Recap of stakes races and Enlightened Trails, 4/8/17

Catching up now to the big races of the weekend, this after watching my Twinspires account dwindle a bit more. The Grand National was won by #22, over one of my top 5 choices in #14. One of the field horses came in 3rd. I was close this year, but didn’t make it. Initially I thought it was a field selection (horses 24-40) but I reacted too swiftly to the news. I haven’t watched the replay yet; frankly I don’t feel like watching it just yet.

Onto the thoroughbreds! You’ve seen my picks and projected overlays. Now here’s how I would have played and invested in them. If I were home to wager on them, I’d have wagered on them.

BLUE GRASS: My top 3 remained as public favorites. So did my 2 overlay considerations. I used Irap and It’s Your Nickel for wins, and under top 3 for exactas. $10 wagered.
Results: Irap with the big 31-1 upset! I didn’t mention he had best tactical speed for nothin’. Payout: $64.60

ASHLAND: Total chalk for my picks here too, and no overlays to rescue me. Not truly a race I’d play. But if I had to… I’d go with 2-6, 6-3, 3-6 and 6-2 as exacta plays, basically keying #6, Daddys Lil Darling,my top choice, to be the necessary score
Result: 7-6-1-8. Totally ignored Saints Valentine in my handicapping. Sometimes you find longshots, sometimes….

SANTA ANITA OAKS: I felt this was the big race, with value totally planning to surprise the mutuels. I had 1,5,6 for wins, and to play under top 2 favorites 2 and 4
Paradise Woods, 3, shocked me and some folks at 8-1, winning by a dozen lengths. Did not give her any serious consideration.

The latter 3 races I had felt were somewhat logical, with a favorite, a middle price horse and a longshot in my top 3.
SANTA ANITA DERBY: This was the race I would have put $20 on…1,4,5,10 as overlays, with top 2 public choices 2 and 9 over these in exacta. I’d also have played 9 and 2 over #7 with 7 to win also.

Result: Fantastic race, as the result was 8-3-13-2. Gormley definitely factored somewhat, as he had a good turn time and was the only pure sprinter of the field. Swung and missed on this one.

WOOD MEMORIAL: I chose longshot 6 and overlay 5 for wins, and went with 3-6, 2-6, 3-5, 7-5 for exactas. $8 invested. I rooted in my heart for Mo Town, who factors big for me in the Future Wager pools.
Result: 8-3-7-5, a chalky finish. I never gave Irish War Cry much thought to win this one. A race I naturally should have avoided but I saw some value in general.

GAZELLE: I took 4,3 for wins, and played 5-4, 4-3, 5-3 and 8-3 as exactas, $8 invested.
Result: Nailed the exacta. It was close, as Lockdown was tiring in the stretch.
Payout: $15.10 for the $1 exacta

Result from the 6 races: $15 profit.
Later, I will provide thoughts on the Derby Trail, an update to my Enlightened Trails and how my Future Wager bets look in comparison.

2017 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 analysis

I am thoroughly excited about this final pool, tho I won’t have much of a window to do the deed. It will be, as with Pool 3, done on Sunday morning. A number of horses have won the different races, with little majority support to any one horse.   The pool field odds suggest there is no confidence in one or 2 horses…not even the #24 ‘field’ selection.
I used the same variables as with Pool 3, tho have now eliminated the Dosage category, this on the heels of the demise.  4 horses proved to be best of these, and I had to break a 3 way tie for 2nd.  The others I will list below, 12th to 4th.
For a summary, here’s how I wagered in the prior pools:

Pool 1:

