Churchill Downs in Louisville continues its "Mini-Meet" this Thursday. We at Horseracing.net/us have you covered every step of the way, as we offer all of our selections, and an analysis. Even though the new $10 million Matt Winn Turf Course refurbishment project will not be completed until some time in the Spring of 2022 (that means no grass contests), the Main Track is the place to be. So, stay tuned!
If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Thursday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.
Most Likely Winner: (Race 2: Carbon Stryker #3, 3/1):
Jockey Reylu Gutierrez is riding in with a ton of confidence after winning his 1st race at Churchill Downs last week in the Grade 3 Pocahontas S. Then he collected “Jockey of the Week” honors as a capstone to a strong weekend. Climbing aboard this Karl Broberg-trainee seems like a bet, especially since this pairing works. The Texas bred out of Crossbow is used to running in higher company, and coming to Churchill for the 1st time should yield a nice victory. Gutierrez is one of those budding stars who can really ride well when he is loose up on the frontend. If you get 3/1 on this 3-yr-old gelding … that is a bet!
Wagering Recommendation: $100 Win, #3
Off-the-Pace Play of the Day: (Race 5: See the Pyramids #6, 8/1):
Looking over this field, I am after some value, and that can be found in this 4-yr-old gelding. Trained by Michelle Lovell, she just won a major stakes race last weekend at Churchill ... the book on her, always a quality conditioner, who doesn’t always get her due. Even though this son of Cairo Prince has only 2 wins in 16 starts, that doesn’t mean that he cannot compete on this drop down. There is a history of running well on this surface and at this particular track. The price will be more than square … that is for sure, as the very capable Brian Hernandez rides for Lovell.
Spotlight Race of the Day: (Race 7: Dirt, 6F, OC62.5k, F&M 3+):
Race 7 looks to be a fine Thursday go @6F on the Main Track at Churchill … when it comes to betting races, this is a good one because it has a large field, and a nice mix of class risers and cutters afoot. In spots like these turning to local favorite Brad Cox makes a ton of sense. His reputation for delivering winners … precedes him. Perfect Happiness #4 looks bold after the 4-yr-old out of Majestic Perfection missed by a head last time out at Indiana Grand. Cox uses this track as sort of a “training” center for young up-and-comers, and it can be a place where others just get a race in for confidence’s sake. The filly is being “called up” to The Show, and should do well with Florent Geroux at the controls. The last time @CD did not go so well, so hopefully a switch to sprinting on the dirt is a solid move.
Of the runners that have the power to check Cox’s entry, Cherie DeVaux’s Reagan’s Edge #7 comes to mind. This 4-yr-old is one of those droppers who always seem to have missed in higher company when it counted most. The flex downward is not a poor idea at all, and if the daughter of Competitive Edge runs to her ability, she can win for sure. The hot riding Tyler Gaffalione is a master at Churchill, as everyone in the colony seems to be perennially looking up at him in the standings. Even though he has never climbed aboard this one, he still has the ability to make a difference in the end.
One other entry that I quite like the look of is Larry Jones’ Windmill #8. Adding in a long shot to your exotic wagers is a must, and this younger filly out of Street Sense could be the “fly in the ointment.” She has competed against the likes of Army Wife and Lady Rocket, so I like the fact that she has races on her resume that were extremely difficult. The drop into this spot out of the Iowa Oaks (G3) might be just the ticket. After some rest, and a return to the work tab, she is probably going to be more fit than most will imagine. Jones is a veteran of many foreign wars, and even though his stable is not large, he still has the ability to compete with the best at Churchill. Do not overlook a rider like Mitch Murrill either, because he can have just as aggressive a style as Gaffalione or Santana. This one is going to be fun!
Wagering Recommendation: Trifecta Wheel, 8 w 4/7 w 4/7