Kentucky Derby Day undercard stakes plays: dirt races

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

May 6th, 2022

The $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) is the obvious headliner on a monstrous day of racing at Churchill Downs on Saturday. But seven additional stakes events will take place on the blockbuster card, with four of those to be run on the main strip.

Race 6: Knicks Go S.

A dozen will vie in this one-mile contest. #8 Injunction (15-1) is arguably my top value play on the entire card for trainer Carlo Vaccarezza. Skipshot gelding is the quickest contender in the field as potential lone speed, and his only local effort resulted in a daylight score while recording a fast final time in November. Chestnut will not be caught if he clears through sensible splits under Jose Ortiz.

Race 7: Pat Day Mile (G2)

One-turn mile marks the return of 2021 Champagne S. (G1) romper #5 Jack Christopher (2-1) for conditioner Chad Brown. Brilliant colt has been training well according to his connections, and it seems difficult to side with any other in the cast.

I know that Swale S. (G3) victor #11 My Prankster (4-1) has a huge race in him, but I am not certain this is the day. He will be included in many of my wagers, nonetheless.

Race 8: Derby City Distaff (G1)

Wesley Ward’s #4 Kimari (9-2) has long been one of my favorite horses in training and I simply can’t go against her. Munnings mare, who was purchased for $2.7 million in November, is genuine and brilliant with a 5-for-6 mark on the dirt. Joel Rosario will be in the stirrups.

Race 10: Churchill Downs S. (G1)

A fantastic field of eight has been assembled for this seven-furlong dash, and I will likely be using the "ALL" button on my multi-race tickets. For value, I do feel #7 Mind Control (5-1) is worth a play. The underrated multiple Grade 1 hero has ample early foot, and he has registered triple-digit Brisnet Late Pace ratings in four successive starts as well. The Stay Thirsty six-year-old will go off at a bigger number than his morning line price, in my opinion.