It is going to be a busy Memorial Day weekend of stakes racing. Thirty runs, from Saturday though Monday will be for prize money of at least $100,000. Horseplayers’ Saturday attention turns back to Churchill Downs just three weeks after the Kentucky Derby.
The Louisville track hosts seven races with six figure jackpots, headlined by a handful of $150,000 races. We’ll cover a high-priced trio:
The Regret Stakes in race eight, the Matt Winn Stakes in race nine and the Aristides Stakes in the 10th.
Churchill Downs Betting Picks
A field of nine fillies will run 1 1/8 miles on Churchill’s turf course. The distance and surface has favored horses that rally late in the few races at the distance during the current meet. So far, the distance/surface has punished the number one horse, which is yet to win in eight starts.
Picks to Win:
SPANISH LOVEAFFAIR (PP: 4 ML 5/2) has proven she can run well without Lasix, which could be an advantage as this is a Lasix free race (Lasix is a drug that makes it easier for horses to breathe.) She either runs very well (4x) or poorly (2x). We expect her to run well in this spot as she performed solidly following a rest, like today.
FLOWN (PP: 8 ML 9/2) came home second by a neck in her last race as the public’s post time choice. Trainer Brandan Walsh bounces back at 29% the next time around the track with a beaten favorite. She should also be in/near peak form in her third start after a layoff.
BARISTA (PP: 5 ML 5-1) ran the highest, last race speed figure for this crew without the benefit of Lasix. She should improve in this spot, her second race following a short break. She also appears to like racing at Churchill Downs with a win and place in two efforts.
GAM’S MISSION (PP: 7 ML 5-1) has won her last two races by a neck and finished second in her debut. Race fractions we a little slow in her last, but she still managed to run them down late. This race should be a little faster, which could work to her benefit.
Win: #8 FLOWN
Exacta Box: #4 SPANISH LOVEAFFAIR, #5 BARISTA, #7 GAM’S MISSION and #8 FLOWN
Matt Winn Stakes
A solid, competitive field of eight will race 1 1/16 miles on the main track. The horses turn left not so long after leaving the gates, which has given inside horses an edge, especially those with early speed.
Picks to Win:
O BESOS (PP: 3 ML 2-1) is not an early sped type. Instead, he is an off the pace type with some of the strongest late pace numbers. We keep making a big deal out of it because it adds an element of the unknown, but he’s run better without Lasix than with it. He should be one of the fastest horses running down the lane late.
FULSOME (PP: 5 ML 5/2) could be a little behind the leaders too. However, he’s also run a pair of solid races where he ran close to the front. Horses that train well at Churchill tend to race well at Churchill and he is training as well as any.
HELIUM (PP: 2 ML 5/2) is likely to be one of the pacesetters out of the gates. He tried to move towards the front early in the Kentucky Derby but faded. He won’t face anywhere near the same level of competition here and should be able to hold his spot better than he did in the Derby.
GAME DAY PLAY (PP: 8 ML 8-1) is making his second start for trainer Robertino Diodoro. He just ran his second-best speed figure in his first race for the new trainer. Diodoro’s horses tend to get better in their second start for him and win at 25%.
Win: #5 FULSOME
Exacta Box: #2 HELIUM, #3 O BESOS, #5 FULSOME and #8 GAME DAY PLAY
Ten will sprint 6 furlongs on the dirt. Horses that get off to a fast start have the advantage, winning more than 60% of the time with close to 35% of winners leading from gate to wire. Post favors outside speed.
Picks to Win:
EMPIRE OF GOLD (PP: 5 ML 7/2) ran the top last race speed figure in his second outing following five months on the sidelines. His resume says the third race in the cycle will be the best. However, he’s going without Lasix for the first time in his last 10 races.
SIR ALFRED JAMES (PP: 9 ML 8-1) is a horse for the course and distance. He has three wins at Churchill, two of them in two tries at 6 furlongs. He has zero wins at any other track in four races and just one win in seven starts at any other distance.
BANGO (PP: 3 ML 4-1) is dropping in class and shortening in distance. He ran 7 furlongs in a Grade I in his last race and backs up to 6 furlongs here, where he has four wins in six tries. He’s also starred at Churchill with four wins in seven races, just one winners’ circle trip in nine races anywhere else.
TAP IT TO WIN (PP: 10 ML 3-1) is probably the best horse in the race, under the right conditions. One of those conditions is Lasix. His last was the first in his last 10 without the drug. He started fast and faded hard, a sign that he had trouble breathing. If it’s just a one-off event, then he’s undefeated at the distance in three races and could make it four for four.
Win: #9 SIR ALFRED JAMES
Exacta Box: #3 BANGO, #5 EMPIRE OF GOLD, #9 SIR ALFRED JAMES and #10 TAP IT TO WIN
TVG.com Sign Up Bonus Offer
This content is intended for entertainment purposes only. For full details and disclosures, visit our Terms section. For more information on licensed sportsbooks – including available states and the best places to play – visit our Sportsbook Reviews.