Win bets on these:
Mo Town 12-1
McCraken 12-1
Lookin At Lee 37-1
Classic Empire 6-1
Hemsworth 80-1
Exactas between Mo Town/McCraken/Hemsworth, plus over/under field selection.
Sire Future Wager:
Bernardini 14-1
Into Mischief 24-1
Kitten’s Joy 47-1
Scat Daddy 42-1
Uncle Mo 9-1
Pool 2:
Wins on:
Guest Suite 31-1
El Areeb 32-1
Sonic Mule 9-1
Gunnevara 24-1
Mastery 9-1
El Areeb/Guest Suite/McCraken box   plus over/under field selections
Pool 3:
Mo Town 27-1
Irish War Cry 7-1
Gormley 18-1
Exactas bewteen Classic Empire/Mo Town/McCraken and over/under field selections
Here’s how I rank the best of the rest in Pool 4:
11th: J BOYS ECHO. 4th in the Delta Downs Jackpot, 3rd in the Withers, winner of the 8.5 furlong Grade 3 Gotham with strong 104 score. Could bounce in next race but maybe bounce back in Derby itself.   Raced at CD in his debut last October, 2nd in a 43k maiden race. Next race: 4/8, Blue Grass
10th : GUEST SUITE: Won 2nd maiden race with 85 at 8.5 furlongs. 3rd in the Street Sense at CD, 1st in the Grade 3 LeComte, 4th in the Risen Star. Steady progress in pace numbers his entire career of 6 races. Peaked at 93 for last 2. Won a 75k OC race at CD on 11/26, speed of 90. Amazed that’s 50-1 ML in this wager. Likely to double-dip with him, tho only if he’s worse than 36-1. Next race: 4/1 Louisiana Derby
9th: MALAGACY: 104 and 103 in his debuts, followed by 3rd win, the Grade 2 8.5 furlong Rebel, and a 95 score.  A sneaky price at 30-1, and should take more $, but not too much. Could well become one of my picks.  Next race: 4/15 Arkansas Derby
8th : TAPWRIT  Winner of the 75k Pulpit, 2nd in the Grade 3 SF Davis. Since Pool 3, won the 8.5 furlong Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby with new small top for age 3 at 101. Among the fastest current paces of the 23 horses. Not sure I’ll get all the way down to this selection but probably will take a good deal of $ anyway.  Next race: 4/8 Blue Grass
7th: McCraken, already part of a number of bets, as shown earlier. If he somehow is worse than 17-1, I will do another win bet.  Undefeated in 4 with wins in the Street Sense and the KY Jockey Club, both at CD, plus a win in the SF Davis. Also good AWD numbers (Ghostzapper/Ivory Empress, out of Seeking The Gold). Probably deserves the 6-1 ML number.  Best to use in exactas as I have done already. Next race: 4/8  Blue Grass
6th : PRACTICAL JOKE: Winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful and Champagne Stakes (1 mile), 3rd in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, 2nd in the Fountain Of  Youth. One of 3 Grade 1 winners in this grouping.  Pace lifetime ranges from 90 to 98. Haven’t wagered on him yet, and this might be my best chance to score something.  Next: Unsure
5th: BATTALION RUNNER: Maiden win in 2nd start with 100 score, on New Year’s Eve. Followed up with 8.5 furlong win at 75k OC level with 96 score, debut at 3 and route.  One of the better AWD scores (Unbridled’s Song/Tamboz, out of Tapit) Needs strong finish in next race to be serious contender. That race is 4/8 Santa Anita Derby
Now to the ties for 2nd through 4th.
4th, and loser of the tiebreak, is MO TOWN. Already included in win bets of 12-1 and 27-1, and a few exactas. Won the Grade 2, 9 furlong Remsen, then bounced to 5th last out in the Risen Star. Great AWD numbers (Uncle Mo/Grazie Mille, out of Bernardini)  If he’s worse than 32-1, definite for a win bet.  Next up: 4/8, Wood Memorial
3rd: GUNNEVARA.  Strong contender by ML standard, is expected to be low odds, which means it’s likely I won’t put up a 2nd win bet on him (got him at  24-1). Definite exacta play  based on my ranking.   After maiden win, won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special, 5th in the Breeders Futurity, winner of the Delta Downs Jackpot, 2nd in the Holy Bull, winner of the FOY with lifetime best 102. I rate him the fastest 3YO of the field.
Next race: 4/1, Florida Derby

2nd: THUNDER SNOW   Qualified by winning the 9.5 furlong UAE Derby, seemingly a lock for the Run for All Those Roses.  No pace parameters available, as he’s never raced in North America. Winner of a maiden stakes race at Leicester in GB and the Criterium International (Grade 1) in France. Best AWD numbers of the field, from Australian and Arabian stock. There will be enough people wagering on him for the wild card factor. I will also include in exactas.  Next race: Reportedly will enter the English 2000 Guineas but he has the most actual Derby trail points……so, who knows? If I eliminate Thunder Snow, it may open the competition open up for Mo Town, Gunnevara and McCraken, in that order.  Not sure how to play this one yet.

