Thursday Horse Racing from Churchill Downs: Garrity picks two stakes and an allowance, the 8th, 9th, and 10th
All eyes in the racing world will be on Churchill Downs the next three days, and while the weather looks ideal for the Kentucky Oaks tomorrow and the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, today looks wet. Rain and occasional thunderstorms are likely throughout the day.
We have plays in three late afternoon races under the Twin Spires. Two of them are on the grass, and as of press time Thursday morning, both are scheduled to stay there. But additional rains may force a move to the main track, so as always, check for changes before the races.
We expect a sloppy track in the dirt race. With that out of the way, let’s go.
Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:37 pm ET
$130,000 Opening Verse Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 4 & Up
Eight line up for the Opening Verse. We think the race shape and the soft grass will favor 8-Captivating Moon, who won a Grade 3 stakes at the Fair Grounds in February under similar conditions, and then spun his wheels a little bit chasing a slow pace, and finishing fifth, in a Grade 2, also at the Fair Grounds, in March. He comes into this race rested, which we like, but what we like even more is that the pace looks fast, which will set up his strong closing kick. He may be last early, but we think he’s going to be first where it matters, and that makes him a terrific play at 8-1 odds. We will bet him to win. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 8, $35 to win on 8-Captivating Moon.
Churchill Downs, Race 9, 5:11 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
This first-level allowance dirt sprint drew a field of six older females, and we are going with a play right out of Wet Track Handicapping 101: it’s Speed in the Slop, in the form of 5-Listen Up, who should get a very easy early lead due to her superior natural early foot. We think that once she gets settled on the front end, the rest of the field will be unable to catch her, especially since she has an advantageous post well off the rail, so we will bet that she wires this group at a very appealing price of 10-1. We will bet her to win. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $30 to win on 10-Listen.
Churchill Downs, Race 10, 5:45 pm ET
$150,000 Unbridled Sidney Stakes, 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A field of eleven goes to the gate for the Unbridled Sidney. We like 3-Oleksandra, who has been running against tougher horses going back to 2019, but here finds a field she should be able to handle. She can handle the soft going, and the pace, which should be fast, will set up her very, very potent late charge. Look for her to be flying late; we will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 10, $40 to win on 3-Oleksandra.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.