A collaborative effort by Noel Michaels, John Mucciolo and Keeler Johnson
Find this information and more inside the on-track Brisnet Betting Guide
Stars of Tomorrow I at Churchill Downs on Sunday, October 27 features a day full of juvenile racing where two-year-olds take center stage. With most of the young runners competing for the first time or with very few starts under their belt, our experts weigh in with concise descriptions on each contender in each race!
The cornerstone of Sunday’s races are the Street Sense Stakes, won by Kentucky Derby contender Improbable in 2018; and the Rags to Riches Stakes, the first stakes victory for 2018 Kentucky Oaks winner and champion three-year-old filly Monomoy Girl.
Please click on a race in the list below to jump to the field of runners accompanied by their brief synopsis from our experts.
- Race 1
- Race 2
- Race 3
- Race 4
- Race 5
- Race 6
- Race 7
- Race 8
- Race 9 – Rags to Riches S.
- Race 10 – Street Sense S.
- Race 11
Races 1 through 4 coming soon
Churchill Downs – Race 1 – Maiden Special Weight 2YO Fillies (1 mile on the turf)
#1 KITTEN EXPRESS (20-1): First-time starter from trainer Ignacio Correas debuts from the rail with Lasix and Robby Albarado aboard. By Kitten’s Joy and the breeding suggests the grass and the one-mile distance should pose no problem. Correas wins with 16% of his first starters, including 16% with his first starters on the turf. This horse sold for only $7,000 as a yearling, and the worktab at Keeneland has been steady, but unspectacular leading up to this career debut.
#2 ARTISTIC JEWLER (10-1): Has been knocking on the door in two career races so far, both in Chicagoland with the career debut third-place finish on Polytrack and the follow-up second-place finish at Hawthorne on the dirt. Now switches to the turf for the first time and stretches out past seven furlongs for the first time in what looks like a tough assignment. Trainer Jon Cowan is 0-for-12 with first-time turfers, and even though this horse has shown ability, her Prime Power number of 103.5 lags behind most of the horses in this field who’ve already raced.
#3 MEMORY MOMENT (6-1): First starter for trainer Al Stall shows a series of five CD workouts leading up to this career debut, and Stall shows good numbers with first starters overall with a 23% win percentage and 53% ITM, but the win percentage drops a bit on turf to 16% with horses debuting on the grass. Dam won a race on the grass. Temple City can sire turf winners, but probably is better bred for synthetic tracks.
#4 EMILY’S OASIS (2-1): Morning line favorite has been right there in two turf starts to date, including a third-place finish at 6 1/2 furlongs last time at Kentucky Downs and, perhaps even more relevant, a second-place finish two races ago at this one-mile distance at Ellis Park. The turf speed figures for those races of 73 and 74 respectively are solid enough, but not spectacular, and earn this runner the third highest Prime Power figure in this field of 120.3. Had the lead in the stretch in that one-mile outing, but got passed late, and that effort, followed by a cutback to 6 1/2 furlongs last time, suggests trainer Ian Wilkes might have his doubts about her getting the one-mile distance. Based on what we’ve seen so far, something like an in-the-money finish versus these seems well within this horse’s reach today.
#5 VIOLENZA (12-1): First starter from the Ian Wilkes barn gets Julien Leparoux aboard for the career unveiling, and the jockey/trainer combo has been hot lately with 2 wins, a second, and a third with their last 6 runners. Wilkes, however, does not ordinarily fully crank-up his first-time starters, winning at just a 6% clip both on the turf and overall. Worktab at Churchill solid. Sire Violence gets 12% winners on the turf, and unraced dam has yet to produce a turf winner from her first two starters.
#6 PARTY LIGHTS (15-1): Broke from the rail in career debut last time out and never got involved en route to a ninth-place finish at 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt at Keeneland. Now switching things up a bit, stretching out to one-mile and trying the turf and adding blinkers on for trainer Mike Maker, but while Maker does well with blinkers on, the stretchout might not be the key to success based on the sire’s (6.6 AWD) and dam’s (6.0 AWD) stats. Sold for a very respectable $80k as a weanling. Too early to give up on her based on just one career outing.
