Churchill Downs: Vulnerable favorites and a viable single in Saturday's Pick 4 sequences

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April 24th, 2021

Get ready, Churchill Downs bettors! Saturday’s opening-night card offers a trio of Pick 4 wagers, and TwinSpires is celebrating with a $6,000 “Hit It and Split It” promotion.

The rules are simple: opt in on the offers page, bet a winning ticket on any of the Pick 4 sequences, and split a bonus prize of $1,000 per sequence. Bet a winning ticket on all three Pick 4s, and you’ll split an additional $3,000 jackpot. Enticing, right? There’s no way we can turn down free money!

The three Pick 4s span Races 2-5, Races 4-7, and Races 7-10. Need help planning your tickets? Here are a handful of horses worth betting (or opposing) across the card.

Best single

Race 4 ($8,000 claiming): #5 Sacred Storm (1-1)

Since Race 4 features in two Pick 4 sequences, singling Sacred Storm could be a doubly valuable proposition.

The front-running daughter of City Zip wasn’t badly beaten when finishing fifth in a $12,500 starter allowance race at Oaklawn last month, earning a competitive 79 Brisnet Speed rating in her first start since being claimed by trainer Jason Barkley.

Sacred Storm figures to secure an easy lead while facing just five rivals, and Barkley wins at a 19% rate with horses running for the second time following a claim, so all signs suggest Sacred Storm can win for fun.

Vulnerable favorites

Race 3 ($32,000 claiming): #5 Relentless Dancer (9-5)

Relentless Dancer is the class of this small field after competing in eight consecutive stakes, winning two of them. But Relentless Dancer’s form has slipped since last fall, and from a Brisnet Speed rating perspective, he isn’t a standout even while dropping into the claiming ranks. A couple of his rivals have posted similar figures, including #1 Lonely Private (2-1) and #3 Big Bella Brown (3-1), so I don’t think Relentless Dancer is guaranteed to win at a short price.

Race 9 (William Walker S.): #8 Cowan (7-2)

In many ways, Cowan has become a “Jack of all trades, master of none.” He’s sprinted on dirt and turf, run long on dirt, and placed second in five stakes, including the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G2).

But victory has proven relatively elusive for the son of Kantharos; he’s lost eight starts since winning his debut over the Churchill Downs main track last May, including two recent runs during an extended stay in the Middle East. For these reasons, Cowan seems more likely to hit the board than visit the winner’s circle on Saturday.

Good luck!