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Future Stars Friday offers a wide range of betting interests with a great deal of international exposure. Most of the value in cards like this comes in hitting horizontal wagers; this will be the source of discussion that I’ll go through for these.
Race 5 – Juvenile Turf Sprint
Nothing better than to fire up a wild race sequence with a grab bag of entrants, most of whom are making their first foray to America. SOLDIERS CALL offers the most likely chance to win based on the results from his efforts on soft going; as well as his last start. His aforementioned last start was against older horses (as a 2-year-old!) and he was essentially outnodded at the wire. He adds Lasix and looks primed to crush here. Aiden O’Brien brings two top notch runners to this field in SERGEI PROKOFIEV and SO PERFECT; give the nod of those two to the former. His effort at Newmarket in his last was eyecatching, as he rallied from off the pace to win as he pleased; he’s also a big winner over soft ground. ‘PERFECT did nothing wrong in her last, a G1 placing at Newmarket. She was prominent throughout and essentially got nipped at the wire by horses she never saw coming. She’s worth another chance. POCKET DYNAMO exits the same race as ‘SERGEI, and while he finished far back, he never had a chance to do his best running. Look for an improved trip today. BULLETIN appears to be the quickest of the American contingent, but will be tested for class today.
Race 6 – Juvenile Fillies Turf
The first single opportunity comes in this race in the form of NEWSPAPEROFRECORD. She’s been sensational in her two lifetime starts, she’s proven at a route and over softer going. She’s faster than all the others, and quite simply, is by far the most logical horse on the card. Should she falter, there is potential from a few Euros, namely JUST WONDERFUL and EAST. ‘WONDERFUL is more experienced than the other, but she’s also thrown a few clunkers in during her time at the track. She looks to have a quick turn of foot and the ability to close, which should be handy considering the hot projected pace. EAST is undefeated in her two starts, and she exits a race where she only faced four rivals. Having said that, she’s going to stay clear of trouble (and the presumed inside bog) by virtue of her outside post. CONCRETE ROSE and SUMMERING represent some of the better alternatives from America; whereas ‘ROSE should be flying late, SUMMERING will be prominent throughout. Considering the hubbub surrounding SUMMERING’s last race, she’ll likely be kept wide to avoid trouble – and in a race like this, that could be a good choice.
Race 7 – Juvenile Fillies
Another opportunity to get skinny on your ticket exists in this edition of the Juvenile Fillies, where BELLAFINA draws a cozy outside post position to complement her tactical speed. She’s simply the fastest filly in the field, and Prat should have every option at his disposal. This race also projects to be quick up front, which will set up for closing runners like SIPPICAN HARBOR and CASSIES DREAMER. ‘HARBOR was able to pick up a quick pace last time and made a significant wide rally to get up in time; the main concern is that the turns at Churchill aren’t as gradual as they are at Belmont. ‘DREAMER had a really uneven race in her last, where she started and stopped a few different times; however, she showed a lot of run under the wire and gets extra ground today. Look for an improved effort today. JAYWALK has done nothing wrong in her four starts, in fact, she beat ‘DREAMER in her last. The main concern with her is the abundance of projected early speed. She’ll also need to step up her speed, as she is outclassed by BELLAFINA by quite a bit in speed figures. RESTLESS RIDER projects to be one to take advantage of a duel, however, she was beaten by ‘HARBOR two back in a similar effort, and will also need to improve the speed figures.
Race 8 – Juvenile Turf
This edition of the Juvenile Turf brings in many from Europe, as to be expected, however none of them carry an established reputation as a deserved favorite. In such an instance, I’m willing to take a shot with LINE OF DUTY at longer odds. ‘DUTY just won a graded stakes on soft going in his last, defeating a third place finisher who came back to win a graded stakes of his own. His connections are rock solid and the addition of Lasix can only help. American entrants also carry some significant intrigue, with FORTY UNDER, UNCLE BENNY, and HENLEY’S JOY. ‘FORTY relished the soft going in his last and looks to be a horse on the improve. ‘BENNY stretches out off of two sprints, and he’s shown the ability to win on the lead or from the clouds. Versatility is a key virtue in a race of this type, especially with the conditions being less than ideal. ‘JOY hasn’t seen off going yet, but he’s shown the ability to use a quick turn of foot at Kentucky Downs and Keeneland. It remains to be seen how that translates to Churchill, but he appears to give his best every time. ANTHONY VAN DYCK is the presumed top dog from Europe according to the morning line, but he draws very wide and hasn’t held on late against Group One foes overseas. I’m willing to take a stance against him because of those situations, however, he does have a graded stakes win over soft going.
Race 9 – Juvenile
East vs. West makes a return of highly regarded, undefeated two-year-olds in this edition of the Juvenile. In another race with a projected hot pace, give the edge to GAME WINNER over COMPLEXITY. ‘WINNER draws well (he broke his maiden from an outside post), he has closed off of a pace before, and looks to show a grinding style that works here. He also sports the highest speed figure. CODE OF HONOR looks ready to continue his development, as he closed nicely in his last race against COMPLEXITY. ‘HONOR wasn’t going to win that day, but his trainer is known for bringing horses along as they mature, and the four week break since that race will be of significant benefit. The aforementioned COMPLEXITY has done nothing wrong in his two starts, but the knock is that he appears to have one way of going – to the lead. He’ll be facing a lot more early foot in this race, and it could be a test of his versatility here if he has to change tactics. Others who could pick up the pieces include GUNMETAL GRAY and DUELING, two runners from the Hollendorfer barn. The Hall Of Fame trainer has shown in past years that once his charges get a few sprints under their belt and then extend to routes, they excel. Either one of these could hit the board at a huge price.
$1 Pick 5 ticket: 2,8,10,12 / 6 / 10 / 2,4,5 / 9,11 = $24
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