Top pick out of the wager is CLASSIC EMPIRE. Winner of the Bashford Manor, Breeders Futurity (Grade 1) and Breeders Cup Juvenile (108 speed figure, also Grade 1), 3rd in the Holy Bull last out. 2 wins at Churchill, with the 94 at Bashford Manor his better effort. One of the faster paced horses going.  Should be better than 12-1.   Next race: 4/15 Arkansas Derby

Breeders Cup Saturday 2016 races 9-12 selections

At last, the final races of the 2-day event are done for your perusal. I’ve barely caught up to Friday’s results, but  I know Maturkaz was a nice win payout.
Saving some time for you by just posting analysis of my overall winners.

As with most of the races with a number of horses invading from outside North America, I had to resort to Equibase past performances to fill in some details that Brisnet cannot provide.
Top 3: Mondialiste, Da Big Hoss, Flintshire.
Overlays: Lots of them… Ralis, Da Big Hoss, Ashleyluvsvinegar, Mondialiste, Money Multiplier

It’s Mondialiste’s debut race on the West Coast, 15 of 22 lifetime, races mostly in Europe. Winner of this year’s Arlington Million, last year’s Woodbine Mile, and stakes races in England.   Ran 98 figure last time in the Shadwell at Keeneland last month, surviving a bumpy start and a 4th place finish.  Only horse who improved 1st off layoff at 2nd call (98 from 71). Also gained a length on leader then at 2nd call.

Top 3: Tiara’s Tango, Gomo, Gloryzapper.
Overlays: Tiara’s Tango, Gomo, Wonder Gal.

Tiara’s Tango again at his home track, good consistent numbers here and lifetime. Winner of multiple races at the Graded level.  101 speed figure in this year’s Santa Margarita is best of this field.  Best workouts too; 4 of them here, all fast, 1 a bullet.
Top 3: Alice Springs, What A View, Tourist.  Overlays: Miss Temple City, Tourist, Midnight Storm.
Alice Springs is 2nd favorite via morning line, the majority of races across Europe. Last US race was a year ago in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, finishing 2nd to Catch A Glimpse.   Multiple Grade 1 winner in Europe. Exploding/forging pace numbers from recent races, and appears to be the speed here with good pattern.
Top 3: Effinex, California Chrome, Melatonin.
Overlays: Effinex, Melatonin, Keen Ice.
Effinex was 2nd to Hoppertunity in the Jockey Club Gold Cup in October at Belmont.  If it weren’t for his poor start and wide turns, he’d have won this race.  Only sprinter in the field. Track bias strongly in favor; for dirt routes in the meet, 19 of 44 have been won with upfront speed horses. 9 of the 44 have been won at the rail post.



