Churchill Downs: Horse racing pick of the day for Nov. 20

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

November 20th, 2020

Weekday picks and plays for Thoroughbred racing.

Friday, Nov. 20

Churchill Downs, Race 8: Allowance (5 furlongs, 4:36 p.m. ET)

#7 American Mandate (9-5 on the morning line) and #2 Royal Daaher (4-1) rate a cut above their rivals in terms of Brisnet Speed ratings, which suggests a 1-2 finish could be in the offing. But while Royal Daaher finished a nose in front of American Mandate in a Feb. 22 allowance sprint at Oaklawn Park, American Mandate appears better prepared for a winning effort Friday.

Royal Daaher hasn’t run since his meeting with American Mandate, and while trainer James DiVito has been hot at Churchill Downs (he has finished in the top three with nine of his 11 starters since Sept. 1), he strikes at just an 8% rate with runners returning from extended layoffs.

In contrast, American Mandate has been racing steadily all year and arrives at Churchill Downs off a gallant, runner-up effort in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance at Keeneland. The Steve Asmussen trainee was beaten just a nose, and he put up a career-best 97 Brisnet Speed rating, the highest number in Friday’s field.

With jockey Ricardo Santana in the saddle, American Mandate looms as the horse. We’ll bet him to win and play him on top of a trifecta, with Royal Daaher keyed underneath.

$15 to win on #7 American Mandate
$5 trifecta: 7 with 2 with 3,4 ($10)
$2.50 trifecta: 7 with 3,4 with 2 ($5)
Total: $30

Good luck!