Mother Nature was not kind to Churchill Downs on Friday, with rain making the main track sloppy and the turf course rated as good, with two of the grass races moved to the main track.
Speed prevailed early on the card, with five winners going gate to wire in the first eight races on the card before 30-1 longshot Task Force Glory rallied from 10th to win going long in the ninth race.
In the Kentucky Oaks (G1) a couple of races later, Miss Sky Warrior and Paradise Woods went out way too fast and backed up while my top pick Abel Tasman went from last to first to score the upset.
Abel Tasman returned $20.40 and we hit the recommended exacta for $203.00. With a pair of closers!
Is the speed bias now history?
The question for horseplayers is whether the conveyor belt will be there on Derby Day. The forecast calls for overcast skies with rain showers at times with a 70% chance of rain.
The track will be sealed tonight, and with the inside speed bias that was so obvious early on Friday, I am sure it got the attention of track management.
It looks as if we may not get too much more rain through Saturday afternoon and let’s not forget how much time there is in between races.
The Kentucky Derby goes off at 6:46 ET. The race previous is the Woodford Reserve (G1), which is on turf. The previous dirt race is the 10th race—The Churchill Downs (G2) which has a post time of 4:28 ET
That means there is more than two hours after the 10th race to get the main track ready for the Kentucky Derby.
Let’s go into today’s card with an open mind and not worry about a track bias until we actually see one.
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Let’s head out to Churchill Downs for Saturday’s featured betting race of the day:
CD Race 11 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic G1 (5:25 ET)
#7 World Approval 6-1
#2 Divisidero 4-1
#4 Conquest Panthera 8-1
#8 Beach Patrol 5-1
Analysis: World Approval was beaten just a neck in this race last year by our second choice in a tough beat at 10-1. The gelding came out of that race to run third in the Manhattan (G1) and win the United Nations (G1) in his next two starts. Last out the Casse trainee came back off a 5 1/2 month layoff with a solid win in the state bred Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs which should serve as a good prep for today. he has run well with turf with some give to it and that will be the case today. Decent value if he goes off near his 6-1 morning line.
Divisdero is the defending champ of this race. The five-year-old is 0 for 4 since then, last out coming up a nose shorter versus allowance foe sin his first go off a two-month break. This guy ran four consecutive triple digit Beyers last year including over good ground in a runner up finish in the Appleton (G3) at Gulfstream Park. The extra ground here will suit and he looks capable of moving forward off his last effort.
Conquest Panthera just gets better with each turf start and last out was beaten just a neck and a nose in a third-place finish in the Makers 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland at 27-1. He was a decent third two back in the Canadian Turf (G3) in his first stakes try on the lawn. He will be competitive in this sport if he can run back to his last effort and the 8-1 morning line looks fair enough to give him a look.
WIN: #7 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 2,7 / 2,4,7,8
TRI: 2,7 / 2,4,7,8 / 2,4,6,7,8
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