Opening day Spot Plays for Churchill Downs’ 2019 spring meet
The spring meeting at Churchill Downs will get underway on Saturday with 10 races on the slate. Topping the opening-evening card is the $125,000 William Walker Stakes, a five-furlong dash on the lawn for three-year-olds featuring the unbeaten Bulletin. I have tabbed some horses of interest on the card with the hope of building some momentum going into next weekend. RACE 2 Conqueror (#4) (3-1) is a head shy of being two-for-two since being claimed by Peter Miller. The chestnut son of Malibu Moon has a versatile running style and will be hard to defeat in his current form cycle. Brian Hernandez Jr. rides in the local debut for the six-year-old. RACE 5 Grit and Glory (#4) (6-1) went postward at 5-2 odds on debut here in May against maiden special weight foes and finished fifth in a strong field. The chestnut has since moved to the Stanley Hough barn and shows a trio of fine local drills in anticipation of his return. The son of Malibu Moon races as a gelding for the initial time with Luis Saez in the controls. RACE 6 Eddie Kenneally sends out Murad Khan (#1) (8-1) for his second start of 2019 in a field without an abundance of pace. The Raven’s Pass gelding exits a stakes-quality allowance race at Gulfstream Park and should be tighter for this endeavor. I think the bay will be prominent from the opening bell at a square number. RACE 8 Three-time stakes victor Bulletin (#1) (4-5) is the obvious one to catch and beat for trainer Todd Pletcher in the William Walker Stakes, but I have a lot of interest in import Legends of War (#3) (6-1) making his U.S. debut. The $1.3 million son of Scat Daddy faced Group 2 or better fields on five occasions as a juvenile and has a hint of class to him. The Doug O’Neill trainee gets blinkers and Lasix, and the sophomore might get a contested pace to rally into in the stretch, as well. RACE 9 The Dale Romans-trained Unbridled Outlaw (#7) (7-2) didn’t fire a lick at Gulfstream last time but will reverse his form in this spot. The dark bay has run some good ones on this course for a barn that is always primed for Churchill Downs. The six-year-old was 4-1 in a stakes race last out and might offer the same value in this lesser spot. Good luck and don’t forget to opt in to the Opening Night Bet Back, where you can get your Win bet back up to $10 if your horse runs second in every race at Churchill Downs on Opening Night, April 27!