Enlightened Trails return in focus this week along with the Derby and Derby sire Future Wager opportunities. Churchill Downs itself takes a turn in the spotlight as it hosts the Golden Rod for top fillies and the KY Jockey Club for top colts. Gulfstream Park West, a new track to the Enlightened Trails has the Hut Hut for colts and the Smooth Air for fillies.
For Churchill, this is the 3rd of 4 Heartland division races for colts and fillies,last ones until Keeneland in April.
We’ll start with the Golden Rod, 8.5 furlong race for 2YO fillies, a Grade 2 event, 200k at stake, along with EOT points. My top 3 are these:
Stageplay is undefeated in 2, winning against 56k maidens at nearby Keeneland in October, stretching to a mile in the 80k Rags to Riches on 11/1, and survived a bumpy start to win this. 91 Brisnet score in the latter race is the best CD performance of this field. Track bias for this distance is favoring the inside posts. Matching 91 Brisnets make her a good threat.
Susies Yankee Girl won both of her lifetime starts on this track and both with big late closing moves. First was a win v. 38k maidens, then a 75k optional claimer. Brisnet scores in the 80s not as fast as Stageplay, but reveals she cannot be used out of the top 2.
Dothraki Queen won her maiden debut, and the Grade 2 Pocahontas here in September, then was 2nd in the Alcibiad, and 3rd in the BC Juvenile Fillies. Fully recovered in pace 3 races after layoff for much of this summer. Fastest horse as measured by run style.One of several with shipping wins. Her 94 in the BC Juvenile Fillies easily could have been more had she not been bumped around at the start.
Suggested odds: Sugar Cone 8-1. Dothraki Queen 2-1. Charlotte Marie 14-1. Stageplay 6-1. Carina Mia 3-1. Susies Yankee Girl 11-1.
Next is the KY Jockey Club, 8.5 furlongs for 2YOs, a Grade 2 event, worth $200k. Here’s my top 3:
Airoforce won his maiden debut,a 120k race at Kentucky Downs on firm turf in September, 95 Brisnet. Then won the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland with 92 score,then was 2nd by a neck in the BC Juvenile Turf, another race with yielding conditions, 96. This closer is the absolute speed of the field,and proved to win once while stretching out, and adds blinkers while trying dirt for first time.
Annual Report ships from Belmont,winning the Grade 2 Futurity with 86 Brisnet, twinned with an 81 score in his maiden debut. Waiting since October to stretch from sprint. Best turn time and progress of the field.
Force It took 5 races to break maiden, as well as switch from turf to dirt and route to sprint, then backed it up with a 75k optional claimer win here on 11/1, with a dazzling 94 score. That score is best at CD of this field, along with the ‘good’ track condition, so he bears watching should there be enough precip on Saturday as forecast. Track bias likes the inner posts.
Suggested odds: Force It 7-1; Airoforce 5-2; My Majestic Flight 9-1; Gun Runner 14-1; Annual Report 4-1; Mo Tom 14-1; Derby Express 14-1
Off to GPW now, another track in the big Minors division of the Trails, and the Hut Hut, 75k ungraded race at a mile for 2YO fillies. 2 horses stand out, far among 3rd place.
Andreya’s Reward won her maiden debut at 47k, slumped to 5th in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies then won a 75k stakes event, then was last in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf. Too easy for me to assume she’ll hold trend and win this time around. Her 80 Brisnet in the 75k stakes was her peak, bounced to a 74; she would seem likely to bounce back. Only filly here to win after gain in class; also owns lone shipping victory in the field.
Baby I’m Worth It is the other choice here. 4th in her debut vs 60k maidens, then a win at 50k in October, off since then. She’s made good use of the time,with 3 works at GPW, last one 3rd of 9 at 5 furlongs.
Suggested odds: Virgin Morena 14-1; Little Priscilla 7-5; Raisedtobeawarrior 14-1; Andreya’s Reward 7-2; Chief Attraction 14-1; Baby I’m Worth It 5-1
The Smooth Air is a 75k stakes event for 2YOs, also 1 mile. Top 3
Fellowship is an overwhelming first choice. Runs exclusively between here and GP. Won her maiden debut at 48k,2nd in a 75k stakesevent, then 5th, 7th, 1st and 2nd in restricted and state-bred stakes events. Peaked 2 races back with a 91 Brisnet, his first time at a route. Best track and off-track condition speed, an 89, achieved last time out. Fully recovered in pace form since his spring layoff and 5 races in. Fastest figures of the field for certain. On top of that, he’s waiting 3 weeks to stretch from a sprint distance. As for the best of the rest:
El Charro has alternating wins in 4 starts, including a 75k optional claimer win here last time out, 86 speed figure, best mile score of this field. 3 works since that race, one particularly fast. 3 of his 4 races with speed figures in the 80s.
American Phantom is the lone sprinter of the 8-horse field. Broke maiden last out in her 3rd try, 25k, first time at a route and on turf, sharp gain with 85 speed figure. Best turn time of this field alongsides.
Suggested odds: Rafting 29-1; Fellowship 8-5; El Charro 9-2; American Phantom 6-1; Sumpter 10-1; Asterisk 8-1.