Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, June 30, 2017
The 2017 spring season at Churchill Downs will conclude tonight, and it will end with a bang. They’ve got eleven races on the schedule, including three stakes races. Two of them, the Debutante Stakes and the Kelly’s Landing Stakes, drew fields of 13 and 14, respectively. The first race tonight will go off at 6:00 PM EDT.
We’ve got FREE picks & analysis of the card from me, managing editor John Piassek (@theyreoff). Good luck to everyone playing along!
Race 1: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w2x), 3yo, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
1- Parlor: He’s coming off a third-place finish in the Arlington Classic, where he had a rough trip, but still ran a big brisnet figure of 88. He’s got the most grass experience out of anyone in the field, and gets a jockey upgrade to Julien Leparoux.
6- Royal by Nature: Ran figures as high as 86 as a two-year-old last year, but hasn’t been able to find that kind of form in recent times. Makes his third start off the layoff, following a much-improved third last time out.
2- Hey Mike: Battled on an honest pace last out at Indiana Grand, but held on to win by a half-length against n/w1x company with a figure of 81. Will likely be showing speed from the inside.
Race 2: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w3x), 3yo and up, 1 1/16 Miles
3- Egyptian: He likely would have won his last race had he not lost the whip in the stretch. As it were, he finished second by a neck and earned a strong figure of 93. Figures to stalk the pace and deliver a powerful late punch. If James Graham can hold on to the whip, watch out!
1- Far Right: This deep closer has been floundering at one turn, and finally gets a chance to stretch out. When he last faced allowance company around two turns, back in February of 2016 at Oaklawn Park, he won after a very wide trip.
4- Racer: Arkansas-bred faded badly last out against stakes company at Prairie Meadows. Since then, he turned in a strong four-furlong workout at Churchill Downs, covering the distance in 48.3 seconds. Prior to his egg-laying. he had run a string of figures in the mid-80s and low-90s in Arkansas and Iowa. He’s a contender at a bit of a price.
Race 3: Claiming $20,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 6 Furlongs
7- Miss Coco: She’s won two races in a row, both by open lengths, with figures of 86 and 84. Her stalking style is perfect for winning races like this; she looks to sit just off the leaders and blow by them on the turn.
5- Crack Your Whip: Has finished second or third in each of her last three races. She was farther behind than usual last out, but made a decent rally to finish third, two lengths behind second place. To have a good shot at winning, she’ll have to stay closer to the pace.
6- Hot Yankee: Engaged in a big battle last out, but missed by just a nose versus similar, earning a figure of 83.
Race 4: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile (Grass)
8- Pauline Revere: Flattened out when going 9 furlongs last time out. Cutting back to a mile should help this filly in her third start on the grass.
1- Dona Spey: Moved five-wide in her first route race at Arlington Park, and missed by just a head. Makes second start off the layoff, and has been working well at Keeneland.
3- Fetch’s Mon: Trainer William Cox has three winners from seven grass debuters in recent times. She has been working well throughout Kentucky all year long, and is an intriguing longshot prospect.
Race 5: Claiming $16,000 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, 7 Furlongs
2- Fat Daddy: Blew away maiden claimers last out, winning by five lengths, and earning a figure of 84. That’s a lifetime best by fourteen points.
12- Caniform: He has a similar profile as Fat Daddy, but the extreme outside post makes him a less attractive proposition.
1- Uno Mas Brandy: Always runs in the mid-70s to low-80s, trainer Chris Hartman hits at a strong 23% with horses who just broke their maiden.
Race 6: Bashford Manor Stakes, 2yo, 6 Furlongs
2- Hardworkcleanlivin: Lone Star Park invader broke his maiden at 3/5 on debut, earning a superb figure of 91 after stalking the pace and moving on the turn. His workouts since that race suggest he’s ready to take a big step forward, and that would make him an easy winner and a two-year-old to watch.
6- Ten City: Impressively broke his maiden at the Keeneland spring meet by seven lengths. He’ll get Lasix for the first time here.
5- Copper Bullet: In his second lifetime start, he shot to the front and won by eight lengths, with a big figure of 93. His 8/5 morning line indicates that he may be really overbet, however.
Race 7: Maiden Special Weight, 3yo and up, 1 1/8 Miles (Grass)
10- Sakonnet: He takes a much-needed drop in class after a flat fifth in the Arlington Classic. In the race before that, against straight maidens at Keeneland, he finished a fast-closing second after a wide trip, earning an excellent figure of 86.
4- Makeamericagreat: He’s been close in all four of his grass outings, and earned a big late pace figure of 101 before finishing second. He’ll look for a faster pace to close into, and should sit a good stalking trip off the pace.
9- Harlan Strong: Earned a respectable 77 in his grass debut last out. While his figure was strong, he must show more closing punch to be a serious win threat.
Race 8: Debutante Stakes, 2yo, Fillies, 6 Furlongs
1- Sunny Skies: She gets Lasix for the first time, off of a nine-length maiden score at Keeneland, where she earned a figure of 91. Another impressive victory here automatically catapults her to the top of the national two-year-old standings.
11- Lady O’Toole: Broke awkwardly on debut, but rallied to win by more than three lengths. Her figure wasn’t very impressive, but she improved her pace figures at every stage of the race. That bodes well for her stretching out.
9- Amberspatriot: She’s already stakes-placed, having finished second in the Kentucky Juvenile last time out. Paco Lopez comes into Kentucky for the ride.
Race 9: Allowance (n/w1x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile
6- Toasted: She’s only missed the board in one dirt start, and was third after a very wide trip last time out. She’s got the best late pace figures in the race, and would be a great bet at anywhere near her 8/1 morning line.
1- Anythingyoucando: Exits the same race that Toasted does, which was won by a runaway winner over a wet-fast track. Prior to that race, she had smashed a starter allowance group by seven lengths. That was by far her best dirt race; it will be interesting to see if she can duplicate that race.
2- Darion’s Dream: Recovered from a terrible break in her debut to win going away. With a clean start, the sky could be the limit.
Race 10: Kelly’s Landing Stakes, 3yo and up, 7 Furlongs
4- Limousine Liberal: This veteran sprinter is looking for a sweep of the Churchill Downs sprint stakes; he won the Churchill Downs Stakes and the Aristides Stakes in the two races prior. In a 14-horse field, you may be able to catch a good price on him.
14- Wyeth: Just missed in the Hanshin Cup at Arlington last out, after battling throughout the race and angling out in the stretch. Switches surfaces to run in a dirt stakes for the first time, but with his prior form, he shouldn’t find things too difficult.
3- The Player: He hasn’t been seen in action since a narrow defeat in the Indiana Derby last July. While I don’t think this race is their goal, by any stretch, he’s been working out very well and loves Churchill Downs. One to keep an eye on going forward.
Race 11: Maiden Claiming $30,000, 3yo and up, 1 Mile
12- Cadillac Red: Cuts back around one turn, figures to show early speed from the outside, has good late kick, suggesting a gate-to-wire win is within his realm.
4- Hardly Seen Slim: Unlike Cadillac Red, this one will be coming from way out of it to try and win it. He didn’t do so well on the grass last out, but has finished within five lengths of the winner in each of his last three dirt races.
1- Victor Again: One of his best-ever races came when he was going this one turn distance at Churchill three races ago. He earned a figure of 76 despite being hung six-wide at one point. He should save more ground here.
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