#7 DIXIELAND TRAFFIC (20-1): Has had two cracks at it so far and failed to impress both times, finishing sixth in a turf sprint and then eighth on the dirt at 6 1/2 furlongs second time out. Stretches out to a mile for the first time, which could wake this horse up, but the turf breeding looks shaky at best with sire Cross Traffic winning with just 7% of his grass starters. Trainer Michelle Lovell wins 8% first-time route.
#8 PSYCHO KITTEN (10-1): First starter has a solid worktab and gets Gaffalione aboard for the debut. This filly was a $60k yearling purchase by Kitten’s Joy, and the dam. Gata Bella, has already produced two turf winners, so this horse is bred for turf and distance through and through. Trainer Brendan Walsh wins with 14% of his turf starters overall, but he’s generally not a win-early trainer with just 7% winning first starters and just a 4% win rate with career debuts on the grass.
#9 SHELL SHOCK (5-2): Solid start to this filly’s career with back-to-back second-place finishes at Gulfstream, including seven furlongs on the dirt and then a near-miss second by a neck last time out at one mile on the turf. Earned this field’s highest BRIS speed rating with a 79 last time, and that race was good enough to also earn her this field’s top Prime Power rating of 124.7. Added two fast workouts at Palm Meadows since that last race to indicate continued fitness. Must prove herself against the local competition, but based on what we saw out of her last time out she’ll be the today’s horse to beat.
#10 BROADWAY LADY (8-1): First starter from trainer Mark Casse gets Santana aboard for the mount and Casse wins with 17% of his first starters including 15% on the grass. Second foal to race from stakes-winning mare, whose only runner to date was a winner (0 turf wins). Sold for $125k as a yearling, and has a solid worktab at Churchill indicating this horse could come out running. Post 10 for a two-year-old first starter on the grass, however, is no bargain.
AE #11 VELVET CRUSH (5-2) Will be a big factor if able to draw in from the also eligibles, even from a far outside post. Closed for second last time in an 11-horse field in the turf debut in her second career outing overall, and that effort earned her a 78 speed rating, which is close to tops in this field. Prime Power number of 121.6 ranks second vs. these. Bred for distance as a $450k yearling purchase by Tapit out of a stakes-winning mare. Extremely dangerous if she draws in.
AE #12 DIAMOND AND SILKS (15-1): Didn’t show much last time in 6 1/2 furlong career debut dirt race with a ninth-place finish, but a stretchout and a switch to the turf are both factors that should move this horse up. Dam has produced five winners including two turf winners. Adds first-time Lasix, which is a 31% move for trainer Merrell Scherer. It would be a mistake to overlook this horse if she draws in.
AE #13 SCAPE (10-1) Finished ninth beaten 10 lengths in career debut last time out in a one-mile grass race at Belmont. Adds first-time Lasix and blinkers on, so anything can happen, but we’ve already seen a taste of what this horse can do on the grass and at this distance, and it was encouraging.
AE #14 TULANIAN (7-2) Makes third career start for trainer Tom Amoss after improving last time out with a switch to the grass with a close-up third-place finish in a 5 1/2 furlong turf sprint at Saratoga. Stretches out for the first time, but has already shown grass ability and you can’t put anything past trainer Tom Amoss, who wins 19% first-time route with 40% ITM. Blinkers off.
Churchill Downs – Race 2: Allowance Optional Claiming 2YO Fillies (1 1/16 miles)
#1 HIS GLORY (9-5): Looks very tough at this allowance optional claiming level after exiting a second-place finish in the Pocahontas (G2) here at Churchill Downs at this distance last time out, losing by about a length while to Lazy Daisy while three lengths clear of the third-place horse. Broke maiden at first asking for trainer Tom Amoss at Indiana Grand at five furlongs, but the Pocahontas answered any distance concerns anyone might have had about her and the 89 speed rating is by far this field’s highest route number. Prime Power rating of 127.8 is second in this field, but with the drop out of that solid stakes effort last time out, this horse looms the one to beat.
