Old Bourbon Turf Classic Picks: Colonel Liam to fall short

The G1 Turf Classic provides an appealing appetizer for the Derby
The G1 Turf Classic provides an appealing appetizer for the Derby

The appetizer an hour and a half before the Kentucky Derby is the GI Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic. Pegasus World Cup Turf winner Colonel Liam is seen by many as a big time favorite but his M/L odds of 3-1 show that he's no slam dunk.

Our in-house handicapper is here with his full preview of the race. Our Race Card is at the bottom of the page where you can bet on the race with any of our betting partners and get all the Morning Line Odds.

The team here have all made selections for the full card at Churchill Downs. You can see them below and for Free Horse Racing Picks from all tracks across the United States then please click on the Gold Button below.

Ok time to pass it over to Sean - our in-house handicapper - for his full preview of the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic...

Free Horse Racing Picks

Always a fun prelude to the Derby, the G1 Turf Classic predictably came up as a highly competitive race, albeit not a vintage G1. While most bettors are going to gravitate toward Colonel Liam (#3) as the favorite, it’s actually Ivar (#4) who I believe is the class of this field. He may have been pigeon-holed as a miler during his 4-year-old campaign, but I don’t think Ivar has the distance limitations many are going to arbitrarily place upon him. This Brazilian native won over this turf course going a mile and a sixteenth in his second start of 2020, and from there he blossomed into one of the best turf horses in the country. If he returns in similar form, which I believe he will for the underrated Paulo Lobo, he’s going to be a major player against this group. The cherry on top is that, despite his undeniable ability, he’s likely to be an overlay due to his lower-profile connections.

I respect Ivar, but there is some uncertainty as he makes his seasonal bow, which is why my top pick in this race is the in-form Ride a Comet (#9), a horse that has overcome some serious adversity in his career. Away from the races for over two years after a promising sophomore campaign, Ride a Comet returned late last year at Woodbine and picked up right were he left off with synthetic sprint victories, which he parlayed into a graded-stakes win on the turf at Gulfstream Park in the G3 Tropical Turf. After shipping cross-country for the G1 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita and throwing in a dud, Ride a Comet came back east and ran a fantastic race to be second in the G1 Maker’s Mark Mile. Despite being jostled at the break that day and getting left at the tail of the field, Ride a Comet closed strongly in the stretch to be a clear second. Like Ivar, I think bettors are going to assume he can’t be as effective at 1 â…› miles, however consider that he won the G2 Del Mar Derby at this very distance in his 3-year-old swan song. Despite running the best last-out Beyer Speed Figure in this field, Ride a Comet could get overlooked in the wagering a bit, which I believe would be a mistake given his exceptional versatility and pluck.

Finally, no write-up of this race would be complete without at least discussing Colonel Liam. I really don’t have too many negative things to say about him aside from his price, which is going to be far too short. He is a G1 winner, but this is a significant step up from his breakthrough victory in the G1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, and color me not impressed that he beat Two Emmys last out in the G2 Muniz Memorial with a very good trip. As a winner of five races from seven starts he obviously has a penchant for finding the wire, however I think he’s liable to be grossly overbet considering the races he’s coming out of.


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