Reminder: First post at Churchill Downs on Derby Day is 9:30AM. That is also the entry deadline for the final R2K contest.
(Saturday, April 25) Today is opening day Churchill Downs for Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest week 12. The featured contest race is the Derby Trial which probably won’t impact next week’s Kentucky Derby but there are a few horses running that were in some of the Derby prep races. My handicapping put me on a lot of favorites this week so we will see what happens. Good luck in Week 12!
Race 1: The opener was an Alw7500s for 3+ at 1m1/8. I selected heavy favorite On My Dime (ML 7/5) as he has a strong class edge on the field. He qualified for the race by running for 7500 last year and has improved to run against stakes horses this year. He should be ultra tough today.
The Result: On My Dime scored at 3/5 in a formful opener. My Little Connor finished second.
Maximum Points: On My Dime 77
Maximum Score: 77
My Score: 77
Race 2: This was a Clm16000 for fillies and mares 3+ at 6f. I went with Beau’s Valentine (ML 7/2) second off the layoff with the controlling early speed. There were only 5 horses to choose from with a late scratch of Somebody New. Veneti and Queen Rolex also deserved a look.
The Result: Beau’s Valentine got the lead but faced pressure from Queen Rolex who took over mid-turn and held Veneti safe down the stretch. C B T Snakeye finished third and Beau’s Valentine faded to last.
Maximum Points: Queen Rolex 112
Maximum Score: 189
My Score: 77
Race 3: This was a Clm30000N2L for fillies and mares 3+ at 1m. My top choice scratched so I switched to Silver Doll (ML 9/2) who makes her second start off the layoff after breaking her maiden at Fair Grounds. She makes her fourth start at four different race tracks and must be able to handle the class hike from the outside attack post. Anyone is eligible to win this.
The Result: Another formful finish as Nick’s Girl took over at the top of the stretch and defeated Dress in Dubai and Kiss the Queen. My selection couldn’t handle the class hike at 7/2 odds and never contended.
Maximum Points: Nick’s Girl 114
Maximum Score: 303
My Score: 77
Race 4: This was a Clm50000 for 3yo fillies at 6f. I selected Foxy Bailey (ML 5/2) as she finished 2nd at this level in her prior Keeneland start. She won at Churchill last year as a two year old. Her main rival is Collar who just broke her maiden at Oaklawn Park with the best speed figure in the race. She will need to handle a class hike and track change to get the job done today.
The Result: Collar cleared the field early but Foxy Bailey ran her down late and scored at 2-1 over Collar and Bell Got Even.
Maximum Points: Foxy Bailey 105
Maximum Score: 408
My Score: 182
Race 5: This was an Msw48K for fillies and mares 3+ at 6 1/2f. One of my favorite angles is in play in this race and that is the 2yo to 3yo angle when the horse returns from a layoff. Horses develop a lot in that time period and often step up and run much better speed figures than they show on paper. You can get some good prices playing this angle. Ride on Josephine (ML 5/2) fits that profile perfectly in this race. Elusive Sparkle is the main threat on paper.
The Result: Another formful finish as Elusive Sparkle scored over Phi Beta Diva and Ride on Josephine. My choice briefly got the lead in the stretch but flattened out at 2-1 odds.
Maximum Points: Elusive Sparkle 114
Maximum Score: 522
My Score: 206
Race 6: This was a Clm15000N2L for 3+ at 6f. I selected Embarrassed (ML 3-1) who has a victory over the track and should be forwardly placed. He takes a slight drop off his prior dull effort at Keeneland and perhaps the switch back to dirt will wake him up. Q the Music might be live from the outside post.
The Result: Longshot It’s a Rap won it at 21-1 over McGlamery Road and Embarrassed. A closer look at the winner shows that his best finish in his last ten races came sprinting and he had only run three times on a fast dirt surface in his career. He was also dropping to his lowest level in his career. Congratulations if you found him today!