#2 COMPETITIVE FIRE (12-1): Broke her maiden at second asking last time out at Indiana Grand in first stretchout attempt to a two-turn route race, and not only that but did so with style to beat the field by nearly five lengths. Winning rider from last time, Orlando Mojica, makes the trip to ride today, but this trip to the major leagues certainly up versus winners for the first time certainly won’t be an easy assignment based on the Prime Power rating of only 111.7, which is bottom in this six-horse field. Looked good in two races so far, but you can bet she’s yet to see a rival the likes of His Glory and some of these others before.
#3 MAGGIE’S MONARCH (5-1): Rana solid dirt mile career debut second-place finish at Indiana, but it took a switch to the grass to get her into the winner’s circle, which came last time out in the second career start. Went wire-to-wire for the maiden win, but didn’t go fast and earned only a 67 speed rating, which will need to improve dramatically for her to contend in this race. Lands in a tough spot for the first outing up versus winners, and will need to improve up on the 114.2 Prime Power rating to be a factor in this race.
#4 MOTU (8-5): No dice in one-mile career debut outing here at Churchill but then turned on the jets in second career start with a blow-out win on the cutback to six furlongs, crushing Keeneland maidens by 3 lengths with a huge 95 speed rating. This creates the real handicapping puzzle for this race. Which version of this horse will we see today with the stretchout to a route around two turns? Will it be the horse that looked like dynamite sprinting last time out, or will it be the horse that finished a non-threatening seventh on this track at one mile in the career debut? The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, and while that might be good enough to beat most of the horses in this field, will it be enough to knock off His Glory? Perhaps it could be worth a shot if there’s value in the odds, but that’s unlickly as that big last-out speed rating is enough to make this horse the 8-5 morning line favorite.
#5 EVIL LYNN (5-1): The lone victory and by far best career race out of three outings so far for this horse came right here at Churchill Downs with a sharp-looking maiden win by four lengths in a race where she overcame a slow start and earned a solid 80 speed rating. First outing at this level against winners at Keeneland last time was somewhat of a disappointment, however, with the fifth-place finish earning a chart comment of “empty.” Needs a rebound, but certainly that is possible for this horse back at Churchill Downs for the first time since the maiden win for high percentage trainer Brad Cox, who wins with 26% of his first-time route stretchout horses. Certainly a possibility for your exacta boxes..
#6 BANKER’S CANDY (6-1): Was bet like a good thing and delivered to the tune of an eight-length win in the career debut back at Prairie Meadows in late July with a solid 79 speed rating at 5 1/2 furlongs. Matched that speed rating in the second career start last time out going six furlongs here at Churchill, but the result unfortunately not the same as that effort was only good enough for a non-threatening fourth-place finish at this class level. Perhaps the added two-turn distance will be enough to get this horse going again in the right direction, but that is no sure thing for this horse that needs to improve to beat this field’s top challengers for trainer Kelly Von Hemel, who wins with just 11% of the barn’s first-time routers.
Churchill Downs – Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (7 Furlongs)
#1 MAJESTIC RO (5-1): First starter from trainer Brian Lynch, who wins with just 9% of his first-time starters, draws the tricky rail post for the career debut. On the plus side, this horse gets Julien Leparoux aboard, and the jockey/trainer combo has been hot the last couple weeks with 2 wins and a third from the duo’s last 5 starters. Workout seem to be on the tepid side, so you can’t blame those who take the wait-and-see approach.
