Churchill Downs Picks & Betting Analysis for September 24

The 'Home of the Kentucky Derby' is ready for action on this Friday. Check out these selections and targeted analysis from J.N. Campbell.
The "Home of the Kentucky Derby" is ready for action on this Friday. Check out these selections and targeted analysis from J.N. Campbell.

Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky continues its brief 12-day Meet before Keeneland opens over in Lexington on 8 October. We at have you covered every step of the way until then, as we offer all of our selections and targeted 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 Friday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

Horse Racing Picks

Most Likely Winner: (Race 7: Identity Politics #5, 2/1):

One of the most celebrated sires in North America continues to be Into Mischief. His status as a sire just continues to expand, as his offspring showcase their versatility. Of all my picks on Friday, this 6-yr-old is a “best bet.” Steve Asmussen dropped him down last time at Saratoga, and he did not disappoint with a score. Now, coming back to Belmont, his conditioner, who also serves as owner, is hoping for more of the kind. To my eye, he looks to be in form, and should get a nice trip at the hand of Tyler Gaffalione. This one is a bet, even at 2/1. HOF all-time leading trainer in the house …

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Win, #5


Off-the-Pace Play of the Day: (Race 5: Leader of Men #5, 12/1):

When it comes to long shots, I think I have a nice one in this mid-level Claiming event. Trainer Grant Forster also owns this gelding out of War Front, and he certainly is not short on experience. In 26 starts he is 6-4-1, with career earnings hovering around $154k. This runner has not done all that poorly in 2021, and the best news is that he has a solid record of running at Churchill Downs. I actually like the Corey Lanerie angle in a spot like this one. He might be able to throw a wrench in this contest and scoop the favorites.

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager WPS #5 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)


Spotlight Race of the Day: (Race 9: Dirt, 6F, AOC62.5k, 3+):

Serving as the “feature” on this Friday at Churchill, it is rather obvious that Sir Alfred James #9 has some major class on his side. Al Stall has brought him down from “Non-G” Co., and the connections are looking for a score. The gelding out of Munnings is on the right racetrack, since he is 3/6 lifetime when it comes to crossing the wire in front. Colby Hernandez is just getting started at the CD Mini-Meet, so it will be interesting to see how his rides measure up. Much to like in this one …

The other runner drawn to the outside who looks like a player is Steve Asmussen’s Shoplifted #10. The older colt has experience that can be put to use in this spot. He is coming off a 2nd place finish up at Saratoga in an OC80k 7F go. He just could not get there in the end, but the son of Into Mischief sure did post a strong speed figure (96). If Brian Hernandez can stick close on the engine, he is going to rival his younger brother quite easily.

As for one more selection that is a much higher price, everyone that is surveying the form needs to take a look at Tyler Gaffalione’s mount. Dean Martini #2 seems like a veteran after competing in 19 races already at this stage of his career. The thing is, he is still only a 4-yr-old. I think he has gas left in the tank, and there is no question that his conditioner, Tom Amoss, can train. His last run at Churchill was not terribly impressive, but he has a shot. Getting a break was just what he needed, and now the form cycle begins again. Amoss could have him ready to fire, and I would not doubt Gaffalione’s abilities. He is top notch … and the price on this one … for sure will be 10/1 or higher.

Wagering Recommendation: Trifecta Wheel, 2/10 w 2/9/10 w 2/9/10


Enjoy some racing under the Twin Spires! Best of Luck on another run at Churchill Downs!

Horse Racing Results