Churchill Downs – 9/17/16 Contest Selections

Churchill Downs Contest Selections: these picks are for entertainment purposes and are provided by an analyst using them in a handicapping contest. The contest scores all selections based on the WPS payouts.  The intent is to find value and maximize the total payouts from the Win, Place, and Show pools not just “picking the winner”.  Good luck!


Race 4


12/1 ml. Recency (fitness), breeding, trainer.

This Saturday card and contest includes three spins that are MSW for 2YO and with full fields. We will take a swing for the fences in a couple of them.  In this race we handicapped the entire field and found nothing that was imposing on paper at least.  Daddy is 20% in the last 5 years overall with 2YO in a dirt sprint.  Generally we want to see success with the sibs but there are no other siblings in this case.  Given the expectations that this is a modest at best crew we can roll with it here.  The trainer is 11% in the debut and 19% with 2YO.  Most importantly the horse appears to have fairly solid fitness coming in.  There are 11 straight recorded drills spaced 7-8 days apart and the drills two back and four back were both 5F moves.  Let’s take a shot here in a very wide open event.

Race 5


6/1 ml. Recency, pattern, surface.

Starter allowance foes going 8.5F on the green and there are thunderstorms in the forecast so the weeds might be wet. This bum perked up first time turf and first time two turns and just missed winning two back.  Last out it was washed off the green but he stayed in and won.  This field is filled with very iffy and inconsistent horses and this guy at least still has some upside.  With only three races under the belt the trainer decides to ship into a tougher venue and face better.  All of the others have already proven what they are.  We will take a little stab here and see if this bum can take another modest move forward off that 83 fig last out which would put him right there.  That fig was on a dirt track rated fast but since he showed he liked turf before and is lightly raced we are open minded to him having another move forward.

Churchill Downs Contest Selections

Race 6


15/1 ml. Breeding, trainer, pattern.

Another bulky field and these 2YO are going a one turn mile. A few of these that already ran look like they might fold up late like an accordion.  The chalkie 9 could be tough (and bet to 7/5) but not unbeatable so let’s take a shot.  Trainer on this 3 is 25% (2/8) with horses making their debut going a mile or further which says something about how he prepares them.  There is a steady stream of drills back to early July with three of the last four drills consisting of two 5F moves and a 6F move.  Dam was 3/12 in dirt routes with a high fig of 87.  Sire is 13% overall with 2YO at this distance range in the last 5 years.  There are two sibs.  One was ½ in dirt routes high fig of 77 and also ran an 86 in a turf route.  The other was 1/1 in dirt routes.  Doesn’t appear to be any monsters in here so let’s take another bomb on the board and see what happens.

Churchill Downs Contest Selections



Race 7


6/1 ml. Late speed, pattern, surface.

We will play this race as a potential pace meltdown up front. There are three or four runners in here that look determined to get that lead.  This 10 horse is basically a grinder that is 1/14 lifetime but has hit the board 8/14.  This is the right level for him and he has run his best races when he got a pace setup to close into.  Has also run well in Louisville and when the track had some moisture on it.  Last out a turf sprint at the Spa we are tossing that race.  Two back he ran an 83 with a modest pace up front and he was even late against tougher foes.  This race is a month from his last and he has shown the ability to fire a little better when he gets four or more weeks between spins.  We will play this 10 and watch him settle in the back and try to mow them down late.  Hopefully he doesn’t sit too far back as he will have better success if he stays within eight lengths or so.


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Race 8


20/1 ml. Pattern, pace, distance.

This little fella could be a huge bomb on the board off his fig of 65 coming in. Some others have fired bigger figs but nobody has run any fig that is scary around two turns.  Like the pattern in the comments here where this guy has been moving well late (debut says “surging late 3w, missed”, two back says “gaining”).  Popped the cherry last out what we like was that it was 7/8ths and he was right on the pace and then fired home.  Could see him in a stalking position here.  Dam ran an 87 dirt route and 96 turf route.  Sibs are 5/19 overall in dirt routes with high fig of 94 and daddy has some solid success with horses at 9.5F and further which is beyond today’s distance of 8.5F.  Taking a big swing for the fences here that off this six weeks of rest this guy comes in and takes advantage of this added distance and makes some noise here.


Race 9


5/1 ml. Recency, pace, speed.

Tossing the last it was a two turn mile with a full field of eleven and she was blocked late in the stretch. Would not have won but would have hit the board.  We see this race as lacking any serious pace presence beyond maybe one horse.  Thus, we are opting for a stalk and pounce type gal in this event.  This miss is ok with 9/17 on the board but some of her best efforts have been on dirt, at one turn, and in Louisville.  She gets a nice six weeks of rest off the last and comes in with four solid drills keeping her fit and ready.  Looking for her to take it right up on or near the lead if this plays out as we suspect and just try to sprint home from the furlong pole.

Churchill Downs Contest Selections

Race 10


9/2 ml. Distance, pattern, recency, late speed.

Miss debuted in Louisville on the dirt and hopped at the start, did nothing way in the back, then picked it up late with comments stating “late gain”. Last out went around two turns and blasted some cupcakes at Ellis in a race washed off the green.  That was on July 29th so as a 2YO gal a lot has happened between then and now so entirely possible she has developed further.  Trainer is 15% off the 31-60 day break and has put four nice drills into her since the last.  Dam ran an 81 dirt route and a 96 turf route.  3/5 sibs that won are multiple winners with high figs of 91 for dirt route and 98 for turf route.  She might like this added distance.


Race 11


6/1 ml. Recency (fitness), breeding, trainer.

The trainer for this 3 is 22% in the debut and 13% with 2YO. This horse comes in with a nice, long set of drills suggesting fitness with the last three all being at 5F.  The daddy in the last five years with 2YO in a dirt sprint hits at 17%.  All of the siblings won except for one and the two most recent sibs weren’t too shabby at all.  One ran a 98 in a dirt route and the other ran a 92 in a dirt route.  Another wide open and very questionable field so again we will fade the runners with experience and take a new face at a price.


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