Happy Thanksgiving to all. This is a wonderful holiday, arguably the best of the year, and I hope everyone out there gets their fill of food, family, football, and all the rest.
And, yes, there are winners to be had today: Thanksgiving is known for its traditions, and one of them, at least to us, is betting on horses running in circles. We remember more than a few times in our younger days sneaking off the track on Thanksgiving day, for the early first post that was scheduled to give fans time to go to the races and be home in time for turkey with the family. Thanksgiving has always been a big weekend in the racing world, and it is for this reason that there's a lot more action today than one might think.
The big losses today are Aqueduct, which cancelled due to a forecast of wind that will veer into the danger category, and Del Mar, which cancelled due to a massive storm that is pummeling the West Coast. But since today is a day to be thankful for what we have, not what we do not, we will embrace and celebrate the racing that will go on today. We expect fast dirt and firm turf; let's go.
Churchill Downs, Race 9, 3:24 pm ET
Grade 2 Falls City Handicap, 1 1/8 miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Nine females drew into the Falls City,and it's an excellent race to handicap, as the runners appear very evenly matched. It's hard to separate the top three betting choices, 9-Go Google Yourself (3-1), 3-Mylady Curlin (7/2), and 8-Ratajkowski (7/2).
But we like a horse at a price in here, and it's 7-Princess Causeway. This 3-year-old filly is as regally bred as they come, as she was sired by the late Giant's Causeway, out of an A.P. Indy mare, and we like her partly for that reason, and partly because she looks like a late bloomer, as these kinds of well-bred horses can sometimes be. We learned a long time ago that 3-year-olds in the fall can be monstrously dangerous, and she appears to fit that mold, to have a lot of upside, especially at longer distances like the nine furlongs of the Falls City. She's been breathing fire in her recent morning workouts, suggesting she's sitting on a big race, and that makes Princess Causeway our pick. We will bet her to win at 10-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $35 to win on 7-Princess Causeway.
Churchill Downs, Race 11, 4:22 pm ET
Grade 3 Cardinal Stakes, 1 1/8 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
We can't get past the favorite in this one, 11-Starship Jubilee. We tried to find a way to bet against her, but we can't: none of the other 11 runners appears to be even remotely close in ability to this 6-year-old mare. She fires every time, she wins on firm and soft turf, and she wins on the lead or coming from behind... she's really a remarkable horse, and we are not going to try to outsmart ourselves by picking against her. We will eat chalk in addition to turkey today; we'll bet Starship Jubilee to win at 6/5. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 11, $50 to win on 11-Starship Jubilee.
Fair Grounds, Race 6, 4:08 pm ET
$100,000 Thanksgiving Classic, 6 Furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
It's opening day at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, and it seems a particularly N'Awlins, and particularly wonderful, thing to open on Thanksgiving Day. We've taken a look at the card, and we like the opening day stakes, the Thanksgiving Classic, a dirt sprint that drew five entrants. We like 1-Whereshetoldmetogo. We expect a speed duel in here, as 3-Sonic Mule and 5-Bobby's Wicked One are both need-the-lead types who are about as equally fast, and while we expect Bobby's Wicked One to win that battle, we think the duel up front will leave him vulnerable down the long Fair Grounds stretch. We think the late-running Whereshetodlmetogo will be ideally positioned to pick up the pieces, and we will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 6, $30 to win on 1-Whereshetoldmetogo.
That's all for today. We'll be back tomorrow, but until then, we hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and, as always, good luck at the windows.