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Ricky’s Rockets ?: Churchill Downs Picks for May 31, 2020
Credit: JennyPhoto

Ricky’s Rockets ?: Churchill Downs Picks for May 31, 2020

Both Churchill Downs Saturday stakes races were fantastic – Bell’s the One in the Winning Colors Stakes (G3) and Secret Message in the Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes (G3).  We were one second place finish away from cashing yesterday’s early Pick 5 getting caught in the wire in the final race! However, Sunday is another great opportunity to make some money and end the month of May in the black!

Best of luck!

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Race 1: $50,000 for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and upward going 7 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $54,000

#1 Miz Shelton has enjoyed running at Churchill Downs accumulating five in-the-money finishes from seven starts. Last time she was here, she won by 4 lengths at the claiming $50,000 level. #6 Figure It Out, a perennial runner on the NYRA circuit, has a good ability to get out of the gate early and be put into a good position. She won two of her last three, all going slightly longer than this one, so she should be fit.

Race 2: Starter Optional Claiming $10,000 for 4-year-olds and upward going 7 furlongs on the dirt. Purse $26,000

#1 Strong Yen raced just two weeks ago here against starter optional runners, winning gate-to-wire with ease. He gets Gerardo Corrales back aboard and will be tough to beat from the rail. #3 Cave Run returns to the claiming ranks for the first time since February, a race that he won by over 6 lengths while getting tagged for $16k. He proceeded to face allowance optional claimers in his next two starts, finishing well behind the winners, but he drops back down to a more suitable level. Tyler Gaffalione choosing to ride for a small barn who’s only had one other runner at the meet is a boost as well.

Race 3: Claiming $5,000 for 4-year-olds and upward going 1 mile (8 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse $17,000

#2 Yes I See is a 9-year-old with 53 lifetime starts under his belt and 15 victories, including the Claiming Crown Iron Horse Stakes at Gulfstream Park. He has faced anything and everything that these runners can throw at him. #12 Rocko’s Wheel drops in class for Phil D’Amato, who both owns and trains the lightly-raced 8-year-old. He’s finished in the money in 13 of 14 career races and the outside post is an ideal spot because he likes to come from off the pace.

Race 4: Claiming $50,000 for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the turf. Purse $43,000

#5 Swanage returns to the turf for the first time since October 2019, when she faced Sweet Melania in the Jessamine Stakes (G2). After she broke her maiden at Kentucky Downs, it was a tough task to beat Sweet Melania, who finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). This is a significant class drop in comparison. #9 Ginseng, one of two Brad Cox entries, likes to be on the lead but has failed to cross the wire since her debut. Her three previous efforts were good enough to win this race, but she needs to learn to hold on late. #10 Hey Kitten tried the turf here last fall and ran a quality third behind two next-out winners. She broke her maiden for a $75k tag before and was most recently third against optional claiming foes, so she should handle this lower class level well.

Race 5: Maiden Special Weight for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt. Purse 79,000

It was tough to find a horse who stood out on paper, since most of these runners have not gone this distance before. #3 Paris Lights did well on debut over a sloppy Gulfstream Park surface, and after watching the replay, she probably would’ve been closer than 3 1/2 lengths back at the wire had she been closing over a fast track. Tyler Gaffalione riding back and the added distance make her attractive. Other Runners: #4 Curls and Bows, #7 Free, #8 Glamour Girl, #9 Jeweled Princess


$.50 PICK 5 (Races 1-5) 1,5,6 / 1,3 / 2,12 / 5,9,10 / 3,4,7,8,9 – $90

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