Churchill Downs starts the week off right with a compact yet compelling eight-race card. As is customary, our in-house handicapper is on hand to deliver his thoughts, with picks for every race and additional analysis of his strongest opinions throughout the day.
If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Thursday, be sure to check out our Free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.
Most Likely Winner: Win Worthy (Race 4) - This is a somewhat competitive maiden special weight race on turf, but I’m expecting Win Worthy to improve upon a solid debut at Fair Grounds in late March, which should make him very tough to beat. The Beyer Speed Figure he earned for his first-out effort doesn’t exactly make him a standout, but that race has proven to be quite live, and Win Worthy launched a wide rally before succumbing late to Hidden Enemy, who subsequently ran well in a stakes race. With the wholly unreliable Nineeleventurbo looming the main danger, Win Worthy should be able to graduate here.
Best Value: Falkirk (Race 7) - This horse put in a sensational effort last out at Keeneland, nearly running down a talented Rusty Arnold trainee that opened up a clear lead in the stretch and has since corroborated the speed figure the race was assigned. That performance from Falkirk was particularly noteworthy since his typical running style is on or near the lead, and he instead was forced to rally from well off the pace. I’m expecting him to revert back to his usual tactics here, and I just feel he’s a 4-year-old that’s really starting to come into his own now.
Other Races of Interest: Race 2 - I don’t really think there’s much value to be had in this 2-year-old maiden special weight race for fillies, but it’s one that could have serious implications going forward. My pick, unsurprisingly, is the Wesley Ward firster Anna and Mia (#3), who went for a shockingly high sum of money at auction earlier this year despite virtually no pedigree. That’s probably a good indication that this filly has some real ability, and she lands in one of the absolute best barns for juveniles. It would appear all systems are go for her.
Race 5 - There are a couple different ways to go in this conditioned claimer, but I’m most interested in Hombrazo (#4) as he makes his 4-year-old debut. At first glance his form looks a bit spotty, but he’s actually been quite solid on dirt, especially over this track, where he’s run two of the best races of his career. If he comes back in similar form at 4 he’s going to have a big chance, and there’s always the possibility that he improves with added maturity. Either way I think he’s definitely worth a play near his morning-line odds of 5-1.
*If you're interested in seeing payouts for these races, you can find them on our Results page linked to below*