How to bet with, and against, Zozos in the Churchill Downs Stakes

May 2nd, 2024

A really nice field of 11 older males will run seven furlongs on dirt in Saturday’s $1 million Churchill Downs S. (G1) at Churchill Downs.

The Brad Cox-trained #6 Zozos (3-1) will make his first appearance following a six-month layoff and is the slight morning-line choice in the deep contest. By Munnings, the dark bay is 2-for-3 on the oval and has trained steadily in advance of his comeback, but I will not be playing the five-year-old at his current number. I surely don’t fault those who will, but I think that this group has too much depth to settle on a relatively short number in the event. 

The most intriguing runner in the field to me is the D. Wayne Lukas-conditioned #7 Track Mate (12-1) who will make his initial stakes run. The Calumet homebred lacks the back class of most of the runners in the field, but he has run a pair of fantastic races since the addition of blinkers and I also think that getting another furlong with which to work with will be a benefit to him, as well. He might be a bit of a reach, but his form is ideal and I like the bullet drill in preparing for this demanding test too. Keith Asmussen picks up the mount. 

#11 Hoist the Gold (7-2) was an excellent second to Cody’s Wish in the event in 2023 and will be a major player with anything resembling that outing. Trained by Dallas Stewart, the dark bay son of Mineshaft likes both the course and the distance, and the multiple Grade 2 victor comes in fresh with good morning activity as of late. John Velazquez will ride. 

If Jose Ortiz sends #3 Bo Cruz (10-1) from the start of the heat, then I can envision him being on the lead without an abundance of pressure in the early going. The recent Commonwealth (G3) victor is very talented and this distance might be his ideal one, as the son of Creative Cause proved in his latest offering. He wouldn’t be a surprise to me. 

#4 Mr. Wireless (6-1) appeared at Fair Grounds on March 14 off of a 10-month absence and registered a 107 Brisnet Speed figure in a high-level allowance romp while going six furlongs. The Dialed In gelding has always been of stakes quality, but my thinking is that keeping him around one turn could be the key for him to achieve greater success going forward. He will stalk a potential slow pace early under Reylu Gutierrez. 

Zozos  – With

  • $40 win #6 Zozos ($40)
  • $5 Exacta: 6 with 3,4,7,11 ($20)

Zozos – Against

  • $12 win and place #7 Track Mate ($24)
  • $2 Exacta: box 3,4,7,11 ($24)
  • 50-cent Trifecta: 7,11 with 3,4,6,7,11 with 3,4,6,7,11 ($12)