Hanson's Horses to Watch on opening day at Churchill Downs
An abbreviated Churchill Downs spring meet, the start of which has been delayed three weeks due to COVID-19, kicks off Saturday with a highly-competitive 11-race card comprised exclusively of overnight events.
Here are some horses of interest in some of the maidens and allowances throughout the afternoon.
#10 FORTUITY (6-1) enters off a respectable debut loss at Fair Grounds, where he rallied from 10th to miss by only a length as the runner-up. Out of a half-sister to European champion juvenile Air Force Blue, he's enjoyed uninterrupted training at Fair Hill since that late March run for a strong second-out barn (Stidham). Forward progress expected.
Although #5 Say Moi figures to take most of the action, #10 OFFERING (8-1) is another second-time starter who arguably has room for even bigger improvement. The 4-year-old broke slow in her debut last month at Oaklawn and then showed some mild late interest to finish a distant fourth for the potent combo of Asmussen/Santana. If she can get herself in the race sooner, she might contend at a price.
For whatever reason, #1 MO CITY (9-2) simply didn't fire her best shot in the Busher Invitational at Aqueduct last time. It doesn't take away from her effort two back in the Gasparilla S. at Tampa Bay Downs, in which she narrowly missed by a neck while out-finishing by a short margin Swiss Skydiver, one of the top 3-year-old fillies in the country. This looks like a spot she can rebound in.
It's hard to say how she would have fared the rest of the season after posting a stunning 32-1 upset in her debut over this course and distance last June, but #8 FASHIONABLE LADY's (10-1) score was flattered when third-place finisher #10 Fly So Pretty went on to become a stakes winner at Saratoga over #4 Karak. The possibility exists she could be ready to fire again at a decent price for a low-key barn with Geroux retaining the mount.
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The full Churchill Downs horse racing analyst crew is back and looking at the return of spring racing in Kentucky! Host Joe Kristufek asks Handicappers Ed DeRosa, Scott Shapiro and James Scully what they are looking for this weekend in racing from Louisville.