Free Picks & Analysis – Who Do Ya Like?
Thursday, November 23, 2017
It’s closing weekend at Churchill Downs, and they’re going out with a flourish. Twelve races are a part of the holiday schedule, headlined by two stakes races: the Falls City and the River City. First post time is 11:30 AM EST.
We’ve got Ashley Mailloux (@ashley_mailloux) providing FREE picks & analysis of all the races! We thank Ashley for providing her thoughts on the racing today, and encourage you to give her a follow on twitter.
Race 1: 5-2-7
#5 Analyzing: Off his most recent start at Keeneland at the distance in the same class, it’s not surprising that this colt is the favorite. If he can repeat that most recent effort where he was beaten by a neck, he figures to be the winner in here.
#2 B Dubya: Exiting the same race as #5 Analyzing, I really like this gelding’s most recent performance. Closed from the back of the pack in a race that didn’t have much of a pace to finish third. If Santana can get him to be a bit closer to the leaders, I think he’s a contender.
#7 Five Man Wolf: This first time starter has a had a steady work tab and seems to be handling the surface at CD nicely. With a trainer who wins at 29% from 34 first time starters, I expect this one to be prepped to get a piece of the board.
Race 2: 3-6-2-8
#3 On The Clock: This filly has been unfortunate to get a sloppy track in both of her starts. She’s faded over the wet going so I can only imagine that a fast track will be too her liking. Recently she’s been training at Turfway over the synthetic, but note the nice move on Oct 21st.
#6 Medlin: She debuted for 20k here at the end of September and was narrowly defeated, finishing fourth beaten by a half of length. After trying the 40k level at Keeneland and finishing fifth in a field of twelve, she finds herself against some softer company today and should like the return to CD.
#2 Cheponera: Today she’ll be getting big class relief which hopefully will get her going in the right direction. She’ll make her second start since late August here and her works are steady. While she’s 7-2 ML, I can’t put her on the top spot simply because she hasn’t shown enough on paper for me to endorse her.
#8 The Weef: This filly has tried her best to hold on in her most recent two starts, but seems to get weary in the lane. She fits this group and appears to be the lone speed out of those who have started prior so she has to be thrown in the exotics.
Race 3: 4-2
#4 Partly Mocha: Fresh off the claim, Diodoro has returned this 8 year old gelding back to CD, which is a track he’s found success at, winning 2 races and taking home a second place finish from four starts over the turf course. He put in a big effort on the 22nd of July at Saratoga and has shown he can still get the job done.
#2 Kid Perfect: While this horse hasn’t raced in stakes company like some of the runners in here, this speedy three year old has really started to come around, winning on the turf and then on the dirt. He has an aggressive work on the 11th here and he’s quite quick. Not sure he’ll hold for the top spot with other speed in here, but he should get part of it.
Race 4: 2-7-8
#2 Seattle Firm: Closing in the stretch last time to be defeated by a neck against 7.5k claimers at Keeneland, this mare has a big kick late and while there isn’t a ton of speed in here, she doesn’t necessarily need a contested pace to get the job done. Her most recent start lacked a hot pace and she almost got there.
#7 Sunrise Countessa: She most recently won for 5k down at Mountaineer by open lengths. She ran well for 7.5k there as well later this summer so I think at 5-1 she offers some value for the bottom of the exotics. This isn’t that strong of a group so I’d give her a look, especially considering she has some early foot.
#8 Wood Not Mind: The morning line favorite has been traveling quite a lot. Raced at FP, Belterra, and most recently finished 2nd at Hawthorne against similar quality. I definitely think she will benefit from the dry track, but I’m not sure she is as good as the 2, who has faced better quality this year.
Race 5: 4-1-10
#4 Ever Special: I make this daughter of Archarcharch my top selection in here for a few reasons. She ran strongly over the off going at Keeneland at the 30k level two starts back. Most recently, she weakened going a mile here to finish 5th beaten by eight. Now today, she’ll cut back in distance and take a drop in class. Can only expect things to go up from here for this filly.
#1 On a Mission: She was competitive at Indiana in a maiden special weight on the 9th of September, but found the 50k open claiming event here to be too much last time. She drops steeply to the 10k level which should only help her chances today.
#10 Happy Anniversary: While she was gobbled up in the stretch last time at the same level, I think she may be able to stick around for part of the prize this time. I cannot endorse her on the top spot with horses like the #4 and #1 in here, or even the #12 who is taking a drop in class as well, but depending how the track plays she may run better in here.
Race 6: 2-4-8
#2 Tap of War: Coming off the 6 month layoff last time out at Keeneland, Tap of War showed she was ready to roll, finishing third beaten by one and quarter lengths. Solid works to note so I expect her to only improve second time out off the layoff.
