The final Downs After Dark program of the summer at Churchill Downs on Saturday night features a pair of graded stakes including Wise Dan taking on seven foes in the $150,000 Firecracker Handicap (G2) and juveniles going postward in the $100,000 Bashford Manor (G2).
The 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan is the headliner and overwhelming favorite in the Firecracker, installed as the 2-5 morning line chalk. Eight entered in the race but Corporate Jungle (12-1) is likely to scratch according to his trainer Tom Proctor.
Wise Dan is looking for his seventh win in a row, his last loss coming by a head in the Stephen Foster (G1) here last June. He came into that race having won three in a row, so he basically is a head shy of having a ten race winning streak.
A winner of 15 of 22 career starts, it is going to be tough to beat him again on Saturday night as he appears to be coming into the Firecracker in top form as he makes his third start of the year.
Among his overmatched foes the one with the best shot of an upset would be Lea (4-1), who won the Commonwealth (G3) over the turf here last November. The Al Stall trainee came off a six month layoff by beating Alw-3 optional claimers in the slop in a race taken off the turf.
The co-feature on the card is the $100,000 Bashford Manor (G3) which will be a better wagering race. Steve Asmussen sends out the duo of D’cajun Cat (2-1) and Gun Roar (4-1), both coming off maiden wins in their debut outings.
Let’s head out to Churchill Downs for Saturday night’s featured play of the night:
Churchill Downs Race 7 The Bashford Manor (G3) Post time 9:05 ET
6 D’cajun Cat 2-1
3 Hollywood Talent 5-2
1 Gun Roar 4-1
4 Debt Ceiling 10-1
D’cajun Cat is one of two in here sent out by the Steve Asmussen barn. The colt was a $300,000 Ocala purchase who caught a sloppy track in his debut and loved it, drawing away to win by 5 ¼ lengths as the 9-5 favorite. Three he beat have come to run with the best finish a second by third place finisher Frat Man at Colonial Downs on June 16. This guy has a nice pedigree to along with his price tag, out of the stakes winner Rabiadella ($263,140) who has dropped seven other winners including a trio of stakes winners, top earner Diadella ($563,274). There is about a 50% shot of rain, which would make this guy look even more attractive.
Hollywood Talent was a good looking maiden winner on poly in his debut at Keeneland. He set the early fractions, was headed in upper stretch and then drew away to win by 3 ½ lengths. The runner up Manaus came back to run third here on June 14. In fact of the seven he beat that have run back six either were second or third in their next starts. The Wesley Ward barn is always togh in these early juvenile races and is 23% winners with runners coming back off a 46-90 day break. The trainer and owner have been on fire and it is just a matter of whether this colt can make the transition from the fake stuff to dirt.
Gun Roar came from off the pace to get up and break his maiden in his debut in the slop here. Two he beat have come back to race and they both were second in their next starts. The rail draw here with speed just to his outside is probably not the best position to be in here. The colt is out of the stakes winner Roaring Twenties ($375,710) who has dropped three other winners, top earner Joan’s Choice ($216,395).
WIN: D’cajun Cat to win at 8-5 or better.
EXACTA: 3,6 / 1,3,4,6
TRIFECTA: 3,6 / 1,3,4,6 / 1,3,4,5,6
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