#2 IN SKY WE TRUST (8-1): Took no money on the tote board in career debut last time and then actually ran a pretty solid effort for fourth in an 11-horse field at this level here at Churchill at 6 1/2 furlongs, tiring late after racing in contention for much of the race. These types often run further and faster in their second career outings, so beware of this runner with blinkers on for trainer Michelle Lovell, who has won with 2 of her last 10 starters adding blinkers. The first start was good for a 118.7 Prime Power rating, which is second-best in this field amongst the horses who’ve raced. One of the dead-heat winners of this horse’s last race, Relentless Dancer, came back and won again in its next start to flatter this guy’s fourth-place finish a bit.
#3 SPEIGHTSTOWN AGAIN (5-1): First starter sold for $675k as a yearling and sports a good string of workouts including a five-furlong bullet at Keeneland leading up to this career debut. All indications are that this horse will be a runner, but the question is whether or not he will flash his full ability today for trainer Ken McPeek, who is not known for winning with first starters and gets only 5% wins in that category. Speightstown is a good win-early sire at 16% with his first starters, and this horse is out of a stakes-placed dam, but it’s probably more prudent to wait until next time before betting this horse for anything better than a minor spot in your exotics.
#4 CIGAR BOX (8-1): Never threatened at any point in the race last time out in the career debut going six furlongs here at Churchill in a race won by the stakes-bound repeat next-out winner South Bend. He will need to improve substantially to win this, but there are positive signs pointing in that direction, starting with the fact that this could be a substantially softer spot than last time out and trainer Dale Romans does well with his second-time starters to the tune of a 19% win percentage. Drew post 12 in the career debut and was floated out wide early in the race which didn’t help this horse’s chances. Certainly has a right to improve, but most of these first starters will need to flop for this horse to be realistic for anything better than a minor placing in the exotics.
#5 GHOST FIGHTER (5-2): Ran big last time in career debut at Gulfstream Park and looms the horse to beat in this spot based on something close to a repeat of that last race. Closed from back in the pack in a 13-horse field to get up for second at 5 1/2 furlongs, and whenever you see a first starter pull-off that kind of maneuver, you better look out for that horse in its subsequent start. Easily tops the horses in this field who’ve already races in terms of Prime Power rating with a 123.5, and the speed rating of 86 places him well ahead of the others with at least one start. There’s no telling how strong or weak that bunch down at Gulfstream might have been last time out, but this horse by Tapit was a $500k yearling purchase who has every right to be a good one based on what we saw in the first start for trainer Mark Casse. The horse to beat, and a bargain if able to hold close to the morning line odds of 5-2.
#6 RECKLESSNESS (10-1): Makes first start on a dirt track now in what will be his fourth career outing. Lost a one-mile turf attempt and owns a pair of non-threatening third-place finishes on Arlington’s Polytrack going this seven furlong distance. If there’s hope for this horse today, however, it comes with the surface switch to dirt for the first time, since this guy has been drilling holes in the wind with four blazing morning workouts at Arlington and Hawthone (dirt) since his last race on Sept. 2. Expecting a new-and-improved version of this horse to show up today for trainer Ingrid Mason.
#7 HALO AGAIN (4-1): First starter from trainer Steve Asmussen with his main man Ricardo Santana aboard, and anything debuting for these connections merits long consideration in these kinds of maiden spots (Asmussen 16% wins with first starters). This horse was a $600k yearling purchase by Speightstown out of a dam who has produced four winners – all of whom were victorious at age 2. Workouts solid enough. Bred to win early to ignore him at your own risk.
#8 DECISION MAKER (15-1): Worktab for this career debut has been extremely good including a bullet five-furlong workout here at Churchill on Oct. 20 in preparation for this first start. Calvin Borel gets the mount, but despite all of those fast drills, this horse will have to buck the trends for this trainer, Buff Bradley, who rarely ever wins with first-time starters and sports a 3% winning percentage from a 135-horse sample. Wait until next time.
