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Free picks For Churchill Downs - 9/5/20

Race 1 - Allowance Optional Claiming $150,000 (Purse $107,000)

This should be a fabulous seven-furlong event with a very short field of five runners.

#4 Midnight Sands is making his US debut after winning five straight handicap races in Dubai dating back to February 2019. The 4-year Kentucky horse, a son of Speightstown, has not raced since this past February although he has put in several recent good workouts, including going five-furlongs in 59 seconds on Aug .20 at Ellis Park and then a week later going the distance in 1:00.6. He is 6-5-1-0 on dirt and has a 60% strike rate at this distance as well as a 80% WPS. Tyler Gaffalione, who has a strike rate of 18% percent and a 47% WPS percentage this year, will be in the irons.

#5 Hog Creek Hustle has run pretty consistently over his last 11 outings, cashing in six of those events which 10 of the races being stakes events. 70% of the 4-year’s colt “cashes” has been either second or third and he has reached the podium in 58.8% of his dirt races. Hog Creek Hustle runs well at this distance (4-2-2-0) and at Churchill Downs (4-1-2-0).

#3 Bourbon Resolution cuts back from one and one-sixteenth miles where he has run the last three races. The 5-year-old horse has a win in two races at this distance and reached the podium in three of five races at Churchill downs though no wins. Plus, Bourbon Resolution will have jockey Julian Lepareux on board and is out of Ian Wilkes barn.

Picks: I like a win bet on the #4. I also like a place bet on #5.

Race 2 - Maiden Special Weight ($97,000)

Seven 3-year-old male runners, including two first-timers, will go six furlongs.

#5 Idol, a son of Curlin, has been spectacular during his recent workouts at Churchill Downs and Del Mar, which includes going six furlongs a couple times in less than 1:14. Aggressive jockey Paco Lopez, who has a career strike rate of 14% and a39% WPS percentage with first-time starters,gets the ride for trainer Richard Baltas, whose first-time runners have won 18% of their races this year.

#7 Kadri closed well in his debut to finish second at this distance at Indiana Grand though he was no match for the winner. The three-year-old gelding turned in a sweet five-furlong workout for trainer J. Larry Jones at Churchill on Aug. 31.

#4 Quality Warrior has ample experience at this distance and excellent speed, however, he has not shown well in his last two outings. But trainer D Wayne Lukas has chosen to go with jockey John Velasquez and the two have had enormous success throughout their career. Quality Warrior also has been training pretty decently.

#1 Thrill Ride, the son of Candy Ride, should also be considered in exotic bets.

Picks: I like a win bet on the #5. I also like a #7, #1 exacta bet as well as a trifecta box of #5, #7, #4, #1.

Race 3 - Maiden Special Weight (Purse $97,000)

Nine 3-and-4-year-old male runner, including one first-timer, will go one mile on the dirt. This should be a very competitive affair with five of the competitors having previously gone this distance.

#6 Pit Boss has excellent lineage with relationships to both Speightstown and Union Rags. The Kentucky colt also has run pretty well and is coming off a third-place finish at this distance the last time out at Ellis Park. Pit Boss also has experience at Churchill Downs and each of his four starts have been at least a mile long affair.

#4 One Nation, whose sire is also Union Rags, is stretching out from six furlongs after finishing a distant third at that distance at Indiana Grand the last time out, which was his first race of the year. One Nation is making his debut at Churchill Downs, though the 4-year-old Kentucky gelding has shown well at Santa Anita and Del Mar previously.

#7 Dynacharge is a closer and returns to Churchill, where he finished third at this distance two starts ago, after a fourth-place finish in one and one-sixteenth mile affair on July 11 at Keeneland. Dynacharge has also been training well recently.

#8 Too Hot makes the trip down from Woodbine and is switching over to the dirt for the first time. Too Hot definitely should have the stamina to go this distance and he has been training well. Expect jockey Miguel Meno, who has finished in the top 3 in 60% of his rides at Churchill, to have Too Hot in the top flight in the early going.

#9 Speightstown Again has raced well this year, cashing in two of his three starts -- including once here at Churchill -- but this will be his first race longer than seven furlongs.

