Garrity’s first pick goes to post at 2:15 EDT
We're back for the Wednesday card at Churchill Downs. The track was fair yesterday: horses won on the lead, and horses won coming from behind. Horses won on the rail, and well off the rail. If there was a bias, we didn't see it.
The weather today in Louisville should be fine: it's going to be cloudy, but dry. The forecast for the next few days, including Oaks day Friday and Derby day Sunday, is more problematic, but we'll deal with that later. For now, it's Wednesday's 10-race card, which is headlined by a juvenile stakes, and which we will be handicapping for fast and firm. Let's go.
Race 4 at Churchill (post time: 2:15 pm; as always, all times here are Eastern) is a $40,000 claimer for older horses at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf. 4-Zambian is a strong play here: this 7-year-old gelding is in good current form, and is coming off a win in a $30k claimer at Gulfstream Park in February. We like the fact that he moves up in class off a good effort, and we especially like his ability to finish the race strongly. We see him sitting mid-pack, and rolling late. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 4, $25 to win on 4-Zambian.
The 7th in Louisville (post time: 3:47 pm) is a six furlong dirt sprint, a first-level allowance race for horses 3 and up. 3-Stealth is the pick here, and he is another strong pick. This 5-year-old son of Blame has obviously had some physical issues, because he did not race until last summer, when he was 4, and then he ran only twice, with fair-to-middling results in maiden races last summer at Churchill and Saratoga. But he returned to the races in a big way at Keeneland three weeks ago, breaking his maiden in impressive fashion, and earning a big Beyer Speed Figure of 87 in the process. We think he's found his niche as a dirt sprinter, and we think that if he can stay sound, he will win this race convincingly. We will bet him to win. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 7, $25 to win on 3-Stealth.
Race 9 (post time: 4:52 pm) is the $125,000 Kentucky Juvenile Stakes, and this is a crackling good field of 2-year-olds going 5 furlongs on the dirt. The hot favorite here is 6-Nayibeth, the Wesley-Ward trained son of Carpe Diem who won a baby race two weeks ago at Keeneland in eye-popping fashion. He is worthy of favoritism, but we are going to go against him, and we are picking 8-Twirling Owen. This Anthony Farrior-trained son of Twirling Candy also broke his maiden two weeks ago, but it was at Laurel, and we give him the edge over Nayibeth. These two appear to be close in ability, but one is going to be 3/5, and the other more like 3-1, and we are taking the price. We will bet Twirling Owen to win. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $30 to win on 8-Twirling Owen.
That's all for today. We'll be back tomorrow for the Thursday card at Churchill. Good luck at the windows.