Maximum Points It’s A Rap 664
Maximum Score: 1,186
My Score: 232
Race 7: This was a Clm50000 for 3+ at 5f on the turf. There appeared to be a lot of early speed in this race so I selected He Loves Me Not (ML 10-1) with a stalking style making his second start off the layoff for trainer Woodard. This horse scored on the Churchill turf at 39-1 last year and his two best races on paper have been on the grass. Salute the Count, Hands On and Beland are the other contenders.
The Result: My pace scenario didn’t work out as the first two runners finished 1-2. Hands On was the 5-1 winner and Belend finished second. Mitigation ran third at a big price. Nothing from my selection at 7-1 or the 6/5 favorite Salute the Count who was not heard from.
Maximum Points: Hands On 252
Maximum Score: 1,438
My score: 232
Race 8: This was an Alw50200N1X for 3+ at 6f. I selected Unbridled Express (ML 3-1) with Leparoux aboard. He came off a two and a half year layoff to just miss in his last start at Oaklawn Park. He won at Churchill back in 2006, beating eventual Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. Cash Refund is the main threat on paper.
The Result: Cash Refund ran a big one at 9/5 and scored with authority over Snapshot and Awesome Preacher. Unbridled Express was a non-factor as the 8/5 favorite.
Maximum Points: Cash Refund 128
Maximum Score: 1,566
My Score: 232
Race 9: This was an OC80K/N3X for 3+ fillies and mares at 7f. I went with the heavy favorite Keep the Peace (ML 3/5) as she has been competitive against graded stakes company several times on form. It’s her race to lose.
The Result: The 1/5 favorite was defeated by 14-1 longshot Nadeshiko coming in from Fair Grounds. She was third off the layoff and stretching out to 7 furlongs. She showed a win at Churchill in her career but wasn’t close to the favorite on paper. The favorite got a pretty easy lead but was no match for the winner today.
Maximum Points: Nadeshiko 376
Maximum Score: 1,942
My Score: 253
Race 10: This was the featured Grade III Derby trial for 3yos at 7 ½f. Silver City was my selection (ML 5/2), he set the pace in the Southwest and Rebel stakes and cuts back to one turn today. He will have to be caught from the rail. Hull is an interesting choice as well as Santana Six, both lightly raced improving three year olds. Rendezvous is the threat from off the pace.
The Result: A contentious pace early and Hull emerged from the fray to score at 3-1 over Kensei and Checklist. Hull is now a perfect 3 for 3 with all three victories by open lengths. Silver City was the lukewarm favorite and was finished by the time they turned for home. The closers got a hot pace but couldn’t take advantage today. Kensei got the most contest points for his second place finish at 12-1. He was trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Robbie Albarado. He was making his second start this year after winning a sprint at Oaklawn Park.
Maximum Points: Kensei 424
Maximum Score: 2,366
My Score: 253
Race 11: This was a Mcl30000for fillies and mares 3+ at 6f. I selected Betty’s Champ (ML 5-1) shipping in from Fair Grounds and dropping in class. She ran second at Churchill last year at 35-1 and Leparoux rides for Foley. She shows a sharp bullet workout since her last race. Altar Rail is the heavy favorite on the board.
The Result: Betty’s Champ sat second early and won fairly easily at 4-1 over Betty Bye and Brunette. Favored Altar Rail never got involved. Several favorites from the rail ran poorly today.
Maximum Points: Betty’s Champ 210
Maximum Score: 2,576
My Score: 463
Summary: It’s a Rap was the highest point horse this week and Kensei was a nice play as well. If you found those two you will be in contention for the top prize. Look for a winning score of 1,700 points this week. Next week is the Kentucky Derby and we are set for an outstanding race with 7 or 8 legitimate contenders and a local angle with Win Willie earning his way into the gate. The Derby is worth triple points so a longshot winner can still vault you way up the standings. See you next week!