I handicapped the seven stakes races at Churchill Downs yesterday and had a bit of success. All told, I gave out 35 horses who I thought might have a shot at winning those seven races. I ended up with six or seven winners (we'll get into that in a minute), six places and six shows. The win discrepancy came in Race 6, when one of my picks (SILVER DUST) became fractious at the gate and was scratched. The decided to unload all the horses when that happened and it gave me a couple of minutes to find a fifth horse to put in my selections. I came up with the eventual winner (MIGHTY HEART).
It was too late to change him out for Pick 4 purposes, but, I was able to add/subtract the runners in Pick 3 and trifecta pursuits. So, Il figure the percentages on having a winner in Race 6. "In the money" turned out to be a 54% percentage (19 out of 35). When you consider there were 21 payout sports available, and I filled 19 of those -- that's a pretty decent 90% cashable number.
Let's look at the races:
RACE 5 -- CELLIST (5-2) got the job done and PALAZZI ran second, with ROYAL PRINCE getting show. I had all three in my picks. The trifecta of 6-1-8 paid $43.25 on the .50 cent box. Julian Leparoux had the ride for George Arnold. The horse was an early line 8-1 but the bettors flocked to him. .
RACE 6 -- My late addition MIGHTY HEART (9-1) crossed the wire first. I also had NIGHT OPS , who placed, and SPRAWL to complete the trifecta -- it paid $33.90 on the .50, five horse trifecta box. James Graham did the piloting out odf Josie Carroll's barn.
RACE 7 -- ENVOUTANTE (2-5) was awesome in hitting the wire first, followed by MISS BIGLY and PARIS LIGHTS followed them home for third. It was a poor paying trifecta ($10.45) and the Pick 3 was $57.10 for 6-1-7 and $2.70 if you had 6-7-7. Brian Hernandez, Jr. got it done for Kenny McPeek.
RACE 8 -- GAM'S MISSION (6-1) was a bit of a surprise but I had her in the Regret Stakes. I also had SPANISH LOVE AFFAIR for place and FLOWN who ended up third. The trifecta brought back $31.55, the Pick 3 was cashable at $82.10 and the Pick 4 a nice score if you had it at $455.35. Adam Beschizza got the stakes win for trainer Cherie deVaux. A key scratch was SARANYA. I substituted LINE DANCING, who beat just one horse.
RACE 9 -- I saw the MATT WINN STAKES as a three horse race and it turned out to be that way FULSOME (8-5) outran O BESOS and HELIUM in the stretch and Florent Geroux gave a very serviceable ride for Brad Cox. The trifecta was disappointing at $8.45 and the Pick 3 not much better at $18.45.
RACE 10 -- This race was probably my worst handicapping effort of the day. I did come up with BANGO (4-1) but couldn't get anything else to finish in the money with him. Marcelino Pedroza held the reins for this Greg Foley runner. The trifecta would have been nice at $430.05, I did call the Pick 3 though, it returned $81.80.
RACE 11 -- SET PIECE (6-5) looked the best of these, I had him with RAMSEY'S SOLUTION in second and ANOTHER MYSTERY in third. Florent Geroux and Brad Cox teamed up again for a win for Juddmonte Farms. The trifecta cashed for $20.15, the Pick 3 paid $23.60 and the late Pick 4 returned $157.80.
-- It was surprising that meet leading rider Tyler Gaffalione had no wins in the final seven races and just one win on the 11 race card. If you had put $2 across the board on his 10 mounts of the day, that $60 bet would have returned $53.20....his winner was a 8-1 shot, and he did finished second or third in several races.
-- I was VERY IMPRESSED with the win by BEAU LIAM in the third race. This Steve Asmussen runner broke his maiden very easily in his first race ever and beat a good field at 6-1 odds for six furlongs Look out for this one down the road -- he's out of Stonestreet Stables and looked like he could go much further than 3/4th of a mile.
-- Next Saturday bring the Belmont Stakes, so I'll shift my attention to New York and look at some of the stakes races that go along with that always-full stakes card. Churchill will have some pretty fine races also next Saturday.
(For years, I used to head to Churchill on Belmont Stakes Day and play both tracks. A friend would invite me to the Turf Club and it was a great experience. I won't be doing that next week -- personal choice -- but it can be a fun day if you decide to try it).
We'll give it a go next week!