Churchill Downs: Value play for Ack Ack Stakes Oct. 2

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

October 1st, 2021

The 10th race on a fine Saturday card at Churchill Downs features a big field contesting the $300,000 Ack Ack S. (G3). A total of 11 will vie in the one-mile test, and I believe that #10 Beau Liam (3-1) has the look of a budding star for Steve Asmussen.

Ack Ack Wagers

  • $10 wps #4 Ebben ($30)
  • $2 exacta key box 4 with 1,2,6,10,11 ($20)
  • 50-cent superfecta 4,10 with 4,10 with 1,2,6,11 with 1,2,6,11 ($12)

The unbeaten son of Liam’s Map is three-for-three in his brief career, with a dynamic maiden win locally in May and a pair of impressive allowance triumphs at Saratoga in the summer. The Stonestreet homebred has earned triple-digit Brisnet speed figures in each of those victories, and he seems poised to have a major say in the outcome of his stakes debut on Saturday. Brian Hernandez, Jr. inherits the mount.

However, he faces some stiff competition on Saturday, which includes longshot #4 Ebben (15-1) who will be making his 2021 bow in the event. Trained by Steve Margolis, the gelded son of Trappe Shot ‘flipped a switch’ of sorts in the middle of last season when rolling home to a trio of consecutive tallies in the Bluegrass State, with a pair of those coming beneath the Twin Spires.

Ebben was fifth, beaten by just two lengths, in this race in 2020 and seems poised for another positive showing following some swift morning drills as of late. The chestnut six-year-old owns a trio of lifetime victories at Churchill and has run some of the best races in his lifetime on the famed strip. I love the aggressive placement by his connections to try this race off of a nine-month break.

In the Ack Ack, I envision Ebben to be tracking near midpack early on behind a swift early tempo before putting in his best run approaching the turn for home. Ebben might not get the top prize, but he represents fantastic value at a huge number in his seasonal bow. Francisco Arrieta will pilot the Kentucky-bred.

The rapidly improving #1 Exculpatory (10-1), Grade 3 star #2 Mo Mosa (12-1), sharp Saratoga allowance hero #6 Aloha West (7-2), and 2020 Pat Day Mile (G2) victor #11 Rushie (4-1), are the others that I will include in my wagers.