Pat Day Mile Picks: Jackie's Warrior at his preferred trip

Trainer Steve Asmussen has Jackie's Warrior doing what he does best in the G2 Pat Day Mile
Trainer Steve Asmussen has Jackie's Warrior doing what he does best in the G2 Pat Day Mile

The GII Pat Day Mile often attracts horses who started out on the Road to the Kentucky Derby but fell away for whatever reason and 2021 is no different. Jackie's Warrior was the early Derby favorite but distance turned into a big question. Steve Asmussen's three-year-old is your Morning Line favorite but there are plenty of good looking horses in this field of 12.

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 Pat Day Mile...

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In most years the G2 Pat Day Mile is pure mayhem, with a bunch of Derby castoffs coming in from a wide variety of different directions. That’s still pretty much the case for this renewal of a fan favorite, except that I’m very high on Jackie’s Warrior (#3), who could end up favored. There are some things not to like with him. After a sensational 2-year-old season that saw him win multiple G1 races, his brief stint on the Derby Trail was underwhelming as he’s made just one start in 2021, a distant third-place finish in the G3 Southwest at Oaklawn Park. While on its face that effort is alarming and reason to believe he’s regressed sharply as a 3-year-old, the inside was pretty dead that day at Oaklawn and perhaps he just didn’t handle the sloppy track. I always thought he was miscast as a Derby runner, anyway, and getting back to a one-turn mile is right in his wheelhouse. If he gets back to the kind of performances we saw last year in races like the G1 Champagne and G1 Hopeful, he’s going to be an absolute handful. If bettors still want to bank on chaos in the Pat Day Mile again, I’m perfectly content to zig while others zag.

I love Jackie’s Warrior on the cutback, but the uber-talented Dream Shake (#8) is a worthy adversary. This guy turned in one of the impressive debut wins you will ever see on February 7 at Santa Anita Park, and although he’s failed to make much of an impression in a pair of subsequent Derby preps, I thought he acquitted himself nicely on both occasions. Like Jackie’s Warrior, Dream Shake should very much appreciate turning back in distance in this spot, but I’m less bullish on him due to his trainer Peter Eurton’s lack of success at Kentucky venues. I don’t think Dream Shake is far off Jackie’s Warrior in terms of ability, I just have less confidence we’re going to see it here.

While my top two are undoubtedly the class of this field, I wouldn’t wholly discount the chances of Starrininmydreams (#6) or Noble Reflection (#11), who both exit an odd running of the G3 Lexington. The pace set by Noble Reflection in the Lexington was colossal, so I’m not going to hold it against him that he faded badly in the stretch that day. His prior maiden win at Oaklawn was a legitimately fast race, and I still believe the future is bright for this guy. A mile might be pushing it a little, but he’s got serious ability. Starrinmydreams had a little easier time of it in the Lexington, but he, too, was likely compromised by the torrid pace as he was in fairly close attendance of Noble Reflection. As a son of Super Saver he may have relished the sloppy track that day, though he already owns a win on a dry track under the twin spires in his debut.


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