Looking For Better Standards in Clark at Churchill Downs


A field of 14 will line up in the $500,000 Clark (G1) on Friday at Churchill Downs (Photo credit: Churchill Downs Inc.)

A full field of 14 will head to the starting gate for Friday’s $500,000 Clark (G1) at Churchill Downs including four contenders that came up short on Breeders’ Cup Day.

Among those is the Bret Calhoun trained By My Standards (4-1), who was a disappointing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland in his last outing, beaten 14 lengths.

“We didn’t get the best of trips in the Breeders’ Cup and he didn’t like the surface that day,” Calhoun said. “He worked really well (on Friday). He just has such a big stride and covers a lot of ground.”

Also exiting the Classic is Title Ready (15-1), who was sent off at 66-1 and was not a threat in a seventh-place finish. Trained by Dallas Stewart, the five-year-old was third in the Fayette (G2) back in October.

Two are exiting the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1)—Owendale (5-1) who rallied to finish fifth and Mr Freeze (6-1) who was sixth.

The morning line favorite for the Clark is the Shug McGaughey trained Code of Honor (3-1) who skipped the Breeders’ Cup. The colt ran second in the Kelso Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park in his last outing on Oct. 3. He was seventh in last year’s Classic.

After coming off the bench in June to win the Westchester (G3) in his 2010 debut, he ran third in the Met Mile (G1) and fourth in the Whitney (G1).

“Johnny (Velazquez) told me after the Met that this horse definitely wants two turns,” McGaughey said. “His race in the Kelso against Complexity, who was the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, was a really good race.”

2020 Kelso Replay

The holiday weekend got off to a good start with Envoutante winning the Falls City Handicap (G2) as my top pick, returning $7.20 and topping a $2 exacta that paid $14.40.

We have three stakes coming up on Friday afternoon at Aqueduct—the $100,000 Gio Ponti, the $100,000 Comely (G3) and the $100,000 Forever Together.

Click here to purchase my Aqueduct and Best Plays Reports for Friday.

Let’s head out to Churchill Downs for Friday’s featured race of the day:

Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs Race 10 The Clark G1 (5:27 ET)

12 By My Standards   4-1

9 Owendale   5-1

3 Code of Honor   3-1

7 Mr Freeze   6-1

By My Standards

The Calhoun trainee was my second choice in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and he tossed in a dud, checking in eighth and beaten 14 lengths. He broke outward and was bumped early, came four wide and had no punch in the stretch. He earned triple digit Beyers in his four previous outings including a sharp win in the Alysheba (G2) over the main track here and a second in the Seven Foster (G2) behind Tom’s d’Etat back in June. He has done some of his best work at nine furlongs, landing in the exacta in all five trips including wins earlier this year in the New Orleans ‘Cap (G2) and Oaklawn ‘Cap (G2). Looking for him to bounce back with a much better effort in this spot.


This colt raced at the back of the pack early while saving ground and made a mild late rally to finish fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). Nobody was beating Knicks Go that day as his stablemate was very sharp in his gate to wire score. He will appreciate the stretch back out to nine furlongs. He ran second to our top pick three back in the Alysheba and made a good late run to finish in the runner up spot in this race last year. This is just his sixth start this year and he will be much closer to the pace here.

Code of Honor

The morning line favorite tracked the early pace and could not get to Complexity in the stretch in a runner up finish in the Kelso ‘Cap (G2) at a one turn mile. Two back he was fourth in the Whitney (G1) at nine furlongs. the winner Improbable was one of three to exit that racer to win next out, taking the Awesome Again (G1) and then running second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). His lone trip over the main track here was his third in the Kentucky Derby (G1) in the slop last year, getting elevated to second via the DQ. Shug looks like he has this guy really for a big effort here and the stretch out to two turns suits. The main knock is going to be the likely short price.


WIN: By My Standards to win at 7-2 or better.

EXACTA: 9,12 / 3,7,9,12 and 12 / 3,5,7,9


NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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