How to bet the Locust Grove Stakes 2021

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

September 16th, 2021

An excellent field of seven fillies and mares will go 1 1/16 miles on the Churchill Downs dirt in Saturday’s $400,000 Locust Grove S. (G3), the final of five stakes races which are to be held on the fantastic card.

Three-time Grade 1 heroine #7 Shedaresthedevil is the obvious one to beat for conditioner Brad Cox. A winner of the 2020 Kentucky Oaks (G1) on the surface, the four-year-old is arguably better this season and comes off a dominant performance when rolling home with authority in the Clement L. Hirsch S. (G1) at Del Mar. The daughter of Daredevil has trained in fine fashion since that victory, and drawing widest ensures she will have a clean voyage throughout the affair.

Shedaresthedevil has superb gate speed and will be forcing the pace from the opening bell. She will have regular pilot Florent Geroux in the silks, and anything but a top-two result by the Kentucky-bred would be something of a surprise to me.

The value of the race will come with the vertical exotics. I like the progression shown by stakes vixen #1 Crystal Ball for Rodolphe Brisset. The Malibu Moon filly had a three-race win streak snapped when finishing a stubborn third in the Shuvee H. (G3) at Saratoga last time out, but that performance will benefit her going forward.

Crystal Ball might be more of a high-quality grinder than a middle-distance savant, but with a fine rail draw and a versatile running style in a cast filled with speed, I envision the lass to be saving ground and making a big late run to challenge for the upset. Tyler Gaffalione has the riding assignment.

I have a lot of respect for the other five contenders in the field, especially 2020 Falls City S. (G2) romper #5 Envountante, but the shape of the race tells me that it will come down to the previously mentioned pair inside the final furlong. The Kenny McPeek pupil figures to be a part of the busy front-end action in the Locust Grove.

Locust Grove Wagers

  • $30 exacta 7 with 1 ($30)
  • $4 trifecta 1 with 7 with all ($20)