Shapiro on Saturday's Churchill Downs $500,000 Pick 5

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May 29th, 2020

For the third consecutive Saturday, Churchill Downs has an awesome 11-race card on tap that includes a high-quality $500,000 guaranteed late Pick 5. The sequence commences with the $100,000 Winning Colors S. (G3) and concludes with the $100,000 Old Forester Mint Julep (G3).

Race 7: Winning Colors (G3)

This 6-furlong dash for fillies and mares looks like a 2-horse race on paper.

#8 Mia Mischief is the one to beat after a pair of easy victories to start her 5-year-old campaign for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. Once again, the Stonestreet Stables mare draws favorably to the outside, which should allow Ricardo Santana Jr. to work out a clear stalking voyage much like he did last time out in the Carousel S. at Oaklawn Park. The daughter of Into Mischief has won 5-of-8 under the Twin Spires and is tough to play against, but she will have to run down a fast filly in #2 Break Even.

A daughter of Country Day, Break Even put in a clunker to start her 4-year-old season, but looked like her old self disposing of a field of 10 last time out in Arkansas. Even a razor-sharp Mia Mischief could struggle to run Break Even down in the lane if she can shake loose early.

Race 8:

#9 Ashiham makes her first start in Louisville after a runner-up effort going 7-panels at Gulfstream Park in late April. The $800,000 Keeneland Sept. 2018 purchase for Shadwell Stable ran into a good-looking Chad Brown first-time starter in Basquiat in that defeat last month. The Tapit colt should appreciate the stretch out to two-turns, but has struggled to get out of the gate in good order through his first two starts. The addition of blinkers could help, but at a short price I do not fully trust.

#3 Mau Mau was off a step slow in his debut in Florida on Apr. 3. The son of Empire Maker trailed through much of the 1 1/16-mile event before picking it up a bit on the far turn and eventually finishing a well-beaten fourth. The Bill Mott trainee retains the services of Joel Rosario and with a better start should take a big step forward. He is capable of springing the upset, as is #8 Oceanic who stretches out to a route of ground after a runner-up performance going 6-furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs for Jordan Blair.

Race 9:

Oddsmaker Mike Battaglia listed #6 Bingwa as the 3-1-morning line favorite based on her being the quickest from the gate in this 5 1/2-furlong dash over the lawn, but she is likely to get pressed by #1 Queen of Shades. Both runners make sense to include, but I like the chances of #8 Cardamon.

The Pioneerof the Nile filly has yet to race over the sod, but Cardamon has the pedigree to like the green being out of a Touch Gold mare who has also produced Emollient and Courtier. The 4-year-old filly should get a perfect outside stalking trip under Martin Garcia and has a big shot to hit the wire first. I also give a look to #5 I’llhandalthecash in the second start of her 4-year-old campaign, and #12 Dixieincandyland, who looks to make it two straight sprinting on the grass for Eddie Kenneally.

Race 10:

#7 Fearless has run some fast races and brings the strongest resume into this high-level optional claimer at two-turns over the main track, but I prefer the late blooming #8 Top Seed. The son of Orb has yet to go a route of ground, but has the speed to make the lead under Corey Lanerie and comes off an extremely impressive victory versus lesser at Tampa Bay Downs on Apr. 22. The Phipps Stable colt is bred to love the added ground and looks like a Shug McGaughey runner that could have a big second half of 2020.

Race 11: Mint Julep (G3)

The finale is full of talented fillies and mares, but #1 Juliet Foxtrot stands out in her first try of 2020. The Juddmonte Farms home bred won her first three starts in the states last year and then ran extremely well in defeat in her final three races, including a brutal beat to Vasilika in the John C. Mabee (G2) at Del Mar in late Aug. With little pace signed on in this year’s Old Forester Mint Julep, Florent Geroux should find a prominent spot along the inside and make it a perfect 2-for-2 at historic Churchill Downs.  

Suggested Wagers:

Ticket 1: ($1 Pick 5)

  • 8 with 3,8,9 with 1,5,6,8,11 with 8 with 1 = $15

Ticket 2: ($1 Pick 5)

  • 2,8 with 3,8,9 with 8 with 7,8,10 with 1 = $18

Total Budget: $33

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