How to Bet the 2019 Old Forester Turf Classic

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

May 2nd, 2019

Three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown has won dozens of major turf races across the country, but the $1 million Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs has so far proven elusive.

That figures to change Saturday, when Brown sends out morning-line favorite #12 Bricks and Mortar to contest the 1 1/8-mile race, which immediately precedes the Kentucky Derby and is prominently positioned in the popular multi-race wagers leading up to the Run for the Roses.

With seven wins and a pair of troubled third-place finishes from nine starts, Bricks and Mortar has been a picture of consistency. He’s also undefeated in three starts since returning from a long layoff in December, a streak that includes a powerful 2 1/2-length victory against a high-class international field in the Jan. 26 Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) at Gulfstream Park. I was impressed with the way Bricks and Mortar relentlessly mowed down the leaders in the Pegasus, and third-place finisher Delta Prince came back to win the Maker's 46 Mile (G1) in his next start.
Bricks and Mortar was all-out to win the March 23 Muniz Memorial Handicap (G2) at Fair Grounds by a nose, and some handicappers might view him as vulnerable off that effort. But Bricks and Mortar was conceded nine pounds to the runner-up, who waltzed along up front through very slow fractions of :24.82, :51.07 and 1:15.28 before accelerating the fourth quarter in :23.83 and the final eighth in :11.33. Those finishing fractions are about as fast as you’ll ever see at Fair Grounds, so for Bricks and Mortar to rally and win was quite an accomplishment.

By every metric Bricks and Mortar is the horse to beat in the Turf Classic, and even a rain-inundated turf course shouldn’t affect him—his career-best victory in the Pegasus World Cup Turf was achieved over a “yielding” course, so he might be even better over wet turf. If he stays at his 5-2 morning line odds, I think that’s great value on a wildly talented horse.

For betting purposes I’ll make Bricks and Mortar a single in the multi-race wagers, including a Turf Classic/Kentucky Derby double, where I’ll use #3 By My Standards, #7 Maximum Security and #16 Game Winner in the second leg. I’ll also place a hefty win bet on Bricks and Mortar if he starts at 2-1 or higher.

$30 to win on #12 Bricks and Mortar $8 double: 12 with 7,16 ($16) $4 double: 12 with 3 ($4)

Good luck!