How to bet the 2022 Lukas Classic Stakes

September 29th, 2022

A compact, but accomplished, field of six will vie in Saturday’s $500,000 Lukas Classic S. (G2) at Churchill Downs on Saturday. Four Grade 1 winners will lead the way in the 1 1/8-mile event.

I am not certain that #2 Art Collector (2-1) is the most talented contender in the fine field, but I love both his current form and expected trip in the race, so he will be my top pick for conditioner Bill Mott. By Bernardini, the five-year-old was a winner of three straight leading up to his fifth-place result in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in the fall of 2021, and following his subpar performance in the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) to commence 2022, the bay has won two straight since.

The five-year-old is the inside speed of the field from this post slot, and his last pair of morning drills on the Oklahoma at Saratoga have been superb. Art Collector looks to be sitting on a big performance with regular pilot Luis Saez coming in to ride, which is a major plus in my opinion.

Grade 1 winner #5 Hot Rod Charlie (8-5) never runs a bad one and is an obvious win threat for trainer Doug O’Neill. The Oxbow colt has performed at the highest level since his juvenile season and will make his first local appearance since finishing a close third in the 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) on the oval.

The four-year-old was a respectable third behind Life is Good in the Whitney S. (G1) most recently, and any improvement off that showing will make him a menacing figure throughout on Saturday. I expect the dark bay to race in second from the start with Tyler Gaffalione in the stirrups.

#3 Happy Saver (5-2) has been first or second in 10 of 11 career engagements and was a sharp runner-up in the Whitney S. (G1) in his latest endeavor. The Todd Pletcher pupil, who took the 2020 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), has been runner-up to a trio of the best horses in training this campaign and will be happy to avoid each of those formidable foes on this occasion. John Velazquez will be in the silks atop the Super Saver chestnut.

Lukas Classic Wagers

  • $30 win: #2 Art Collector ($30)
  • $10 trifecta: key 2 with 3, 5 ($20)