#4 Annathela: Yes, I understand the conditions of this race but this filly is just always the bridesmaid, never the bride, finishing second half of the time out of her 14 lifetime starts. She just doesn’t seem to get the job done. Her only win has come over this surface which may play to her advantage in here.
#8 True Boots: Most recently, she finished fourth here in a similar race. She broke her maiden here two months back and with a decent effort last time, I make her my third selection in here.
Race 7: 5-9-2
#5 Flatter the Queen: Off a solid second place finish against 20k N2L out at Keeneland last time, he returns to the track in which he broke his maiden. I think retaining Graham and the slight drop in class helps this one. No published works to note.
#9 Rock Shandy: He receives an equipment change with the blinkers going back on, which heled him find success in years past. After being bothered at the start last time, he ended up finishing fourth. I assume the blinkers will have him a bit more forwardly placed in here which should serve to his advantage.
#2 Distorted Ransom: I didn’t think he ran horribly last time against the same level, especially fresh off the maiden win. I don’t think he’s as strong as some of the other runners in here, but his last few races haven’t been bad and he can improve in here.
Race 8: 4-5-9
#4 Makeamericagreat : I hesitantly put him as my top selection. He has most recently run fourth over the dirt and now he returns to the turf, specifically the turf at CD where he has found himself second twice over in three attempts. With that in mind, it seems he does run strong over this course which is why I did end up putting him on top. My concern is the back and forth with surfaces.
#5 Zorzor: It’s clear that he needed his last race, which was his first off the layoff. He has performed well over turf routes at Belmont and Laurel and should return to form in here. At 5-1, he does offer some value and I love to see him get Geroux aboard in this race.
#9 Neon Gator: Narrowly defeated last time, he finds himself in a slightly shorter spot and gets the hot hands of Corey Lanerie. It’ll only be his second start over the turf and expect him to run similar to last time out.
Race 9: 1-5
#1 C Z Rocket: Making his third start, he has been dominant in his first two races. He debuted strong at Saratoga, then came back in an allowance at Keeneland. There is speed in here which is to his advantage, but I have a feeling he’s more versatile than we know.
#5 Rocking the Boat: Instead of going with J Boys Echo, I chose this son of Arch. He’s lightly raced and I like his run style. He stalks right behind the leaders and makes his run in the stretch. I figure he will sit behind the leader(s), which appears to be the #3 Minefield and should make his move when they turn for home.
Race 10: 1-4
#1 Money’soncharlotte: She was second to Farrell in the G2 Chulukki last time out. She was on a bit of a win streak before that, winning four in a row. I had a tough time choosing between her and Faithfully, the west coast invader, but I like her race over this surface better than Faithfully’s here.
#4 Faithfully: Finishing third behind Stellar Wind this summer at Del Mar, Faithfully ships to the east coast to return to CD, a track she found success at in the past. I think she has performed better out in California, but I’m not sure if that’s a surface thing or more likely, she’s grown and developed into a more seasoned runner in her four year old campaign. She is the class of the field and has raced against some talented runners so it appears it’ll be down to her and Money’soncharlotte in the end.
Race 11: 6-12-14
#6 Revved Up: By far this race was the toughest in my opinion. I could’ve made a case for about half of the field. I gave my top spot to Revved Up, who recently found success here. It ended up being a dominant performance, winning by four and one quarter lengths. He can’t find himself too far back, as he did at Keeneland and Belmont. If he can stalk and stay in the middle of the pack, I think he’s a major player.
#12 War Respondent: Exiting a third place finish in the PID Mile over the synthetic, this 7 year old finds himself returning to the turf. He’ll be making his second start since his G3 win at GP in April and he exhibits some strong back class. He’s faced much tougher in his past and needed his last race. I really like him in here and expect a big effort.
#14 Thatcher Street: Again, I struggled to pick a third horse in here from a tough group of horses. I went with a price horse, who has finished in the money eight out of nine starts over this turf course. This one doesn’t seem to have enough gas in the tank late, but has raced well against a few of the other horses in here. He looks to defend his title in this race after winning the event in 2016 and on paper, it seems like he comes to life later in the year which is why I’ll toss him in my exotic wagers.
Race 12: 2-7-10
#2 Tribal Transit: I usually have a tough time endorsing recent maiden winners on top to repeat, but after winning with ease at Keeneland for 30k and the Brad Cox barn being red hot this meet, she’s hard to ignore.
#7 Eye On Harper: This filly has ran her best two races here and in her most recent effort, she hung in the stretch to finish second. I almost made her my top selection in here, but with others off the drop or maiden win, I put her for second. Expect her to run similar against these.
#10 Pretty Greeley: Two back, she ran well finishing third beaten by two at this level. I don’t find this field to be that strong and expect her to offer some value. Her last effort at Keeneland was disappointing, finishing in the middle of the pack but against theses in here I think she’s worth considering.