The Player’s Edge – November 15th, 2013: Churchill Downs Saturday Late Pick 4

Matt Carter

November 16th, 2013


Photo: Matt Carter


Churchill Downs – Commonwealth Turf


Churchill Downs - Mrs. Revere Stakes


Churchill Downs - Race Eight


Churchill Downs - Race Ten

Churchill Downs – Commonwealth Turf Thirteen Turf Three-Year-Olds

The first leg of the late pick-4 on Saturday under the lights at Churchill Downs is the 10th running of the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf, an eight and one-half furlong race for three-year-olds. A full field of 13 will line up in the gate and contention runs deep.

The morning line favorite for the race at a lukewarm 4-1 is the Giant’s Causeway colt, Winning Cause. The Todd Pletcher-trainee has won four of his 14 career starts including one win in four starts over the turf. He just finished second in the Grade 2 Fayette against older horses and is look for his first win since taking a restricted stakes at Saratoga in July.

After the favorite there are seven other horses between 5-1 and 10-1 on the morning line. The two horses that are 5-1 look very dangerous shipping south from Woodbine.

Golden Sabre drew the rail for the Commonwealth and is looking for the third win of his career. He has actually crossed the line three times, but was disqualified from winning a turf stakes at Woodbine in July. Patrick Husbands, winning rider in his last start, once again has the mount.

If River Seven runs back to his last race, the Commonwealth will be a race for second. The gelding absolutely freaked in the Labeeb over yielding turf at Woodbine in his last start, going gate-to-wire and drawing off to win by ten lengths. He does not have to be on the lead, but do note that two starts back, Golden Sabre beat him by a neck.

At 6-1 on the morning line is Frac Daddy, who has won two of his last three starts highlighted by a win over the turf at Saratoga in August. The Scat Daddy colt seems to have found himself a home on the grass, but the only negative is post. From gate 12, jockey Alan Garcia must save ground at some point or risk being wide the entire trip.

Moro Tap, Kaigun and Dorsett are all 8-1 on the line and all three have races that would be good enough to compete with the favorites.

Moro Tap ran a terrible race in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby last month, but prior to that won an allowance race over the turf at Kentucky Downs and has also won a race over the Churchill turf.

Kaigun is another Woodbine shipper and is coming off a win in an allowance race back in August. Trainer Mark Casse has only won once with 14 starters at the current meet so he is due to pick it up.

Dorsett comes out of a pair of graded stakes races at Hawthorne and Del Mar and has actually run four times in graded stakes during his 11-race career. The son of Artie Schiller may, however, be just a cut below these.

Central Banker rounds out the 10-1 or less group and perhaps he is 10-1 because of post 13. Other than that, no real reason why the Al Stall-trained colt does not have a shot to win. He has won two of three starts on the turf, but will be making his two-turn turf debut on Saturday.

This is a spread race in the pick-4 and post time is 7:32 PM ET.


Churchill Downs - Mrs. Revere Stakes Three-Year-Old Turf Fillies

Two races after the three-year-old colts and geldings take center stage in the Commonwealth, the three-year-old fillies get their chance to shine in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere. We again have a full field, this time with 14 going to the gate. Morning line favorite for the race is the Grade 1 placed Emotional Kitten.

Emotional Kitten has been knocking heads with some of the best three-year-old turf fillies of late with three straight runs in Grade 1 stakes. The Ken and Sarah Ramsey color bearer was second in the American Oaks at Hollywood Park then followed that up with a third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks before leaving herself too much to do in the Grade 1 QEII Cup at Keeneland one month ago. The only knock on the filly is that the eight and one half furlongs may be too short, but Victor Espinoza, jockey in the American and Del Mar Oaks, is back on board.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey also entered Quality Kitten in the field and the two are not coupled. Quality Kitten, also by Kitten's Joy, is trained by Wayne Catalano, who also has the third choice on the morning line, I'm Already Sexy. The two Catalano trained fillies have the same front-running style and could set things up for Emotional Kitten. I'm Already Sexy is a Grade 3 winner while Quality Kitten is making her stakes debut.

In addition to those two, the front end may also have Keening and Tapicat carving out some fast fractions. Keening is a long shot and is likely to fade, but Tapicat is a Grade 3 winner and is also Grade 2 placed. Tapicat cost $725,000 as a yearling and has won three of her seven starts. She may offer some value higher than her 7-2 morning line odds. Jockey Mike Smith must work out a trip from post 13.

Nellie Cashman checks in on the morning line at 9-2 and the Grade 3 winner always outruns her odds. She won the Virginia Oaks at 19-1 then crossed the wire first in the Grade 2 Lake Placid at 20-1 only to see her number come down via disqualification. She is a must use in the pick-4.

A couple of long shots to consider are Effie Trinket, Remember Then and Praia.

Effie Trinket has won two straight and four of her last five races. Three of her wins have been against New York breds, but she also won an open company stakes at Belmont Park in July. She is the opposite of Tapicat, costing only $4,000 as a yearling. She has made over 100 times that purchase price.

Remember Then won her first three career starts, but has finished fourth and third in her last two. Two starts back she finished behind I'm Already Sexy in the Grade 3 Pucker Up at Arlington Park, but had a troubled trip. Julien Leparoux is up for trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

Praia won her last start on the turf at Keeneland and has been first or second in five of her seven career starts on turf. She has two Grade 3 placings, one of them behind Nellie Cashman.

