How to bet the 2023 Thanksgiving Classic Stakes

November 22nd, 2023

A talented field of nine will travel six panels on the Fair Grounds main surface in Thursday’s $200,000 Thanksgiving Classic S. The morning-line choice is Paul McGee’s #9 Miles Ahead (2-1), who comes in with a handful of stakes placings in succession from as many outings in 2023. The Competitive Edge six-year-old is winless since September of 2022, however, and I will seek more value on top in the heat. 

Thanksgiving Day Stakes Wager

#7 Super Ocho (5-1) is the one to catch and beat in my opinion. The five-year-old son of Dubai Sky has a world of early speed and could clear this cast in the early stages with Vicente Del-Cid in the stirrups. The Chilean-bred bay was clear turning for home in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) before finishing four lengths shy under the wire, displaying his immense early foot in the process. This Amador Sanchez trainee was a facile winner in his first run since the spring last time out, and he will be tough to run down with his top effort on Thanksgiving. 

Neill Pessin’s #5 Minnesota Ready (6-1) owns a win and a third on the oval from a trio of career tries at Fair Grounds and rates a logical top-three chance from off the pace. The dark bay son of More Than Ready was an even third in an allowance tilt going long at Keeneland in his most recent endeavor and the Lothenbach homebred will cut back in trip second time off the short break, which I think will benefit the gelding. Regular pilot Corey Lanerie will be in the stirrups, making one from off the pace atop the sneaky contender. 

Miles Ahead is consistently very good and wouldn’t be a surprise in the tilt. The Kentucky-bred six-year-old is 8-for-17 at the distance and shows seven stakes placings from his last eight overall tries, although the lone unplaced result did happen on this oval. The Jay Em Ess color bearer has tactical speed and a nice turn of foot, and the gelding figures to get first run at the top of the lane with Joe Talamo in the irons.