Searching for value in the 2023 Louisville Stakes

May 20th, 2023

A deep field of 11 turf marathoners will travel 1 1/2 miles on the Churchill Downs lawn in Saturday’s $225,000 Louisville S. (G3). Conditioner Mike Maker has a pair of formidable contenders that are among the morning-line choices in the field, but I feel that there are others in the contest worth a long look that have better price tags attached to them.

The Shug McGaughey-trained #1 Limited Liability (8-1) has never been beyond nine furlongs but gives the impression of a contender who will thrive in his first attempt at 1 1/2 miles. The gray son of fine turf influence Kitten’s Joy has placed in a quartet of graded stakes races in his career and seems poised for a breakthrough in this spot. This Kentucky-bred colt exits a fine allowance triumph at Keeneland last time out and has every reason to move forward in his second run since October.

Limited Liability has the running style, consistency, and perfect post slot on the rail to be a major factor as the field turns for home on Saturday. James Graham will be in the stirrups atop the value play.

The Darwin Banach-trained #5 English Conqueror (12-1) had a nice prep when second in a deep allowance tilt at Keeneland most recently in his seasonal bow and has appeal in his second run off the bench. Second in the 12-furlong Valedictory S. (G3) on the All-Weather at Woodbine to cap 2022, the chestnut son of English Channel has found his niche at similar types of distances and could surprise this cast with expected improvement on this occasion. The Ontario-bred gelding is far from a win machine with a 1-for-15 career mark on the sod, but he can’t be taken lightly after running second to a horse that would be well-backed in this race if he entered it. Julien Leparoux will be in the saddle and putting the contender in the mix from the break.

Pan American S. (G2) victor #7 Therapist (5-2), #2 Bay Street Money (7-2), second in the Pan American, and Elkhorn S. (G2) third #9 Another Mystery (3-1) will each be included in the exotics but just not in the top slot.

Louisville Value Plays

  • $3 exacta 1,5 with 1,2,5,7,9 ($24)
  • $1 trifecta 1,5 with 1,2,5,7,9 with 1,2,5,7,9 ($24)
  • $.30-cent superfecta box 1,2,5,7,9 ($18)