Written by Daniel Benjamin
by Daniel Benjamin
Race 7 - Allowance (Purse - $83,000)
This $62,500 optional claiming event is slated for five and one-half furlongs on the turf and is for three-year-olds and upwards. #11 Fig Jelly “just missed” picking up his first stakes win in his last outing as he closed to within a neck at the wire at Gulfstream on March 7. Fig Jelly, who will have Javier Castellano in the saddle, has finished in the money in 12 of the last 15 starts. The four-year-old gelding has run well on turf and has a 25% win percentage on that surface. #5 Chewing Gum has also run well the last four outings, posting an ESpeed of 100 or greater which includes a third-place finish in his last race on March 28 at Gulfstream. HOF trainer Bill Mott has top jockey, Joel Rosario, on the five-year-old horse, who won an allowance at Churchill back on Nov 23. #1 American Mandate is also-eligible so we will see if he will run but if he does, expect him to be a factor. American Mandate has run well recently as well and he has finished in the money 71.4% of the time. Plus, the four-year-old colt has reached the podium in all three of his races at Churchill. #13 Maniacal also should be given serious consideration if he runs. If for some reason, the race is switched to the main track, I recommend including #15 Hop Kat in the mix.
Picks: I like an exacta box of #11, #5, #1. If #1’s odds make it worthwhile to put a show bet on him, I recommend it.
Race 8 - Allowance Optional Claiming (Purse -$81,000)
At least 12 fillies, and possibly 14, will go seven furlongs in this $75,000 optional claiming event. #5 Center Aisle was strong in her debut as she opened up down the stretch and increased her lead to win by three and three-quarters lengths as the unquestioned favorite in a Maiden Special Weight clash at Gulfstream on March 29. Joel Rosario will once again be in the saddle for trainer Chad C. Brown. #6 Casual, with Ricardo Santana onboard, will look to follow up a win in her debut at Oaklawn as she split foes in the stretch and won the race to the wire on April 11. #7 Nayibeth is in a good position to improve after getting handily beaten as the favorite, although she did end up second in an optional claiming ($50,000), at Turfway Park back on March 6. Jockey Gerardo Corrales and trainer Wesley Ward have worked well together this year. #1 Four Grands should be primed for a bounce-back performance after a disappointing second career start where she finished a whopping 13 lengths behind winner Finding Fame against similar competition.
Picks: I like an exacta box of #5, #6, #7.