Downs After Dark All-Stakes Pick 3 Play

Profile Picture: James Scully

September 29th, 2018

C Z Rocket wins the Kelly's Landing Stakes (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

The Lukas Classic (G3) and Ack Ack (G3) have Breeders’ Cup implications and the Jefferson Cup kicks off the stakes action on today’s Downs After Dark program at Churchill Downs. Here’s my preview of the races:

Jefferson Cup (Race 7)

Hot Springs (#5) recorded a couple of sharp wins over the course in June, breaking his maiden and winning an entry-level allowance, and ran well when finishing second in his stakes debut, the Kent (G3) at Delaware Park. The Uncle Mo colt exits a solid fourth versus a nice cast in the September 1 Saranac (G3) at Saratoga, showing he can handle turf with some give to it, and the Steve Asmussen trainee looks poised to receive a good trip here just off the speed. Hot Springs can keep progressing with his first stakes victory.

Factor This (#4) steps up in good form for Brad Cox and his speed could be dangerous. Majestic Eagle (#6) invades for Neil Drysdale and can’t be dismissed following a decent fourth in the Del Mar Derby (G2). Tigers Rule (#3) merits consideration following a good second at Kentucky Downs.

Ack Ack (Race 8)

Contested at a one-turn mile, the Ack Ack lacks pace with no confirmed front-runners. That benefits C Z Rocket (#7), who runs his best races at Churchill Downs and should be forward from his outside post. The Al Stall Jr.-trained son of City Zip posted an outstanding win in the seven-furlong Kelly’s Landing under the Twin Spires two starts back, registering a field-best 108 BRIS Speed rating for the four-length decision, and he appears more than capable of proving best on the front end.

Lukas Classic (Race 9)

Even-money morning line favorite Mind Your Biscuits (#6) makes his second straight start at 1 1/8 miles in the Lukas Classic and two-time winner of the six-furlong Golden Shaheen (G1) has posted all seven of his wins at seven furlongs or less. And while he’s kept good company, the five-year-old is winless from three North American starts this year. I will try to beat the favorite.

Term of Art (#7) has come on this year for new trainer Brad Cox, recording a fine neck second in the West Virginia Governor’s (G3) two back that netted a 102 BRIS Speed rating, and he was too far back in the Woodward (G1) last time before rallying by nearly half the field in the stretch. He can sit a better trip today with his tactical speed and I like the triple-digit BRIS Late Pace ratings the four-year-old son of TIznow has been earning.

Honorable Duty (#1) is the defending champ and the six-year-old gelding loves the track (9-4-3-0). Breaking Lucky (#8) figures to be forwardly-placed from his outside post and is a little sneaky in his second start back from a lengthy layoff for new trainer George Weaver. Flowers for Lisa (#5) invades in good form for Jorge Navarro and will try to steal the race on the front end.

Pick 3 Wager (races 7-9)

I will single C Z Rocket and go four-deep in the other legs.

$3 Pick 3: 3,4,5,6 with 7 with 1,5,7,8 ($48)

Good luck!