How to Bet the Bashford Manor Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

June 26th, 2018

Want to get an early start looking for 2019 Kentucky Derby contenders? Then you won’t want to miss Saturday’s $100,000 Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs!

The six-furlong spring is the first graded stakes race of the year for two-year-olds, and in 2016 the race was won by future juvenile champion and Preakness Stakes runner-up Classic Empire, so there’s always a chance that the Bashford Manor could produce a future star.

The favorite in this huge field of thirteen figures to be #9 Tales of Chaucer, who flashed impressive speed while breaking his maiden by 3 ½ lengths over a sloppy, sealed track at Belmont on June 1st. Trained by Norm Casse, former assistant to top trainer Mark Casse, Tales of Chaucer received eye-catching speed figures (93 BRIS and 84 Beyer) that top this field, though it’s fair to question whether the sloppy track enhanced his performance.

I’m rather interested in #1 Shanghaied Roo, though the rail draw is less than ideal for a two-year-old in a large field. Trained by Bret Calhoun, who has enjoyed strong success training juveniles, Shanghaied Roo easily won his debut sprinting 4 ½ furlongs at Keeneland on April 6th, and the runner-up—Myhotrodlincoln—was a well-meant shipper from New Mexico that came back to finish second by just a head in the Kentucky Juvenile Stakes at Churchill Downs, a race from which Shanghaied Roo was scratched by the veterinarian.

Shanghaied Roo demonstrated that he’s none the worse for wear by posting six subsequent workouts at Churchill Downs, and if Tales of Chaucer regresses off his fast debut, Shanghaied Roo looms as a logical candidate to take advantage if he can work out a good trip from his tricky post draw.

Trainer Doug O’Neill ships in #11 Toothless Wonder from California, where the colt finished fourth in his debut before rallying from just off the pace to win a 4 ½-furlong maiden race at Santa Anita on May 27th. Obviously it’s much too early in the season to be drawing conclusions regarding which regions of the country might have the best crop of two-year-olds, though the recent dominance of California in the Triple Crown (with the likes of I’ll Have Another, California Chrome, American Pharoah, Nyquist, Exaggerator, and Justify) does leave me with the feeling that any potential Derby candidate from out west must be respected, and since Toothless Wonder fits quite nicely here in terms of speed figures (92 BRIS and 76 Beyer), it’s not hard to envision him claiming an early win for California on the road to the Kentucky Derby.

Let’s box these three in a sizable exacta and see if we can’t uncover a strong payoff in this deep, competitive race:

Update: With the scratch of Tales of Chaucer, let's replace him in our exacta with #4 Sir Truebadour:

$5 exacta: 1,4,11 with 1,4,11 ($30)

Good luck!