Churchill Downs Horse Racing Picks for Saturday 6/27/20
With most of the sports world on pause, it's a great time to dive into horse racing, and TVG gives you the chance to do just that.
Starting at 1:00 p.m. EST, we have 11 races at Churchill Downs. Here are some of the best bets.
As always, check the program for scratches and changes, and check the weather and track conditions.
(I will reference Equibase's Speed Figure in selected races, which tells you how fast a horse has been running in each of its races -- adjusted for track, distances, and conditions.)
Midnight Bisou , Race 9
TVG Odds: 3/5
Race 9 offers little payoff potential as the two favorites will be tough to overcome in the $200K Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) for older fillies and mares. Potential rain in Louisville may have hit the track by mid afternoon, and this 1 1/8 mile race is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. EST.
Watch the weather and these two fine mares run as Midnight Bisou (3/5) and Serengeti Empress (2/1) try to win an automatic fees-paid entry to the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Keeneland in November.
Serengeti Empress will be all alone as controlling speed and may be able to slow the pace enough to give her even greater strength down the stretch. She won the Azeri (G2) in March with a 106 speed figure but tossed in a clunker last time out in April. Serengeti Empress won over this Churchill Downs surface 13 months ago, winning the Kentucky Oaks, and trainer Tom Amoss says she’s ready to bounce back from her last race.
Midnight Misou has Mike Smith aboard for trainer Steve Asmussen. She has won 12 of 20 starts -- in addition to five runner-up finishes -- including her last two races in the Saudi Cup in February and Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November, finishing three lengths ahead of front-running Serengeti Empress at this same distance. Her speed figures are often above 110. She is working very well in the mornings at Churchill Downs for her return.
Add both to Pick 3 horizontal wagers, but there's no wagering value. Take your pick with both in the exacta, adding longshot Motion Emotion (15/1) for EPO trainer Baltas.
By My Standards , Race 10
TVG Odds: 5/2
Race 10 is a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ qualifier to the BC Classic in November. The $500K Stephen Foster (G2) drew eight older colts and is going 1 1/8 miles. Jockey Mike Smith will try to keep the pace moderate aboard pacesetter Pirate’s Punch (15/1), but he won’t hold up against this group.
The favorite Tom’s d’Etat (1/1) is the logical choice and is getting better with age, winning four of his last five starts. He’s won three straight races, hitting at least a 113 speed figure. He’ll be coming from off the pace at this preferred distance and is looking to beat younger rivals in his second race off a layoff. He has 10 wins in 17 starts. Overbet today.
Owendale (4/1) will also come from off the pace and has finished first or second in three starts at this 1 1/8-mile distance. It's his second start off a six-month layoff, and another move forward should be no surprise with EPO trainer Brad Cox feeding him just the right nutrients.
Two other EPO trainers are in this field with Todd Pletcher entering Fearless (12/1) and Peter Miller with Multiplier (10/1). A win by either tells you all you need to know about EPO.
By My Standards (5/2) has won three straight races against progressively better competition. He won the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) in May with a career-best 106 speed figure, pressing the pace in victory and beating the likes of Mr. Freeze and Tacitus. He now has five wins in nine starts, but this is his first try over the Churchill Downs surface for trainer Calhoun. Note the jockey change from the program with top local rider Corey Lanerie in the irons.
Hendy Woods and Dominga , Race 11
TVG Odds: 15/1 and 5/1
The $100K Regret Stakes (G3) has high payoff potential with 13 fillies running 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Hendy Woods (15/1) is a longshot to support and is two for two this year and did not race as a two-year-old. She was scratched from the Tepin Stakes. There is plenty of run up to the first turn at this distance on the turf with Hendy Woods breaking from the No. 13 post. Another move forward is likely, and she is offering great value for superb trainer Mark Casse.
Dominga (5/1) breaks from the rail for EPO trainer Brad Cox, and EPO works best on route distance as runners tend to find more running down the lane. She has had a pair of strong workouts since missing the board in her last race a month ago. Sired by the great Ghostzapper, Dominga posted a career-best 100 speed figure while running at the back of the pack, and a closer look shows she had to slam on the breaks as a hole closed in front of her in the stretch as she gained momentum. Super Screener supports her with value, as well, and she should enjoy the added distance and can make a run if she finds room.
France-based filly Crystal Cliffs (3/1) dominated an easier group in her U.S. debut, and she can still improve second off a layoff and will be coming from off the pace with jockey John Velazquez urging her on.
Pass the Plate (6/1) is also an inclusion in late horizontal wagers and could surprise off a third-place finish last time out as a long shot. Pass the Plate has hit the board in six turf starts, making her one to include when spreading and leveraging and cutting down wager size.
Harvey’s Lil Goil (5/1) will stalk the pace and a solid effort is expected at this distance for trainer Bill Mott.