#9 BROTHER MARTIN (8-1): Makes career debut for trainer Dallas Stewart, and while Stewart’s numbers with first starters are not as sparse as Bradley’s, they’re not great, either, with Stewart winning just 7% of the time with first-time starters. Sire Street Boss wins with a solid 15% of his first starters, and this is the first starter from a winning dam. Worktab lukewarm. Positive tote action would raise the opinion of this one in what looks like a difficult assignment.
Churchill Downs – Race 4: Maiden Special Weight 2YO Fillies (1 1/16 Miles)
#1 TEMPERS RISING (8-5): Had a difficult assignment chasing a lone speed horse that had shaken loose up front on a big easy lead last time out, but chased all the way and finished a clear second, three lengths ahead of the third-place horse in a race at this distance at Keeneland. Has been knocking on the door with in-the-money finishes in all three outings so far, and the speed ratings have been steadily rising each time out. Owns the top Prime Power rating in the field at 125.4, and should face an easier pace scenario today as opposed to the tough assignment last time out. Leparoux picks up the mount for Dallas Stewart.
#2 SHE CAN’T SING (12-1): Both outings to date have been on the grass, including a near-miss nose loss in the debut back in August at Arlington, and then a fourth-place finish from out in the parking lot from post 12 at Keeenland last time, but with a much better 81 speed rating for trainer Chris Block. This trainer does well with the turf-to-dirt move with 23% wins, and the barn has been blazing hot lately with 3 wins from its last 4 starters. Lags behind many of these with the sixth best Prime Power rating in the race, but it would be a major oversight to ignore this horse that has shown ability for a good barn and who might improve with the switch to the dirt for the first time.
#3 SEATTLE SLANG (9-2): Was fairly well bet in career debut last time out for Asmussen at just under 4-1 odds in a 10-horse race, but could not deliver with only a mild late-running move to get up for second at one mile on the turf. Asmussen does well with second-time starters winning 22% and with the turf-to-dirt move winning 21%, but those are not standout percentages for this barn that wins big with all kinds of different scenarios. Improvement for this horse by Tapit that cost $600k in March as a two-year-old certainly could be forthcoming, but she will need to show more than in her career debut to come out on top today.
#4 RIVERCANE (20-1): Three outings so far have all resulted in big defeats in a variety of different spots, including once on the grass followed by back-to-back losses on the dirt at seven furlongs and then at this 1 1/16-mile trip at Keeneland last time. Improvement in terms of the speed rating last time is noted, with a respectable 78 figure awarded for the fifth-place finish in a race where she was bothered at the start. Nevertheless, that only improved her Prime Power rating to a lukewarm-at-best 113.6, which is good enough for eighth-best in this field. Will need to do better.
#5 CLEOPATRA’S CHARM (5-1): No dice at Saratoga in the career debut and then added blinkers and Lasix last time in the Churchill Downs debut and did show improvement enough to finish third, beaten three lengths at seven furlongs. Sports the second best Prime Power rating in this field at 120.6, but earned only a 78 speed rating for that third-place finish, and will need to improve if she hopes to knock-off morning line favorite Tempers Rising. Certainly a contender, but perhaps others have more value and more upside. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is winning only 7% these days with his stretchout horses going from sprints to routes.
#6 SENSE A MILLION (12-1): Showed only late interest last time in six-furlong career debut, so perhaps this stretchout to a route today will help the cause. Ian Wilkes wins 12% with his second-time starters and 13% going sprint-to-route, so the possibility is there. However, this horse will need to improve upon his 74 speed rating and 115.7 Prime Power rating, which is only seventh best amongst this field.
#7 DULCIMER DAME (30-1) Never got going in 31-1 career debut outing here last time out at 6 ½ furlongs, finishing a well-beaten sixth with a 61 speed figure, which is slow compared to the main contenders in this field. Trainer Lon Wiggins wins 9% going sprint-to-route, 8% first-time route, and 6% with second-time starters, and those numbers may not strong enough to encourage many bettors from taking the plunge on this horse today.
