Wednesday at the track: Garrity picks the horses at Churchill Downs
The sun rises over the track at Churchill Downs, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Louisville, Ky. Darron Cummings | Associated Press

Wednesday at the track: Garrity picks the horses at Churchill Downs

First picked race, the 5th at Churchill Downs, has a post time of 2:45 pm

We have a few plays today at Churchill Downs, where we are expecting fast dirt and firm turf. Let’s go.

Churchill Downs, Race 5, 2:45 pm ET

Starter Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Nine go in this starter allowance, which is for horses who have run for a claiming price of $50,000 or less. We mention that because the pick, morning line favorite 7-Pick up the Fone, is coming out of just such a race: new trainer Robertino Diodoro claimed her for $25,000 at Saratoga on August 16. We like her because we think those claiming races at the Spa were tougher than the company here, and also because Diodoro is an ace in this spot, with a 31% win rate with horses making their first start in his barn. Pick up the Fone is in good form, has speed and an outside post, and we think she’s headed to the winner’s circle this afternoon to get her picture taken. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 5, $40 to win on 7-Pick up the Fone.

Churchill Downs, Race 6, 3:16 pm ET

Maiden Special Weight, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies

The 6th in Louisville today is a pretty good 7-furlong dirt sprint for juvenile fillies. It drew a field of seven. We like a first-time starter, 6-Mariah’s Princess, who is trained by Phil Bauer. She’s got a terrific-looking pedigree, by top stallion Ghostzapper out of a Street Sense mare, and she has the kind of morning workout pattern that we like to see: a long series of regularly-spaced drills, most of them not all that fast, but with the occasional quick one mixed in. The quantity of works is an indication that she is fit; the zingers show that she can run. Seven furlongs is a tough distance to win at first asking, but we think that her outside post makes that task a little bit more difficult. We like the way Mariah’s Princess looks and think that she offers good wagering value at 3-1. We will bet her to win. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 6, $40 to win on 6-Mariah’s Princess.

Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:21 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3 & Up

This tough third-level allowance on the turf drew a field of eight. We’re going chalky: morning line favorite, 6-Set Piece looks like a very likely winner. He’s a 4-year-old gelding, trained by Brad Cox, who started his career in England and France before coming to the U.S. this spring. This will be his third American start, and while his first two were good, we’re expecting him to move forward today as he gets increasingly acclimated to racing on this side of the pond. We expect to see him in a stakes race next, but we expect him to win here first. Look for him to be at the back of the pack early and flying late. We will bet him to win at 8/5. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 8, $50 to win on 6-Set Piece.

That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.

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