We are headed to Kentucky to play at Churchill Downs. There's an eight-race mid-week card there, and we've found a few races we like. The weather will be hot, the dirt fast, and the turf firm. It's a twilight card at the Downs this evening. Let's go . . .
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Race 1 (5:00 p.m. ET) is a baby race, a 6-furlong Maiden Special dirt sprint for 2-year-old fillies. This is the time of year when 2-year-olds start going longer, and it's also the time when we start seeing more well-bred horses making their debuts on the track. That's certainly the case here, as the field of eight here looks positively loaded. There are very, very good looking runners from top Kentucky stallions like Honor Code, Tiznow, and More than Ready. The favorite here is 2-Josie, a Brad Cox trainee by the Tapit sire Race Day, who finished second in her debut three weeks ago at Churchill. Her effort in that race was plenty fast enough to win this type of maiden race − she earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 71, and par for this level is 66 − and she will be tough to beat.
But we like a first-time starter, and it's 7-Spun Easy. This filly has been absolutely sizzling in the morning, posting bullet workouts (fastest of the day at the distance) twice this month. Moreover, she's trained by Michael Ann Ewing, a woman (yes, this Michael is a she) who has quietly put together some very impressive stats. She has won with 38% of her first-time starters on the year. Spun Easy appears to have abundant speed, she starts for a trainer who gets horses to fire at first asking, and she has a coveted outside post. Add all that up, and we're going to the window. We also like Josie to finish second, so we will bet Spun Easy to win, and we will box her with Josie in the exacta.
Churchill Downs Race 1
$30 W on 7-Spun Easy
$10 Exacta Box 2,7
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Race 4 (6:27 p.m.) is another maiden race at 6 furlongs on the main track, a $40,000 claimer for horses 3 and up. We like a class dropper here. That’s 11-Slick Silver, a gray 4-year-old trained by Steve Asmussen who has been running regularly if unspectacularly against Maiden Special company. We think the drop to maiden claiming company, which as we've noted before is the biggest class drop in all of racing, is just what the doctor ordered. We will bet him to win at 3-1.
Churchill Downs Race 4
$25 W on 11-Slick Silver
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Race 6 (7:25 p.m.) is a good first-level allowance race at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass for horses 3 and up. There's a full field of 12. We like 6-Avigale. This Irish-bred 3-year-old colt broke his maiden for trainer Jeff Mullins last out, and showed a very impressive late kick in doing so. With a field this big, a legitimate early pace is a virtual certainty, which should set up the race for Avigale's late run. We see him sitting midpack during the early part of the race, and seizing control late. We will bet him to win at 4-1.
Churchill Downs Race 6
$30 W on 6-Avigale
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Race 7 (7:54 p.m.) is the featured race on the Churchil card, a very good second-level allowance race for horses 3 and up at 7 furlongs on the dirt in which 12 are entered. We like 7-Magic Tapit here. This 5-year-old son of Tapit has obviously had some physical issues, with only six career starts on his resume, but his race two back, a win in a 7-furlong race at Gulfstream Park, was very, very solid. A repeat of that would put him in the winner's circle here. We will bet him to win at 5-1.
Churchill Downs Race 7
$35 W on 7-Magic Tapit
That's all for today. Good luck at the windows . . .