#8 PALACE MISS (4-1): Took a nice step forward last time out in the second career start, as many horses do that hail from the Ken McPeek stable. Made no impact in 1 1/16-mile turf career debut at Chruchill in September, but looked a lot better last time in the dirt debut at this distance, passing several horses and getting up for third in the same race where today’s morning line favorite Tempers Rising finished second. Needs to make-up 3+ lengths on Tempers Rising to turn the tables today, but that’s not out of the realm of possibility today with a clean start after this horse’s chances were compromised last time out when bothered at the break. The 82 speed rating last time out is solid enough, and this horse shows a nice-looking four-furlong workout since that last race to indicate continued fitness.
#9 FIRST COURSE (6-1): Finished fourth and was beaten by two of these same horses last time out when stretched out to a route on the dirt for the first time. The race before last on the grass at Kentucky Downs was actually better, where she closed from tenth-to-fourth behind the three front runners at Kentucky Downs as the only closer in the race to make any kind of a dent on a very firm-turf speed-favoring day. Wait for this horse to get back on the turf and then go for it.
Churchill Downs – Race 5
#1 ALEX JOON: First timer from the Steve Asmussen barn is the first foal out of an unraced dam and draws inside on debut. $250,000 son of Flatter has trained well in the Bluegrass State leading up to today and his conditioner is decent first time out on the green. Dark bay colt could flash speed if he runs to his recent morning drill at Keeneland with Ricardo Santana in the silks.
#2 CONTINENTAL CLASH: Expensive son of Tiznow has shown good early speed in his last pair of races on the main surface and will try his luck on the lawn for the initial time. $550,000 juvenile purchase has faced some talented two-year-olds in advance of today, including Breeders’ Futurity (G1) star Maxfield, and his early presence must be respected from an inner post slot. March foal does not hail from a grassy background, but he could get brave with a clear early advantage.
#3 KOKO STAR: The son of prominent turf sire Kitten’s Joy is a full-brother to turf stakes heroine Kitten’s Queen, as well as two additional graduates on the sod. Bay colt from the barn of Mike Maker has not missed a morning work since the middle of August and runs for a trainer who is capable when debuting one on the lawn. Luis Saez will guide the $130,000 purchase.
#4 OFF THE MEDS: Second timer didn’t offer much in a turf debut at Keeneland for trainer Ian Wilkes. $300,000 son of Medaglia d’Oro is from a solid turf family, however, and his trainer has a solid win rate second time out on the turf. The Kentucky-bred receives a much better draw today and improvement is fully expected at a nice price.
#5 FLUG: St George Farm homebred has shown consistent morning drills in anticipation of this first offering for Victoria Oliver, who is a solid debut turf trainer. January foal by rising turf sire The Factor has some class in his female line but little came on the weeds. Dark bay colt will likely come from off the pace today as this barn doesn’t usually put speed into its juvenile runners.
#6 BENELUX: Chestnut son of Will Take Charge was never involved following a poor break in a dirt bow at Keeneland. Paul McGee trainee does have a turf-winning sibling and will also add Lasix for his second lifetime showing. But the April foal was 99-1 on debut and will need a huge step forward to contend in this big field.
#7 LONGCLAW: European import left a good impression in his stateside debut when third in the lucrative Juvenile S. at Kentucky Downs behind Peace Achieved, who returned to take the Bourbon S. (G3) at Keeneland. Kitten’s Joy colt is out of a half-sister to talented turf star Deputiformer, and improvement could make this bay the one to beat in the overflow field. Makes first start for trainer Brad Cox, 26% with horses transferring into his barn.
#8 PROVEN STRATEGIES: Son of Sky Mesa was a very good fourth, beaten just two lengths, in the Summer S. (G1) at Woodbine most recently. The talented Florida-bred was runner-up when sprinting on the Saratoga turf in the Skidmore S. two prior, and the maiden is proven on both firm and yielding turf courses. Tactical colt will give Julien Leparoux the ability to carve out any kind of trip.
