Churchill: How to bet the Falls City Stakes
A compact field of six fillies and mares will travel 1 1/8 miles over the Churchill Downs main strip in Thursday’s $500,000 Falls City S. (G3). The John Servis-trained #1 Leader of the Band (9-2) is in arguably the best form of her life currently and I will give her the slight nod on this occasion.
Falls City Wagers
Bred in the Keystone State, Leader of the Band has been first or second in four races in succession, including a game score in the Summer Colony S. at Saratoga two prior. The four-year-old daughter of Bandbox comes in with a pair of swift recent morning moves, led by a bullet five-eighths most recently, and her versatile running style will aid her chances while breaking from the rail.
Leader of the Band gets Luis Saez in the pipes and figures to sit a nice trip tucked in behind the front runners while saving ground throughout. She will be formidable with her best effort while making her local debut.
Phil Bauer’s #4 Played Hard (4-5) is the deserving favorite in the field. By top sire Into Mischief, she has been first or second in nine of her 11 lifetime tries over fast surfaces, and she also dons a 7-2-3-1 mark beneath the Twin Spires. The $280,000 yearling purchase has won three times in her last five appearances, highlighted by a dominant victory in the Locust Grove S. (G3) here two races back.
Third in the Spinster S. (G1) at Keeneland last time out, the bay has posted a trio of nice morning works in preparation of Thursday and seems poised for another positive showing in Louisville. Joel Rosario will guide the four-year-old and have her forcing the action from the opening bell.
I feel that the top duo will be clear of the other four entrants under the wire, but I will peg #6 She’s All Wolfe (6-1) to complete the trifecta for Donnie von Hemel. The dark bay bagged the Shawnee S. on the surface in June and rides in with two straight victories at Remington Park as of late. The capable late runner could peak in her third run off the layoff with Joe Rocco, Jr. in the stirrups.