Another Saturday of racing means another fantastic card on tap at Churchill Downs. There are two stakes races in the afternoon, the Winning Colors (G3) and the Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes (G3) – just click the links for the race previews. The Early Pick 5 is another tough sequence with full fields as we look to replicate last weekend’s efforts.
Best of luck!
Race 1: Maiden Claiming $75,000 for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $40,000
#5 Brittle and Yoo beat Extra Effort in that start after a tough trip forced her four-wide into the far turn. Javier Castellano should have her closer to the lead in her second start for the red-hot Brad Cox barn (25% at the meet and on the year). Trainer Mark Casse, who got his first win of the meet with Beautiful Memories last week Thursday, drops #7 Our Secret Agent for a tag after she finished second against maiden special weight foes at Aqueduct in March.
Race 2: Claiming $16,000 for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $31,000
#4 Lady Cleopatra is one of the few in this field who has won a race this year. She failed to hold on against $25k claimers last time out, but she fits this lower level very well and has won 10 of 39 career starts.
Race 3: Maiden Special Weight for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/8 miles (9 furlongs) on the turf. Purse $79,000
#1 Bastet has quite a large task in front of her, entering a turf route for her debut. However, she will be a price (10/1 morning line), and I don’t want the Mott/Rosario combination (17%) to beat me. #4 Elle M’a Souri should love this two-turn spot, finishing second in both starts at this distance while getting Tyler Gaffalione to ride again. Cherie DeVaux has won half of her four starters this meet. #5 Messina was stuck on the rail and couldn’t get off until it was too late last time out. She gets a major jockey upgrade to Hall of Famer John Velazquez here. Graham Motion wins 14% in turf routes and enters #12 Flying the Colors, a daughter of top sire War Front who missed by a 1/2-length last time out, her first start in 16 months.
Race 4: Claiming $20,000 for 3-year-olds going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $29,000
Brad Cox tried giving #1 Its My Bag Baby more distance after he broke his maiden two starts back. He faltered late but gets back to 6 furlongs here, a better distance for him. #2 Arch Ability looked fantastic winning a 6-furlong event over the Churchill Downs track on opening weekend – albeit on a sloppy surface. This is the logical next step. #4 Johnny Cab returns for the first time since the pandemic ensued. Joe Sharp’s barn started the meet hot (5-1-1-2 record). #5 Creekmore should perform well as he drops for a tag for the first time, but his lackluster prior efforts are concerning.
Race 5: Maiden Claiming $20,000 for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $28,000
#4 Dontneedaname drops for a tag for the first time while returning from a layoff of 61-180 days. Both are positive moves for Bret Calhoun runners (37% class drop, 22% layoff). He should fare better against this group. #6 Digital Star has been favored in 2 of his 6 starts, finishing third both times. He takes another drops in class for trainer Wayne Catalano, who wins 17% of his maiden claiming entries.
$.50 PICK 5 (Races 1-5) 3,5,7 / 3,4 / 1,4,5,12 / 1,2,4,5 / 4,6 – $96