Analyzing the Travers Day card…

Lots to get to with Travers Day in focus. I’ll list my top 3 for each race on the card, along with overlays.  I will update this post upon scratches and changes, which should be around 7am. Overlays stated below were decided based on original morning line.  Revised overlays will be tracked and communicated on Twitter at @idealisticstats
Race 1 is for 2YO maidens at the 93k level, going 6 furlongs. Top 3 are Reckling, Factor of War, and Your Secret’s Safe.
Reckling was 2nd in her debut here vs 83k maidens, with best distance and track speed figure of this field, an 83. I like how she gained some on the leader between the first 2 call points.
Race 2 is for 93k maidens also (3YO+), 9 furlongs on the turf, 93k purse also. Top 3 are the favored Sport, then Nseventeen, then Brianbakescookies.  Sport as a deep closer hasn’t yet reached top 3 at most call points in 4 races. All have been turf routes. Best distance speed rating with a 67, in his proper debut. Followed up with scores of 84 to 90 since, a strong pattern. Improved slightly at 2nd call last time out, first race following a 7 week layoff. Also gained 1.5 lengths on leader at 2nd call.
Race 3 is an optional claiming event, 62.5k, non winners of 3, 6.5 furlongs. Top 3: Jimbo Fallon, Tiz Shea D, and Cerro (no longer coupled entry).
 Race 4: Back to the turf, 8.5 furlongs for fillies/mares 3YO+, nonwinners of 2, 95k.   Top 3 are Mighty Souper, Wedding Dress and Stella Rose.
Mighty Souper’s 93 speed rating 3 races ago is best for track and distance. Best pace numbers of the field in general, and a pattern of low 90’s scores. Improved on leader last time out by 4.5 lengths, and gained 19 points between last 2 races.
Race 5: is an optional claimer for 3YO+, 11 furlongs on the inner turf, 25k, non winners of 2. Top 3 are the favored Revved Up, then Havana Moon, then Bingo Kitten.
Revved Up broke maiden status last time, following an 8 week layoff. 7 weeks later and 4 great local works, here he is again, ready to score.
Race 6 is the Grade 1, 750k Personal Ensign, 9 furlong race for fillies/mares 3YO +.  Top 3 in this field of 5 are Forever Unbridled, I’m A Chatterbox, and Cavorting.  Likely to be the chalkiest of races today.  Forever Unbridled won the Apple Blossom, the Houston Ladies Classic and the Comely as far as Graded races go. Daughter of Unbridled and Lemons Forever, herself sired by Lemon Drop Kid. 103 score is best for distance of these (last year’s Comely). Good pattern of speed figures around 100.  Best workouts of the field here too.
Race 7 is the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes for fillies/mares 3YO+, 500k purse, 7 furlongs.  Top 3: Birdatthewire, Spelling Again, and By The Moon. Top 2 are also my two overlays.
A competitive record but no wins since the La Brea last December, Birdatthewire comes out of a sloppy route in the Molly Pitcher. Generally running in the 90s, strong pattern compared to others. Dale Romans has her for 4th race since reclaim, and removes blinkers.
Race 8 is the King’s Bishop Stakes, Grade 1, 500k  for top 3YOs, at 7 furlongs. Top 3: Tom’s Ready, Fish Trappe Road, and Mind Your Biscuits.   Value galore in this one.
Tom’s Ready very competitive in his career, comes out a win in the Woody Stephens, plus an 11 week layoff. Track bias is being kind to early-pressers (39% winners) and outside posts.   Turn time of 22.6 between last 2 races, a 1.6 gain.
Race 9 is the Grade 1 Forego Stakes, for 3YO+, going 7 furlongs, 700k purse.   Top 3 are The Truth Or Else, Ready for Rye, and AP Indian.
 The Truth Or Else might be 30-1 but I like him. One of 2 horses to have recent small top over last year’s best. 2 races back he scored a 102 at 6 muddy furlongs at Belmont. Only deep closer in the field. Turn time of 21.8 plus downturn in speed figure last out in the Tale of The Cat Stakes reveals he’s got more in the tank today.
Race 10 is the Sword Dancer Stakes for 3YO+, 12 furlongs on the inner turf, for $1 million.  Top 3 are Twilight Eclipse, Inordinate and the heavily favored Flintshire.
Twilight Eclipse as a 7YO has 8 lifetime wins, most recently a 90k allowance race at Belmont on 7/8.  Best current pace numbers of the field, with pace pattern around 100.  Made contact with the gate last time out in the Bowling Green on 7/30, yet still posted a sharp 101 score for 11 furlongs.   Only early closer in the field.
Next is the marquee race, the Travers Stakes, for top 3YO going 10 furlongs, and for a 1.25 million purse.  Top 3 horses are My Man Sam, Governor Malibu and Destin.
My Man Sam won his 2nd maiden race (first at route), then 2nd in an 80k optional claimer, 2nd in the Blue Grass, 11th in the KY Derby, and 2nd in an 85k allowance here on 7/23.  Gained 1 length on leader by 2nd call last time, and increased speed figure by 3 points, his first race since the Run for The Roses.
12th Race is the Ballston Spa, Grade 2, 8.5 furlongs on the turf for fillies/mares 3YO+, 400k purse. Top 3 are Strike Charmer, Excilly, and Sentiero Italia. Top 2 are overlays.
Strike Charmer is a 6YO with 5 wins in 20. Last win was the Beaugay at Belmont on 5/14.  That race produced a 100 Brisnet, best for the distance of this field. Seems to have the best pace numbers, running with a pattern in the high 90s. Last time out here in the Diana, she posted a 99 while running 3 wide late.
Finally the 13th race, an 85k allowance for 3YO+, statebred nonwinners of 2, 8.5 furlongs on the inner turf.   Top 3 are Kerjillion, Lucky Town and Space Oddity.
Kerjillion is strongly favored. 4 for 4 in the money, racing vs statebred only. 87 speed figure in 2014 is still best for track, distance and surface. 80 last time out 3 weeks ago. had some traffic trouble tho still finished 3rd. Slight gain in speed figure last time out plus 2 length gain on winner by 2nd call.
An exciting day of racing for sure, with the King’s Bishop and the Travers promising to deliver the most value.  The all-Graded Pick 4, with a guaranteed $1 million payout, yours at .50 per combo, looks most inviting.

