Expert Pick of the Week: 2023 Dogwood Stakes

September 20th, 2023

A talented field of nine sophomore fillies will travel seven-eighths of a mile on the Churchill Downs main oval in Saturday’s $300,000 Dogwood S. (G3). The well-matched cast lacks a standout in what looks like an attractive betting affair. 

Godolphin homebred Twice as Sweet has gotten back to her best form as of late and gets the nod for conditioner Brendan Walsh. By Candy Ride, the three-year-old had a nice juvenile campaign, which included a stakes romp at Laurel Park, and following a pair of unplaced efforts to commence 2023, the chestnut has registered a pair of very good results leading up to her local bow. 

Twice as Sweet rallied to be a clear second in the Pea Patch S. on the Ellis Park turf in her latest venture and figures to thrive with the return to the dirt on Saturday. She possesses tactical speed combined with a nice turn of foot, and I expect the well-bred miss to sit a very good trip just off of a contested pace to the top of the lane against this field. Declan Cannon will guide the stalker. 

The Lindsay Schultz-trained Yesternight will bring a lot of pace to the race from the rail on the cutback in distance. By Midnight Storm, the $50,000 yearling purchase was a dominant maiden winner on debut at Oaklawn Park in April, and following a third-place allowance run at Monmouth Park, the Kentucky-bred dominated her competition at that venue two prior while earning a hefty 99 Brisnet Speed figure in the process. Second in the Cathryn Sophia S. at Parx while running long last time out, the dark bay wisely returns to sprint racing and will be a factor from the opening bell. James Graham has the assignment. 

Metaphysical is a multiple stakes-placed filly coming off of a fourth-place finish in the recent Charles Town Oaks (G3) for trainer Jeff Hiles. The chestnut daughter of American Freedom has just a maiden win to her credit to this stage of her development, but the sophomore has held up well while facing black-type foes in five of her last six races. She sizzled a bullet five-eighths on the course last weekend and will be saving ground early on with Ricardo Santana, Jr. in the controls. 

Expert Pick

An exacta with #7 Twice as Sweet on top of #1 Yesternight and #2 Metaphysical in the 2023 Dogwood Stakes is the Best Bet of the Week.