#9 DA GOLD ROOM: Kentucky-bred will hope to graduate in the sixth race of his two-year-old season for Chris Hartman. Kitten’s Joy colt did come close two back in his lone prior race at Churchill when third, but he regressed at Keeneland last time out. The dark bay will need a lifetime best to challenge for the win in a field with a few sharp prospects.
#10 GOLD ENDEAVOR: Improving sort from the Helen Pitts shedrow has rallied from well back to be fourth in a pair of recent turf engagements. Son of underrated sire Declaration of War is a half-sister to a turf winner, and his improvement has been noticeable following a poor run on the dirt at first asking. The chestnut is trending in the right direction and will be a late factor with James Graham in the silks.
#11 UNDERSTAND: Dark bay son of average turf sire Tiznow was purchased for just $2,000 this spring. The colt does not show consistent published works, and his connections win at a low rate overall. Kentucky-bred is first on the also-eligible list and will be a hefty price if he makes it into the field.
#12 MONTANA MAN: Dale Romans trainee comes in fresh for a second lifetime turf try as a contender with expected improvement if he draws into the race. Son of fine young sire Constitution has a pair of siblings of stakes quality on the green, and female line screams turf and stamina. March foal was sixth in a fast turf dash at Saratoga most recently, and his pedigree hints that he will thrive at two turns for a conditioner who is solid first time going a route.
#13 — MR SUPERB: Tracey Young pupil rallied to be second-best at Indiana Grand in a sprint on the turf on debut. First foal out of this winning dam is by good turf influence Temple City, and Young does a nice job with shippers overall. The gray colt must improve and show that he is a route runner to upset this field, however. John McKee is named for the ride.
#14 JOHN’S ROCK: Bay son of Bernardini was produced from a mare who was a turf stakes winner at Keeneland, and he will try the green following an even run on dirt at Indiana Grand. April foal will be saddled for the initial time by Phil Sims, and the second time starter comes in with a solid half-mile drill. The Kentucky-bred is from a barn that wins at a high rate first time going on the turf.
#15 BLOOD MOON: Talented son of Malibu Moon finished second on dirt in both career performances including a fine try at Keeneland last out. Rudolphe Brisset pupil has five siblings that have conquered the turf, including three-time Grade 3 grassy victor G. G. Ryder. Chestnut is by a solid turf sire and races for an outfit that can win with this type of surface change, as well. An obvious contender if he makes the field from also-eligible list, he could evolve into a nice turf prospect.
Churchill Downs – Race 6
#1 K W CAPTAIN HOOK: Michael Tomlinson trainee defeated $50,000 maiden-claiming foes on debut at Churchill Downs. Conditioner does well with last-out graduates, but this son of Discreet Cat will meet much better and faces a demanding task from the rail in his first two-turn start. Kentucky-bred was alert at first asking but didn’t close very swiftly, and he will need a great break to have a realistic chance.
#2 PRINCE JAMES: Dark bay son of Tiznow was impressive at first asking when winning going away over a route of ground at Monmouth Park. Kelsey Danner trainee fetched a bid of $150,000 this spring and hails from a family with a few standout performers on the catalog page. Kentucky-bred tracked a modest pace before finishing with good energy in New Jersey. Paco Lopez coming in to ride is a huge positive.
#3 LIFE ON THE ROAD: Street Sense colt was a facile winner on the Ellis Park main strip prior to fading in the stretch when facing infinitely better in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. Pricey $450,000 yearling purchase is the first foal out of a stakes-placed Big Brown mare from a female line with stamina influences throughout. Dark bay from the Steve Asmussen barn races for a conditioner who is strong with juveniles, and more than capable second time going long.
#4 FIELD PASS: Mike Maker trainee has never run a bad race from five attempts on the lawn, and he will make his dirt bow in a winnable spot. Gray son of Lemon Drop Kid has displayed tactical speed and class to this stage of his development, though his pedigree gives no indication if he will thrive on the main oval. Maryland-bred is the most battle-tested contender in the field for a solid turf-to-dirt trainer.