Enlightened Trails update (Fair Grounds) plus Risen Star Stakes thoughts

This week, one race out of 2 in my Enlightened Trails series, turning to the Oaks side and the Arizona Oaks at Turf Paradise. Not having free access to the Derby equivalent, the Turf Paradise Derby, I am skipping coverage of it this year, but I’ll certainly update you on the point totals.

Arizona Oaks is 25k, 1 mile for 3YO fillies.  My top 3 are Protective Shield, Dollys Party Doll, and Big Bad Janine, morning-line favorite plus 2 longshots.
Protective Shield returns from a field-long 8 week layoff, winning the Arizona Juvenile Filly Stakes here at 6.5 furlongs by 7 lengths. Before that, she won her maiden debut, 30k, 6 furlongs 3 weeks prior, winning by 3.  Best track performance came in that debut, an 86. From two lifetime races, appears to be fastest of field according to run style.  4 works since last race, 3 were fastest of group or nearly so.

Dollys Party Doll, 1 win in 4 races,broke maiden status here on 1/9,followed up with a 4th placefinish against 20k maidens. Earned 70 lifetime best in her maiden win on 1/9, bounced to 59 thereafter.  I like playing the bounceback here.
Big Bad Janine with alternating wins in 4 starts, winning vs 12k maidens at Assiniboia Downs last summer, then a 20k optional claimer here last month, first off layoff, earning a strong lifetime best of 73.  Easily the best turn time figures of the field; will not be surprised to see her as a price in the top 3. She is my one overlay here for now.
Suggested odds: Protective Shield 1-1; Big Bad Janine 5-1; Grindstone Shine 11-1; Joan Of Arch 14-1; Dollys Party Doll and Rich Girl 19-1; Hymn’s Girl 29-1.
Switching gears to a major race for the actual Derby Trail plus my own contenders based on the Future Wager, I look at the Risen Star Stakes, Grade 2 event, 8.5 furlongs for top 3YOs, 400k.
My top 2 here are pretty much how the morning line falls:  2-10: Mo Tom and Airoforce.
The case for Mo Tom: winner of the LeComte (Grade 3) here last out, pairing up a 94 Brisnet, which he also scored in the KY Jockey Club prior. Measured as fastest of the field per run style (deep closer).  Only horse here under reclaim (Thomas Amoss). 24 second turn time, quickest of field.
Airoforce won first time with blinkers and first on dirt last out, winning the aforementioned KY Jockey Club. Prior to that, 2nd in the BC Turf, and winner of the Grade 1 Bourbon. This should be his first appearance on fast dirt track.  96 Brisnet in last 2 races, fastest horse for distance here, fastest overall pace. Lifetime scores between 92 and 96.
For 3rd I picked out Forevamo. Winner of the Jean Lafit at Delta Downs in October, 6th in the Delta Downs Jackpot.  Lifetime Brisnets very solid between 80 and 87.  3 fast works in prep, one a bullet at 5 furlongs.  Best turn time gain of the field between last 2 races, 2.2 seconds.
Forevamo is the sole overlay.
Suggested odds: Mo Tom 8-5; Airoforce 7-2; It’s All Relevant and Tom’s Ready 18-1;  Forevamo 9-2;, Zapperini, Candy My Boy 55-1.

