Scully: Singles bookend Pick 4 play on Downs After Dark program

September 22nd, 2023

Saturday marks the final Downs After Dark card of 2023, and the 11-race program features a quartet of stakes at Churchill Downs, including the $300,000 Dogwood (G3) for three-year-old fillies. Past winners of the seven-furlong Dogwood include champions Covfefe (2019) and Echo Zulu (2022), the latter rated as the leading female sprinter this season.

First race post is 6 p.m. (ET), and I’ll focus upon a Pick 4 sequence that does not include the Dogwood, singling a pair of runners on both ends. The Pick 4 kicks off in the sixth race.

Pick 4 Wager

Race 6, $1 Pick 4 ticket: 8 with 1,2,3,4,5,7 with 2,3,4,5,6 with 4 ($30)

Race 6 (8:30 p.m.)

#8 War Campaign (6-1) looks poised to improve in his second turf start for Phil Sims, offering a good run to challenge in the Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Cup before winding up a close fifth, one spot behind next-out Kentucky Turf Cup (G2) winner Get Smokin. I like the cutback in distance for the son of Declaration of War, and War Campaign will be a strong play.

Race 7, $300,000 Bourbon Trail S.

#2 Slip Mahoney (5-2) and #5 Oscar Eclipse (3-1) merit respect in the Bourbon Trail, but little separates most of the contenders. #4 Shirl’s Bee (15-1) intrigues me in his U.S. debut, showing speed in both starts overseas, and he may be showing the way here with a clean break. I’ll also include #1 Manciata d’Oro (4-1), #3 Denington (7-2), and #7 Big Data (5-1).

Race 8, $300,000 Harrods Creek S.

Another contentious event. I give #2 Determinedly (6-1) the edge from off the pace, but will also use #3 Loyal Company (3-1), #4 Bounce (5-1), #5 Mount Up (7-2), and #6 Everso Mischievous (2-1) in the seven-furlong race.

Race 9, $175,000 Seneca Overnight S.

I’m against 5-2 morning line favorite Taxed, who did not go on after recording a convincing win in May’s Black-Eyed Susan (G2) and is now trying to regroup off a dull effort in the Alabama (G1). The 1 1/16-mile race does not feature much pace and the confirmed closer must work out a trip from the rail.

#4 Poblano (3-1) stamped herself as a promising stakes type when breaking her maiden by nearly 10 lengths in gate-to-wire fashion at Ellis on Aug. 4, and the up-and-coming Curlin filly looks capable of carrying her form forward with a favorable front-end trip.