Hanson: Thoughts on Churchill Downs' Late Pick 4

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June 20th, 2020

While much of the day's focus will be on the Belmont Stakes card, the usual host for the Triple Crown opener, Churchill Downs, has a strong 11-race program on Saturday highlighted by older grass horses in the Wise Dan (G2). Here are thoughts on the Late Pick 4.

Pick 4 Sequence

Race 8

#1 HEAVENLY SIS (6-1) didn't appear to fire her best shot when last seen at Fair Grounds in February. A strong second at Keeneland last fall, she has a bit of speed and a maturity edge on most of these. #8 APRIL IN PARIS (9-2) turned in a fair debut last month and improvement possible second out. #12 SPEIGHTFUL CHARGE (30-1) showed some early foot before fading in her debut here last September. Shows string of stamina-oriented works at Keeneland and longshot worth a look in a seemingly wide-open race.

Race 9 -- Wise Dan Stakes (G2)

#3 FACTOR THIS (8-5) had everything his own way in a pair of graded wins at Fair Grounds but nonetheless could be the real deal for Brad Cox. #5 AQUAPHOBIA (6-1) has improved markedly off the claim by Mike Maker and sharp second in the Sunshine Forever at Gulfstream last out behind a loose-on-the-lead favorite. #8 EMMAUS (15-1) has been in the mix virtually every race since his importation, and perhaps not a fan of the deep conditions he encountered when last at Churchill for the River City (G3). A quicker surface for him here and reportedly gelded since his last-out Fair Grounds allowance win.

RELATED: How to bet the Wise Dan Stakes

Race 10

Ian Wilkes appears to have the horses to beat in this leg. #6 SAVVY (7-2) a strong runner-up in his second start when last seen at the fall meet and faces all younger foes here, many of them unraced. #12 TENDERFOOT (8-1) fourth for the barn in his Nov. 2 debut in what has turned out to be a key race. The top two came back to win their respective next starts.

Race 11

Not a particularly strong turf maiden, which makes it a good spot for #3 BIG DREAMING (8-5) to follow up on her solid debut second. Regally-bred colt is a son of juvenile champion Dreaming of Anna. #9 MIDNIGHT JOSTAR (8-1) is logical, though, off a pair of good runs on the turf both here and at Keeneland last fall.

Here's the 50-cent ticket:

  • 1,8,12 with 3,5,8 with 6,12 with 3,9 = $18