American Turf Picks: Excellent Timing makes too much sense

The G2 American Turf is as wide open a race as they come
The G2 American Turf is as wide open a race as they come

Race 9 on the card this Kentucky Derby day at Churchill Downs is the GII American Turf. A full field of 14 have been entered for what might well be one of the more open races of the day.

Our in-house handicapper is here with his full preview of the race. Our Race Card is at the bottom of the page where you can bet on the race with any of our betting partners and get all the Morning Line Odds.

The team here have all made selections for the full card at Churchill Downs. You can see them below and for Free Horse Racing Picks from all tracks across the United States then please click on the Gold Button below.

Ok time to pass it over to Sean - our in-house handicapper - for his full preview of the American Turf Stakes...

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Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but I had no idea what to do in this perplexing edition of the G2 American Turf. What I do know (or what I think I know) is that I want nothing to do with morning-line favorite Annex (#4), who is a perfect 3-for-3 in his career but is coming off a win against a suspect group in the Cutler Bay at Gulfstream. Despite notching another victory in the Cutler Bay, his performance was a noticeable step back from his two-back score in the Palm Beach, in which he defeated Scarlett Sky (#13), who subsequently won the G3 Transylvania at Keeneland. I actually prefer Scarlett Sky of these two as he at least maintained his form in the Transylvania, but I’m starting to wonder if neither is as good as their speed figures suggest.

The fleet-footed Winfromwithin (#2) also figures to take significant backing, but he’s another I don’t have much interest in as he ventures outside of his Florida comfort zone. He did carve out a swift pace last out in the Columbia at Tampa Bay Downs and drew off to an easy victory, however I’m worried about this guy given the amount of early speed signed on for this race, in addition to the fact he must run without Lasix. It isn’t the best of fields so maybe I’m overthinking it with this one, but I just get the feeling he’s set to disappoint.

So now that you have a vague sense of who I don’t like, the onus is on me to provide horses I do like. Excellent Timing (#1) feels a bit like a trap, but he’s my top pick nonetheless. It’s almost too easy with this horse. He’s a legitimately talented runner trained by Chad Brown that has an abundance of turf pedigree to move up on the surface in this mediocre race. Everything about him screams winner, which is precisely why I’m a tad leery of him. Still, he really doesn’t need to improve much, if at all, to have a big chance in his initial turf start, and with Brown at the helm it’s hard to imagine that not happening. I suspect his connections are sending this New York-bred here with a purpose.

Finally, should my misgivings about Excellent Timing come to fruition, I’m also interested in Du Jour (#5) and Royal Prince (#6). It’s not often you’ll see me tout a Bob Baffert runner on turf as they almost universally underperform, but Du Jour has run well in all three of his turf starts and is simply a good fit in this race. He won on the lead in his last start, but he has the ability to come from off the pace if things get frenetic early. Royal Prince is going to need to step his game up after a couple lesser stakes victories at Sam Houston and Fair Grounds, but this horse has a knack for finding the wire and is trained by the masterful Brad Cox. That combination is too enticing to resist at what should be double-digit odds.


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