Churchill Downs Picks & Analysis for May 9

Churchill Downs wraps up the week with a 10-race card on Sunday
Churchill Downs wraps up the week with a 10-race card on Sunday

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With a good deal of rain in the forecast for Churchill Downs on Sunday turf racing could be in jeopardy, but the show must go on nonetheless with another 10-race card. As usual, our in-house handicapper has you covered with picks for the entire program, as well as analysis of his strongest opinions throughout the day.

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Horse Racing Picks

Most Likely Winner:  Chicory Blue (Race 2) - There is virtually nothing standing in the way of Chicory Blue and another lower-level claiming score in Race 2. An old war horse with 11 career wins to his credit, Chicory Blue is as honest as the day is long and is coming off a fruitful Oaklawn meet that saw him notch another two victories. He actually enters this race on a two-race win streak, and if he were to run back to either of his last two performances he’s going to have no trouble handling this bunch, which is a dreadful crew even for this level of competition.

Best Value:  Thirstforlife (Race 9) - I’m a sucker for this horse at Churchill Downs, where he seems to do his best running, so I’m going to chase him once again even though he hasn’t actually won a race in more than two years. While that stat may scare many away, consider that Thirstforlife has run very well on a number of occasions in that span, including last out when he had a bit of trouble and finished third against a stakes-caliber field at Oaklawn. I don’t love that he’s been off for three months in the interim, but if he gets back to that effort, or even exceeds it over his favorite racetrack, he can beat this field at a square price.

Other Races of Interest:  Race 6 - Gray Owl (#2) would obviously be nearly impossible to beat if she repeats her latest effort, a 4 ¾-length jaunt at Mahoning Valley that earned her an 86 Beyer Speed Figure. Color me skeptical that she’ll be able to do it again, though, since that race more or less came out of nowhere and she got a loose lead at a much lesser venue. I have a feeling she’s due for some sharp regression, which is why my top pick here is the rock-solid claimer Its Cold in Dehere (#4). This mare’s last race doesn’t exactly get the juices flowing, but she had to overcome a glacial pace to win and has historically been at her best over this track. I’m expecting her to move forward in her first start for trainer Norm Casse, which is going to make her a major player as the likely third choice in the wagering.

Race 10 - Assuming this race comes off the turf, there’s thankfully still a very intriguing field left on dirt. I think most are going to gravitate toward main-track only entrants Ethical Judgement (#10) and Kinetic Sky (#11), who each have their merits, but it’s actually Who Took the Money (#12) I like even more. Who Took the Money is a perfect 3-for-3 in his career, but he’s probably going to play third fiddle in this group due to a rather pedestrian speed figure he earned in his last race. While that number doesn’t stack up favorably to Ethical Judgement or Kinetic Sky, consider that he flipped in that post parade in that spot and was running on short rest, so he had a right to not deliver a top effort. One start prior he delivered a strong performance in a Louisiana-bred allowance race at Fair Grounds, and I’m expecting him to build upon it here.

 

*If you're interested in seeing payouts for these races, you can find them on our Results page linked to below*

Horse Racing Results
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