11TH RACE: 20 Wicked Strong, 5 California Chrome, 15 Tapiture, 17 Commanding Curve. LONG SHOT: 14 Medal Count.
I liked HOPPERTUNITY until he was scratched. WICKED STRONG was impressive in winning the Wood Memorial. CALIFORNIA CHROME deserves favoritism. TAPITURE might be ready to rebound. COMMANDING CURVE had a horrible trip in Louisiana Derby, but was running at the end. MEDAL COUNT is bred to get the distance.
Race 4: #10 Kyriaki (3-1)
There is a ton of speed in this grass race. This filly ships in from Santa Anita for trainer Peter Eurton and appears to be the only true closer in the bunch. Jockey Mike Smith takes the mound and should be flying down the lane.
SIXTH RACE (Churchill Distaff Turf Mile): 1. I’m Ready Sexy, 2. Centre Court, 3. Miz Ida, 4. Effie Trinket. LONG SHOT: Ready Signal.
SEVENTH RACE (Humana Distaff): 1. Midnight Lucky, 2. Judy the Beauty, 3. Scherzinger, 4. Iotapa. LONG SHOT: Speedinthruthecity.
EIGHTH RACE (American Turf): 1. Cleburne (30-1), 2. Chief Barker, 3. Woodfield Springs, 4. Global View. LONG SHOT: Craftsman.
This running of the American Turf is wide open so why not go with a long shot which has a Hall of Fame jockey aboard (Mike Smith). CLEBURNE, a son of Dixie Union, broke his maiden on the grass and then won on the dirt at Churchill before going to sidelines in September. After finishing third in the Calder Derby last month, he returns to the grass and looks like he will be moving turning for home.
NINTH RACE (Churchill Downs): 1. Delaunay, 2. Shakin It Up, 3. Sahara Sky, 4. Clearly Now. LONG SHOT: Broadway Empire.
10TH RACE (Woodford Reserve Turf Classic): 1. Wise Dan (best bet), 2. Seek Again, 3. Guys Reward, 4. Bright Thought. LONG SHOT: Boisterous.
Race 13: #8 Rocket Time (15-1)
This is a first-time starter sired by Tiz Wonderful, who is good first time out. Trainer Al Stall is 16% with first-timers and 27% with first-timers going a route plus jockey Joel Rosario takes the mount and they are a 33% proposition the last two years.
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Friday’s top choice winners: 1 (Fiftyshadesofgold $6.20, eighth race)
Friday’s second choice winners: 2 (On Fire baby $5.20, fifth; Untapable $4, 11th)
Friday’s third and long show winners: 0