Churchill Downs Picks & Analysis for May 27
CHURCHILL DOWNS Picks
Churchill Downs is back in action on Thursday with a compact but compelling slate of races. As usual, our in-house handicapper is on the case, with picks for the whole card 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: Coal Shaft (Race 1) - I wouldn’t call Coal Shaft a particularly likely winner, nor is she very reliable, however there just aren’t many places to go on this small but challenging card with this selection. What Coal Shaft does have going for her is some decent dirt form and the fact she’s meeting a bottom level maiden claiming field that’s completely devoid of quality. She did also have some trouble in her last start, and I think the stretch-out back to a mile is going to work for her, especially over this track. If she runs her race she should win.
Best Value: Home Base (Race 7) - While likely winners appear to be in short supply, value is not. The one I like most on this program is Home Base, who I believe has a real shot in this confusing optional claimer on dirt. Many are going to default to Answer In and Banks Island, but I have serious doubts their last races are as fast as they look on paper. Home Base doesn’t look quite as good based on his recent races, however even the numbers he’s been earning lately would put him in the mix, and there’s reason to believe he moves forward here as he gets over his favorite track. This horse actually has some back class and 15-1 on the morning line is an absolute steal.
Other Races of Interest: Race 6 - This is another race in which I don’t care for the likely favorites, or those who have been running on turf lately, for that matter. Hat Tip (#5) easily finished best of a group that ran at this level on April 18 at Keeneland, but she was exposed last out against allowance competition and I believe she could be vulnerable running back on short rest. Instead, I prefer a pair switching from dirt to turf: Turnstone (#7) and Into Victory (#8). These two have been running at Oaklawn Park recently, where turf racing isn’t an option, though both showed promise over this surface to begin their careers. I think both are well meant for the lawn, and if they show even a modicum of improvement in this race they’re going to be major players.
Race 8 - River Tiber (#8) is surely the horse to beat for trainer Wesley Ward, but he’s coming off a long layoff and as such I have to take a shot with second-time starter Unembellished (#2). Despite what it may seem, this guy did actually show a hint of ability in his debut on dirt. He broke slowly but quickly got engaged and rushed up to midpack, where he got rank in behind horses. Although he was completely empty in the stretch, I’m not going to hold that race against him considering he’s bred strongly for this surface. I’m expecting him to show much more speed this time around and believe he’s a threat to wire this field at a big price.
*If you're interested in seeing payouts for these races, you can find them on our Results page linked to below*