Longshots and value plays for Churchill Downs racing on May 25

May 24th, 2024

Churchill Downs will feature an 11-race card on Saturday over Memorial Day weekend, headlined by the $250,000 Keertana S. for fillies and mares in Race 10.

Below we look at a couple of longshots and value plays to consider for horizontal or vertical wagers throughout Saturday's card.

TwinSpires is also offering a Selected Races Money Back offer, where you can get up to $10 back on your first win bet if your horse finishes second or third in select races every Friday through Sunday. On Saturday’s card, Races 3, 6, and 9 are eligible if you opt in to the promo at TwinSpires.com or on the TwinSpires app.

Race 6: Seven furlongs, maiden special weight, fillies and mares

#6 Genetics (5-2) will race on Lasix for the first time for Bill Mott while returning off a six-month layoff and has finished no better than third in four career starts. We’ll try to beat the favorite and look for value among the 11-horse field. First-time starter #7 Prides Crossing (9-2) is by Quality Road, whose progeny win 13% of the time first time out, and the filly’s dam has a winner from two starters. Trainer Paulo Lobo strikes at a 22% rate with horses debuting at the maiden special weight level, and this $1.3 million yearling purchase has looked sharp in recent workouts at The Thoroughbred Center.

#8 Conquest Dancer (6-1) is another to consider at a price for Wayne Catalano. The Frosted filly broke slowly but got up to finish third in a six-furlong maiden special weight on debut at Keeneland and can improve in her second career start. She posted a sharp four-furlong workout May 19 and will get a rider switch to Jose Ortiz, a 19% winner with closer types.

A longshot worth looking at is #3 She’s It (15-1), who finished far back in seventh on debut at Oaklawn for Ike Green’s barn. The Omaha Beach filly will return off a more than two-month layoff and is now under the guidance of John Ortiz, a 17% winner with horses making their second career start. Reylu Gutierrez will pick up the mount, and She’s It has put in a trio of solid works at Keeneland in May.

Race 9: Six furlongs, allowance optional claimer, 3yo fillies

#8 She Called (7-2) was installed as the morning-line favorite and will return off a maiden win in her second career start in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Oaklawn on April 24. The Norm Casse trainee clocked an 87 Brisnet Speed figure in the effort, good for the highest last race speed figure among the field, but She Called has faced lighter competition compared to some of her rivals and is vulnerable on the move up in class.

A longshot worth a play is #10 Winakaching (15-1), who also broke her maiden in her second career start while facing 11 rivals at Keeneland on April 20. The Dale Romans trainee clocked an 86 BRIS figure and earned a 116 Class Rating, two points higher than the 114 CR earned by She Called. The Race Rating from the Keeneland maiden special weight also came back a 111, three points higher than the Race Rating of She Called’s maiden victory. Winakaching will keep rider Martin Chuan on the move up in class, and Romans is a 21% winner with horses coming off a maiden win.

Another value play is #7 Nay V Belle (5-1), a Midshipman filly who won at first asking in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Santa Anita, then jumped up to graded stakes company and weakened to finish far back in sixth in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Ysabel (G3). The three-year-old then faced allowance company and was beaten a half-length as the favorite in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint. She’ll make her first start for trainer Greg Foley, a 28% winner at Churchill, and will keep rider Frankie Dettori.

#3 Harbor Springs (5-1) is one to consider for exotic wagers. The Lookin At Lucky filly broke her maiden over a sloppy Fair Grounds track while racing at today’s distance, then finished a nine-length second to Denim and Pearls in the seven-furlong Beaumont (G2). She finished far back in fourth in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance optional claimer over a sloppy Churchill track on May 3 but may improve third start off the layoff. Tyler Gaffalione (15% winner this meet) will pick up the mount, and he’s 2-for-4 paired with Greg Foley the last 14 days. Harbor Springs is a late closer, and she should get plenty of speed to run into. Last out, she clocked a 105 Late Pace rating and can close late to snag a minor award.

Race 11, Seven furlongs, maiden special weight, fillies and mares

Three first-time starters comprise the 11-horse field, and all look like solid chances compared to the experienced runners, but #1 Shezalittlestinker (10-1) will be the play based on pedigree and her trainer-jockey pairing. The three-year-old is by Gun Runner, whose first-time starters win at a 16% rate, and his progeny perform well in the mud, which may be a factor Saturday with rain in the forecast. Shezalittlestinker is also out of a dam who has produced three winners from three starters, including a stakes winner. Trainer Wayne Catalano is a 17% winner with horses making their debut at the maiden special weight level, and Jose Ortiz is a 20% winner with sprints. He has also posted a 21-7-4-1 record over the last seven days, and he teamed up with Catalano last month at Keeneland to win with an 11-1 longshot in his first start at Keeneland.

First-time starter #9 Come as You Are (8-1) is also a live longshot, and she's owned by the same connections as Shezalittlestinker. The City of Light filly will make her debut for Bill Mott, an 18% winner this meet and a 14% winner at the maiden special weight level. The three-year-old has posted a pair of sharp recent workouts at Churchill and will get Tyler Gaffalione aboard.

#6 Queen of Paris (7-2) is the other first-time starter and has been installed as the morning-line favorite for Brad Cox, a 27% winner at the maiden special weight level. By Tapit and out of a dam who has two winners from two starters, including a stakes winner, the three-year-old Godolphin homebred has been working out at Horseshoe Indianapolis and will likely take a lot of money. She’s a good chance with Florent Geroux aboard and one to include in horizontal wagers.