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Horse Racing Picks: Saturday June 26th

Horse Racing Picks: Saturday June 26th

Once again, Churchill Downs is the spot for some of the best horse racing this Saturday. The renowned track’s card features 11 of 12 races with purse sizes of at least $100,000, including seven stakes contests.

The Fleur de Lis Stakes and the Stephen Foster Stakes have “win and you are in” consequences for this year’s Breeders Cup at Del Mar in November. We’ll cover those two along with the Wise Dan Stakes in this weekend’s horse racing picks.

Churchhill Downs Racing Picks

Fleur de Lis Stakes

A field of six fillies and mares will race 1 1/8 miles on the main track. Despite the longer distance, the longer, two-turn race has favored frontrunners with six winners in the seven races during the current meet. Post position doesn’t appear to have an influence on the outcome, just be fast no matter your stall number.

Picks to Win:

POINT OF HONOR (PP: 1 ML 6-1) has eight quality starts in her last 10 races. She’s finished in the money in nine of 11 outings on fast dirt, including four of five at the distance. She’s not the fastest at the start but will likely be one of the biggest movers from the middle to the end.

LETRUSKA (PP: 6 ML 4/5) has been on a roll, beating some of the best fillies and mares in the land. She’s just a head from a five-race win streak and winner of six of seven. She will be one of the leaders when the gates open and the favorite to win her 15th race in 20 starts.

Challengers:

ENVOUTANTE (PP: 4 ML 2-1) is a horse for the course, winning three of four with a second. She has a pair of trips to the winners’ circle in eight starts away from Churchill Downs. She’s another that will hustle from the jump and should be in peak form in her third start after a layoff.

SPICE IS NICE (PP: 5 ML 8-1) has found her form as a four-year-old. She’s won her first two starts of 2021 after spending nine-months in the barn. She ran much crisper fractions in her second run compared to her first, which is usually a good sign for the next start too.

Possible Wagers:

WIN: #6 LETRUSKA – just too good right now

EXACTA BOX:  #6 LETRUSKA with #1 POINT OF HONOR, #4 ENVOUTANTE and #5 SPICE IS NICE.

Wise Dan Stakes

A group of 10 four-year-olds and up will try to tackle the challenge of 1 1/16 miles on Churchill’s Turf course. Unlike the main track, stalkers and closers own the grass in races of 1 mile or more. Typically, the eventual winner is around fourth with an average field size of nine. So, in the middle somewhere. Gates one through seven play evenly but eight and out have struggled.

Picks to Win:

SET PIECE (PP: 1 ML 8/5) is another horse for the Louisville, Kentucky course. He’s won three of his four starts at Churchill with the lone miss coming as the favorite when he just didn’t fire. He’s been on fire lately, scoring the trophy in has last two, both at Churchill. He crushed the competition by 4 lengths in his last. It’s been our experience that a big race is usually followed by another.

SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN (PP: 3 ML 2-1) ran the top, last race speed figure and could be even better in this spot. This is the five-year-old’s third start off the sidelines. Round three was by far, and we mean far, the best of the trio in his last three-race cycle.

Challengers:

RIDE A COMET (PP: 7 ML 5-1) certainly won’t be confused for a speed horse out of the gate. However, he will likely be one of the fastest late as he owns some of the most powerful numbers from the middle of the race to the wire. He’s no stranger to winning on turf either, five times in nine starts with a second and a third.

FIELD PASS (PP: 8 ML 5-1) has one of the hottest jockeys at Churchill right now. Ricardo Santana, Jr. has five wins, a second and even thirds in his last 20 races. That’s 67% in the money. FIELD PASS has been solid at Churchill with a win, place and two shows in four outings.

Possible Wagers:

WIN: #1 SET PIECE

EXACTA:  #1 SET PIECE or #3 SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN to win and #1 SET PIECE, #3 SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN, #7 RIDE A COMET or #8 FIELD PASS to finish second.

Stephen Foster Stakes

Just like the Fleur de Lis Stakes, the headliner is 1 1/8 miles on the main course with a field of nine.

Picks to Win:

NECKER ISLAND (PP: 3 ML 15-1) is a live longshot in our view. He’s found his groove in 2021, just 3/4s a length from winning both. He won his last at Churchill with some much faster fractions than he showed in his first start. If he runs faster yet again, 15-1 will be a steal.

MAXFIELD (PP: 8 ML 4/5) doesn’t offer the same value and it’s very likely he’ll take on a ton of money with his odds going lower at post-time. He’s won six of seven starts and is undefeated in three at Churchill. He’s pounds the best and wins as long as nothing goes wrong.

Challengers:

SPRAWL (PP: 4 ML 10-1) has a robust trainer and jockey combination with Thomas Drury, Jr, and Brian Hernandez, Jr. hitting at 31% together. The duo has produced a whopping return on investment (ROI) of $3.77 per buck in 13 races together. That’s off the charts.

SILVER DUST (PP: 5 ML 6-1) knows where Churchill Downs’ finish line is as he’s finished in the first three in eight of 10 starts at the track. He hasn’t run since April 10th, but trainer Bret Calhoun wins at 21% returning from breaks of 46 to 90-days and has a +1.98 ROI when teamed with jockey Adam Beschizza.

Possible Wagers:

EXACTA and TRIFECTA: #8 MAXFIELD to win with #3 NECKER ISLAND, #4 SPRAWL and #5 SILVER DUST to finish second (exacta/trifecta) and third (trifecta).

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