How to bet the Cornhusker Handicap

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

June 30th, 2021

A field of seven will travel 1 1/8 miles on the Prairie Meadows dirt in Friday’s $300,000 Cornhusker H. (G3). Three-time Grade 1 victor #5 Knicks Go (1-1) has faltered in his last pair, but in his defense, the five-year-old son of Paynter has faced some mighty opposition in those tilts. Given the class relief in this spot, the gray should return to his winning ways.

Conditioned by Brad Cox, the reigning Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and Pegasus World Cup (G1) winner ran a good one most recently when finishing just 3 1/4 lengths back in the Met Mile H. (G1) at Belmont Park. The Maryland-bred received a fine post slot here, outside of the other pace in the field, and he will have no excuses turning for home on the move back to two turns. Knickks Go will tote 126 pounds and give his foes a six-to-13 pound advantage, but I still think he will be too much for this crew. Regular pilot Joel Rosario comes along to ride.

The pair of contenders drawn to his outside could pose the biggest threat to the favorite, led by 2020 Risen Star S. (G2) victor #7 Modernist (5-1). Trained by Bill Mott, the four-year-old son of Uncle Mo has been in fine form in 2021, recording top-two finishes in three straight appearances, led by a victory in the Excelsior S. (G3) two back. After a game runner-up in the recent Pimlico Special (G3), the consistent colt should sit a fine trip just off of the potentially contested early tempo.

#6 Rated R Superstar (8-1) has shown a fine closing kick on the course in two straight and has appeal to fill out the vertical exotics at a nice number. Third in last year's Cornhusker, son of Kodiak Kowboy can finish in a similar spot with even slight improvement from off the pace. The chestnut Kentucky-bred will have David Cabrera in the controls.

Cornhusker H. Wagers

  • $25 exacta: 5 with 7 ($25)
  • $10 trifecta key: 5 with 6,7 ($20)