Derby/Derby Sire Future Wager selections/analysis (Pool 1)

This year, the Future Wager pools have a new wrinkle; Derby Sire Future Wager, a single pool that runs this weekend, in which you must figure which sire of a current Derby hopeful will be lucky. I’ve decided to go for it and do 5 $2 win bets, ignoring the all-others and any exacta wagers. I really do like the idea; those that champion the breeding aspect and old-timers in general may well enjoy this aspect most.
I’ve decided to use the following angles to pick out the sires:
CLASS: I rank based on who had their best win; naturally the Grade 1 winners are best.
CHURCHILL DOWNS PACE: Fastest overall Brisnet score at this track.
AWD: Combined average winning distance from sire and dam-sire.
RUN-PACE: Average pace of last 3 starts using the binomial method.
PACE PROGRESS: # of horses who have started at least once before 9/1 at age 2, then raced after 9/1 with an improvement on his best pace since before 9/1.
LONG DISTANCE: Longest distance the horse has won at.
I rank the horses by how many times they appear in the top 5 here. Most appearances find their way into my top 5.
With this method, 8 horses found their way into the top 5, with 2 more that achieved more. So, onto the tiebreakers. Here were the ones I had to cut first: Curlin, Giant’s Causeway, Harlan’s Holiday, Scat Daddy, Tiznow, and War Front.
And here’s the 5 I’m going to roll with, in reverse order:
#5: KITTEN’S JOY: Top 5 in AWD Key horses: Oscar Nominated, winner last out at Churchill with 90 Brisnet, and at 8.5 furlongs in race prior; Smarty Kitten, winner at 8.5 furlongs; Camelot Kitten, likewise in his first start.
#4 BERNARDINI: Top 5 in AWD. Key horses: Greenpointcrusader, winner of the Grade 1 Champagne; Brisnet scores lifetime ranging from 86 to 97; Regalo, 2 starts in Japan, winning at 9 furlongs by a neck last time out; Rachel’s Valentina, winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway.
#3 HARD SPUN: Key horse: Young Brian, 100 Brisnet in his lone start. One Legend, wired field at 8.5 furlongs last time out. Positive pace progress from Donation, It’s All Relevant, Nana Looch, One Legend, San Dimas, Spin Cycle.
Clear 2nd choice in this field of 23 is TAPIT. Key horses: Mohaymen (Grade 2 Nashua); Synchrony, 89 Brisnet at Churchill; Tathqeef, winner of an 8.75 furlong maiden event in GB. Positive pace progress from Acoustic, Gray Sky, Hollywood Don, Rafting, Tarpon Bay Road, Tusk.
My top overall selection is UNCLE MO. Key horses: Nyquist (winner of 3 Grade 1 races, 2 of them at 8.5 furlongs), Brisnet scores from 94 to 102 lifetime; Uncle Walter, 2nd in a 75k optional claim race last time out, 89 Brisnet; Mo Tom won the 80k Street Sense at Churchill with an 89 Brisnet. Positive pace progress from Abiding Star, Forevamo, Junkers, Little Schmo, Uncle Brennie, Uncle Jerry, Uncle Jimmy, William Crofty.
I’m very likely to pass up Pool 1 of the standard Kentucky Derby Wager, as I did last year. Too much of a crapshoot at this juncture to make a serious pick. The only category that I add here is dosage, comparing the typical 2015 Churchill Downs chef-de-race numbers to the 23 in this wager. provides this information. Here’s the top 5:
GREENPOINTCRUSADER won the Champagne Stakes in his 3rd start, followed up by a disappointing 7th in the BC Juvenile. Ranked 3rd overall in AWD. Positive pace progress, with scores of 92, 97, 92 above his debut of 86.
GUN RUNNER won both of his races, 1 mile at 81 Brisnet at CD, 8.5 furlongs at 85. Ranked 2nd in AWD.
NYQUIST undefeated in 5, winning the BC Juvenile, Front Runner, Del Mar Futurity and Best pal, last 3 races at 8.5 furlongs. Brisnet scores lifetime range from 94 to 102.
EXAGGERATOR won the Delta Downs Jackpot (8.5 furlongs) and Saratoga Special. Ranked 5th in AWD.Top rank in Brisnet pace; last 3 races were 103, 94, 93.
BRODY’S CAUSE gets my top choice here. Winner of the Breeders Futurity (8.5 furlongs), and 3rd in the BC Juvenile. 81 Brisnet in his maiden-breaking race. Top AWD numbers in the field.

Enlightened Trils update

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.