Picks: I like a win bet on #6. I also like an exacta box of #6, #4, #7. In addition, I may include #8 and #9 in a superfecta box bet.

Race 5 - Allowance (Purse - $100,000)

12 3-and-4-year-old male runners are expected to go one and one-sixteenth miles on the turf in what should be an exciting affair. There are also, three also eligibles including #15 Admire -- who is the main track eligible only.

#8 On A Spree is the most successful of the competitors in the field, with four wins -- all on the grass -- to go along with a 76.9% WPS percentage, and has run extremely well of late. The 4-year-old gelded son of Speightstown raced evenly for the majority of a one and one-half handicap event at Gulfstream Park before weakening and losing out on place by a neck. On A Spree, who runs wells at this distance, has nine straight top 3 finishes. This will his second start out of Mike Maker’s barn, which has won 20% of their races on the grass in 2020.

#10 Parkland has been extremely impressive as a freshman runner and while he doesn’t have the class that most of the other combatants in the field, he should be competitive in this race. Parkland has improved in each of his last three starts, finally breaking his maiden the last time out, but perhaps more importantly he has turned out sterling workouts since that last race on July 25.

#5 Spanish Kingdom is coming out of the advantageous 5-hole and earned a three-length victory two starts back at this level going one and one-eighth miles at Keeneland. The 3-year-old gelded son has also been training well recently. However, Spanish Kingdom has just one win, and a second-place finish in six attempts on the turf and has not earned a result in three starts at the present distance.

#7 Attorney Tim and #9 Stage Ready should also be considered in exotic bets.

Picks: I like a win bet on #8. I also like a #8, #10, #5 exacta bet.

Race 8 - American Turf Stakes ($500,000)

This one and one-sixteenth mile stakes race will have eight 3-year-old male runners. This race appears to be a two-horse affair.

#5 Smooth Like Straight is a turf savant having recorded four wins in six cashes overall in seven starts on the grass. The 3-year-old Kentucky colt is coming off his best performance of his young career, registering an Espeed of 107 as he went wire-to-wire in the $125,000 Grade III La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 8, marking his second straight victory and third stakes victory (two graded). Jockey John Velazquez has a 19% strike rate and 48% WPS percentage in graded stakes events.

#4 Field Pass and jockey Tyler Gaffalione will not make it easy for Velasquez and the Maryland colt certainly ha the ability to win the event. Field Pass, who has earned a field high $423,000, has a 40% win rate as well as 70% WPS percentage on the grass. He also two graded stakes victories and is more experienced than Smooth Like Straight at this distance.

#8 Fancy Liquor is very much a contender but he has finished behind Field Pass both the times that the combatants tangled. Fancy Liquor is 5-2-1-2 lifetime which includes a win in his most recent outing in the one mile $150,000 Caesars Stakes. He also runs well at this distance and has finished third in both of his graded stakes affairs.

#6 Sunsation is worth a look if you want a value selection at the bottom of your ticket. Sunsation has won two of his last three starts and has raced fairly decent in his last four outings.

Picks: I like a win bet on the #5. I like a show bet on the #6.

Race 14 - Grade I Kentucky Derby (Purse $3,0000,000)

16 horses, with the scratches of Finnick the Fierce and King Guillermo, will go one and one-fourth miles on the dirt. The three favorites have the outside three posts.

#17 Tiz the Law, really, there is not much to say as he is certainly an impressive horse that has only been beaten once, back in November at Churchill Downs. He has run exceptionally well since that defeat, rolling off four consecutive wins. Tiz the Law does get a tough post position.

#18 Authentic is also coming from a difficult post but he is clearly the second most talented competitor in the field. The son of Into Mischief bypassed the Belmont but has shown well with battles against Honor A.P. and has not finished first in just one start.

#10 Thousand Words has run extremely well the past two races and he defeated AP Honor in a wire-to-wire win in Del Mar Park’s Shared Belief Stakes the last time out.

I also like #7 Money Moves and #13 Sole Volante to be factors.

Picks: I like a win on the #17. I like a show bet on the #10 and #7.

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