Written by Daniel Benjamin
Race 1- Maiden Special Weight ($79,000)
This two-year-old filly race will have 12 or 13 first-time starters that will go four-and-a-half furlongs. #2 Mad Maddy, a daughter of American Pharaoh whose stud fee is $200,000, has been very good during training going four furlongs in 46 seconds in breezing fashion back on May 6 at Keeneland. Trainer Steven Asmussen has done a fantastic job with two-year-old fillies and has recorded a winning percentage of 19% and has finished in the money 45% of the time. Plus, Asmussen and jockey Ricardo Santana seemingly work well together, having won 20% of the races together this year. #4 Tequilla Queen, a sister of Mad Maddy, ran her last two training attempts at three furlongs at under 36 seconds with the best being 34.6 seconds on May 7. Trainer Wesley Ward, who has given Tyler Gaffalione the ride aboard Tequilla Queen, has a 26% win percentage as well as a 55% success rate of reaching the podium with first-time female starters on dirt. #7 Cool Enough is the daughter of Graded Stakes champion Tamarkuz. Cool Enough has the winningest trainer, as well as jockey in the field, this year with Phil Schoenthal and Edwin Gonzalez, respectively. Plus, Schoenthal and Gonzalez have a 100% winning percentage when working together. #10 Seguro and #1 Summer Way, who is coupled with #1A Tiz A Bit Lucky -- an also eligible -- are other horses to consider in exotic bets.
Picks: I like an exacta box of #2,#4. I also like a trifecta box of #2, #4, #7,#10.
Race 2- Starter Optional Claiming (Purse - $34,000)
This $20,000-$10,000 optional claiming event is for four-year-olds and upwards who will run six furlongs. #5 T Loves A Fight is making his debut at Churchill, after racing his previous 38 races in New York, and is racing for the first time since Jan. 18. T Loves A Fight had his five-race streak of medaling snapped as he finished fifth in the Grade 3 Toboggan Stakes back in the middle of January. The six-year-old gelding has five wins in 12 tries at six furlongs.#7 Ruler of the Nile really loves Churchill, producing a lifetime mark of 100% (3-for-3) here. The eight-year-old also has been running well this year, recording an ESpeed of 90 or better and picking up two victories along with a third-place finish in his last outing which was in a $16,000 optional claiming event. Ruler of the Nile is a main track specialist and enjoys this distance, producing a 44% win percentage. #4 Mannford is a value pick for show after being way outclassed in a $40,000 optional claiming event but that was his first race under the direction of CL Brownfield III. Mannford, who was claimed on Jan. 9, has not raced since March 21. The six-year-old Ohio gelding has finished in the top 3 in 19 of 31 (61.2%) career races.
Picks: I like a trifecta box of #5, #7, #4. I also like a value show bet on the #4.
Race 7- Allowance Optional Claiming
At least 10 females, along with the possibility of up to four others, runners will go five and one-half furlongs on turf. #10 Devils Dance has been really strong in 2020 having finished in the top three in all three of her races this year. Devils Dance, the speediest horse in the field, is coming off a second-place finish at this level in Santa Anita. The four-year-old Kentucky-bred filly has won 25% of the lifetime races on turf and owns a 20% winning percentage at this distance. #4 Mentality is a turf savant with a 69.2% WPS percentage on the surface. While Mentality is racing for the first time in 2020, she picked a win up at this level at Belmont Park on Sept. 27.#3 Dalika has not raced since placing fourth in the Pago Hop Stakes on Dec. 28. The four-year-old German-bred filly has registered an ESpeed of at least 100 in each of her last four outings. Top jockey Joel Rosario will be in charge of Dalika, who has finished in the top 3 in two of three races at Churchill. #8 Stylishly is a longshot and could pay dividends in exotic bets.
Picks: I like a show bet on the #10. I also like an exacta #10,#4.