Friday’s Best Bets and Quick Picks: 30-1 at Churchill Downs

May 10th, 2024

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares best bets and quick picks for Friday, May 10 at Churchill Downs and Gulfstream Park, including a horse to play in Churchill’s $4,349 Super High 5 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • 10x Points on Harness Racing: Receive 10x reward points on all harness racing wagers (excluding show bets) on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
  • Power Hour 15% Profit Boost: Receive a 15% bonus on all winning win, exacta, trifecta, and superfecta wagers (up to $25 for the day) on any eligible race between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET.

Best Bets and Quick Picks

Churchill Downs: Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs, 1:14 p.m. ET)

Trainer Ignacio Correas IV wins only 4% of the time with first-time starters, but #6 Flaming Glory (30-1) might turn out to be one of the winners. The two-year-old filly is a daughter of Flameaway, an early-maturing juvenile who won his debut in May before going on to take the Skidmore S., Bourbon (G3), Kitten’s Joy S., and Sam F. Davis (G3) by February of his three-year-old season.

Flameaway sires a healthy 12% winners from first-time starters, and it’s worth noting that the only time Correas debuted a juvenile at Churchill Downs during the first half of a year since 2019, that horse—Therideofalifetime—finished second at 9-1 behind future champion Jackie’s Warrior. Therideofalifetime would win his next start and then place second in the Saratoga Special (G2).

Flaming Glory has already posted eight timed workouts at Keeneland, including half a mile from the starting gate in :48 1/5 and five furlongs in 1:01 4/5. She should be fit for a competitive debut, so at 30-1 we’ll bet Flaming Glory to win and leave it at that.


  • #6 Flaming Glory (30-1)
  • #9 Citizen Judy (7-2)
  • #7 Daisy Duke (8-1)


  • $25 to win on #6 Flaming Glory

Gulfstream Park: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs on Tapeta, 2:40 p.m. ET)

Trainer David Carlos has compiled a 3-for-10 (30%) record saddling first-time starters in Tapeta sprints at Gulfstream Park. Therefore, #5 Super Freaky Girl (7-2) is worth a play while debuting for Carlos.

Super Freaky Girl is a daughter of the capable sprinter Bucchero, who is siring 14% winners from first-time starters. She’s bred for speed and worked a reasonably quick half-mile from the Palm Meadows starting gate in :49 3/5 last Sunday, so at 7-2 Super Freaky Girl is worthy of a win bet.


  • #5 Super Freaky Girl (7-2)
  • #4 Far and Few (4-5)
  • #1 Play Misty (6-1)


  • $25 to win on #5 Super Freaky Girl

Churchill Downs: Race 7: Allowance (1 3/16 miles, 3:50 p.m. ET)

Speed was incredibly dominant over the Keeneland main track on April 12. Seven of the nine dirt races were won in gate-to-wire fashion, and an eighth was nabbed by a horse who raced in second place (no more than half a length off the lead) during the early going.

The only winner to make up any meaningful ground over the sloppy and biased track was #5 Midnight Raid (5-2), who closed from fourth place by 2 1/2 lengths to obliterate a 1 1/16-mile $30,000 starter allowance by 9 3/4 lengths. He managed to dominate despite the fact that the pacesetter (who held on to finish second) escaped with thoroughly modest fractions of :24.49, :49.21, and 1:13.92.

Midnight Raid had previously rallied to win a $50,000 starter allowance at Fair Grounds, so it’s safe to say the five-year-old gelding is in hot form. Assuming he catches a fair track at Churchill Downs, he’ll have every chance to record a third straight victory.


  • #5 Midnight Raid (5-2)
  • #1 Kissalot (9-2)
  • #6 Hurry Hurry (2-1)


  • $35 to win on #5 Midnight Raid

Carryover Watch

Churchill Downs: Race 1: $4,349 Super High 5 carryover (12:45 p.m. ET)

The Friday card at Churchill Downs is kicking off on a high note with a $4,349 Super High 5 carryover up for grabs in Race 1, a $10,000 maiden claimer for three-year-olds and older horses tackling the unusual configuration of 7 1/2 furlongs on dirt.

Deciphering the 10-horse field isn’t easy, because many of the horses are dropping in class, meaningfully changing distances, and/or switching surfaces. But it’s encouraging to note that the fastest horse in the field from a Brisnet Speed rating standpoint—#7 Erasmus (6-1)—is appealing in many respects and a logical choice to take home first prize at enticing odds.

Erasmus earned his field-topping 72 Brisnet Speed rating two starts back, when he rallied to finish fourth by three lengths in a $15,000 maiden claimer sprinting six furlongs over the Turfway Park Tapeta track.

Some bettors might write off Erasmus and his top rating because in his most recent start, he switched to dirt for a $20,000 maiden claimer at Keeneland and finished last by a huge margin, earning a 23 Brisnet Speed rating.

But there are reasons to forgive that no-show performance. For starters, Erasmus was taking on tougher competition than he’ll encounter at Churchill Downs. For another, that race took place on the above-mentioned April 12 card that was dominated by speed, and Erasmus didn’t have much chance to win after racing off the early pace.

Lastly, Erasmus showed fine form in his only other start on dirt, finishing second in a May 2023 maiden special weight racing one mile at Belterra Park, earning a 71 Brisnet Speed rating. The winner, Navy Cross, returned to dominate a Belterra allowance by 6 1/2 lengths in his next start.

Erasmus ought to encounter a fair track at Churchill Downs, and when coupled with the fact he’s dropping in class, the door is open for a much-improved performance. The 7 1/2-furlong distance should suit Erasmus just fine, and jockey Luan Machado (a solid 19% winner this year) is named to ride, so we recommend building Super High 5 tickets around Erasmus, counting on him to finish either first or second.

Good luck!