Post time for the Mrs. Revere is 8:36 pm ET.


Churchill Downs - Race Eight Two-Year-Old Maiden Special Weight

The second leg of the late Saturday pick-4 is a six and one-half furlong sprint for two-year-old maiden special weight runners. The race drew a field of 12 with I'mbetterthangood the 3-1 morning line favorite.

I'mbetterthangood may just be 3-1 off since big figure debut even though the son of Exchange RAte finished sixth. He was pinched back early and raced wide before making a late run. Now trainer Ken McPeek adds Lasix and the swift four furlong drill last week signals that I'mbetterthangood is sitting on go.

Next on the morning line are five horses at either 5-1 or 6-1 and it may be best to use the double probables from race seven to determine which of them are contenders.

H Town Brown, Divine View and Gambler's Ghost are the three to concentrate on in that pool as they are making their first career start. Divine View looks to have been working a hole in the wind in the mornings and his trainer, Larry Jones, hits at 20% with his debut runners.

H Town Brown and Gambler's Ghost are both trained by Eddie Kenneally, who wins with 17% of his first-time-starters. The two are hard to separate and appear to have been working together in the mornings. Kenneally has Leparoux, 17% together, on H Town Brown and Corey Lanerie, also 17% together, on Gambler's Ghost.

The two at 6-1 on the morning line are Borseggiator, making his fifth career start, and Money Fan, making his second career start.

Borseggiator takes the blinkers off for trainer Nick Zito and is cutting back in distance after two straight one-mile races. Of the five, he looks to be the one that will not take money.

Money Fan, like the favorite, is trained by Ken McPeek and runs with first-time Lasix. Money Fan cost more as a two-year-old in training than I'mbetterthangood, $170,000 versus $135,000, and he looks to have more early speed than his stable mate. If the double money is there for both the McPeek horses, it would be wise to use them both.

Post time for the second leg of the pick-4 is 8:04 pm ET.


Churchill Downs - Race 10 $7,500 Claiming Fillies and Mares

The finale on the evening is a low level sprint race for fillies and mares and anything can happen with most bettors focusing on the morning line favorite, Ouiser.

Brad Cox claimed the four-year-old filly back in June then ran her once in August before giving the filly a short two and one-half month break. She then came back to be second at this level, beat just one length and now Cox goes to the blinkers to get her back to the winner's circle. Note that in her last race, she was five and one-half lengths clear of Jumping Justice, who is also in the finale Saturday.

Win or lose, Ouiser will be over bet and is likely to be a single on most small tickets. If she runs her race, the others will be fighting it out for second.

The biggest danger to the favorite may be Picture Me Mad, who drew outside of Ouiser and is coming off a win over the track two weeks ago. The cut back in distance does not help the late-running filly, but she is a perfect two-for-two at Churchill and that is a handicapping angle that cannot be counted out.

If the track is playing towards speed, give a long look to Blissful Gold, the Mountaineer Park shipper for trainer Genaro Garcia. Blissful Gold won her last start by four lengths and it's time to strike while the iron is hot. There does not appear to be much speed in the race and from post four, the jockey will most likely send. Come and catch her.

With a single in the last leg the ticket looks to be 1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13 with 3, 8 with 1, 8, 9, 13 with 10 for a total cost of $32 for each 50-cent wager. Look to add in other spots or just play that ticket multiple times.

First post on Saturday beneath the twin spires is 4:30 pm ET. Races one, four and seven start pick-4 wagers with the pick-5 starting in race six.


Thoroughbred Racing Action

Great racing action from across the country this weekend. Watch these races all on

Saturday – November 16
  • Churchill Downs:  Commonwealth Turf Stakes - G3, $100,000, 3yo, 8.5f turf
  • Churchill Downs:  Mrs. Revere Stakes - G3, $175,000, 3yo f, 8.5f turf
  • Hollywood Park:  Sharp Cat Stakes, $100,000, 2yo f, 8.5f
  • Golden Gate:  Oakland Stakes, $50,000,3 yo & up, 6f
  • Laurel Park:  Smart Halo Stakes, $100,000, 2yo f, 6f
  • Laurel Park:  James Lewis Stakes, $100,000, 2yo, 6f
  • Laurel Park:  Jennings Handicap, $100,000, 3yo & up, 8f
  • Laurel Park:  Dave's Friend STakes, $100,000, 3yo & up, 6f
  • Hawthorne:  Powerless Stakes, $100,000, 3yo & up f&m, 6f
  • Hawthorne:  Lightning Jet Handicap, $100,000, 3yo & up, 6f
  • Woodbine:  Jammed Lovely Stakes, $150,000, 3yo f, 7f
  • Calder:  Cut The Charm Handicap, $50,000, 2yo f, 5.5f
  • Calder:  Excellent Luck Handicap, $50,000, 2yo, 5.5f
Sunday – November 17
  • Woodbine:   Coronation Futurity, $250,000, 2yo, 9f
  • Hollywood Park:  Cat's Cradle Handicap, $100,000, 3yo & up f&m, 7.5f