in this spot, but taking a relatively short number in a field with so much depth is not something I am a big fan of. I’ll toss him in some of the lower rungs of the gimmicks, but not in the top two slots. 

American Turf exotics

  • $3 Exacta: box 1,11,13,14 ($36)
  • 50-cent Trifecta: 13,14 with 1,11,13,14 with ALL ($36)
  • 10-cent Superfecta: 13,14 with 1,11,13,14 with 1,5,11,13,14 with ALL ($19.80)