#5 PEPPER PIKE: Ghostzapper colt burned a lot of money on debut at Ellis Park when offering little, but he redeemed himself with a convincing win at Indiana Grand second time out. May foal looked good in his route debut, and the Godolphin homebred is a half-brother to the precocious Avery Island, who was a graded stakes winner at age 2 and 3. Bay juvenile must get faster, but his conditioner does some great work with youngsters and recent maiden winners. Luis Saez will ride.
#6 OLLY WONDER: Paulo Lobo pupil was a dominant sprint winner at Belterra Park at hefty odds on debut. Wildcard son of Will Take Charge has both turf and stamina influences through his dam, and he could be almost any kind in his second career assignment. Dark bay colt runs for a barn with a positive success rate with shippers, and his pair of morning drills should have him mostly fit to go long today.
#7 ALCOOLS: Gemologist gelding won at first asking on the Tapeta at Woodbine, but he has not impressed in a pair of tries following that effort. Peter Miller pupil is a half-brother to a pair of stakes winners, including Grade 1 winner and Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) contender Hog Creek Hustle. This family is inundated with speed, but the colt deserves at least a look in his route bow for a commendable sprint-to-route trainer.
#8 NAUGHTY ALFRED: Munnings colt led at every call in a debut win on the course with $30,000 maiden claiming runners. Wesley Hawley claim is a half-brother to a winner on the dirt, though she was trounced in her pair of races going long. Dark bay finished well at first asking and might be sent to the front with Miguel Mena riding for a shedrow capable off the claim.
#9 BEYOND GONE: Kenny McPeek representative ran a pair of good ones to commence his career at Saratoga, but he has been unplaced in two straight since. Can the Man colt has pace but tired badly after being well placed at Keeneland most recently, and his pedigree does little to suggest that he will be a stayer. Brian Hernandez rides the Kentucky-bred.
Churchill Downs – Race 7
#1 AJZAL: Danny Pietz pupil was well back in both career outings including a run on the dirt under the Twin Spires most recently. City Zip colt will add Lasix and shows a pair of decent morning drills in the interim. First foal out of a well-bred dam will need a major step forward in his third lifetime performance. Declan Cannon has the call.
#2 EL SUPREMO: First time starter by solid win-early sire Super Saver is out of a Grade 2 queen who did her best running going long on the turf. Bret Calhoun trainee put in a half-mile drill from the gate here most recently and barn is more than capable on debut. $150,000 purchase has turf breeding throughout his female line, and he may be best suited for the green in the future.
#3 ICECAP: Gray son of young sire Carpe Diem was a well-beaten seventh going 1 1/16 miles on this oval in his latest venture and cuts back in trip today. Kentucky-bred brought $180,000 at auction but has yet to prove his worth from a pair of runs for Steve Asmussen, who does a good job cutting back in distance from a route to a sprint. Colt showed improved speed most recently and figures to be forwardly placed once again with Ricardo Santana.
#4 MCSHADY: Chestnut colt from the always dangerous Tom Amoss barn counts a winning two-year-old winning sibling from a pair to race, and he hails from a barn that is excellent with debut runners at this level. Will Take Charge colt has trained steadily since August in preparation of his debut offering, and he is bred for speed throughout his dam’s side. Miguel Mena will ride the Kentucky-bred.
#5 UNWAVERING: Trainer Bill Mott has been live at the juvenile level over the past few seasons and will send out this $300,000 son of strong debut sire Into Mischief. A March foal out of a half-sister to Kentucky Oaks (G1) queen Pike Place Dancer, the colt has worked well in the Empire State in advance of today and the presence of Julien Leparoux is another positive.
#6 CAVALRY CHARGE: Expensive son of freshman sire Honor Code was well backed at 5-1 in his debut at Keeneland and offered a mild late run following a poor break. Dallas Stewart trainee is the first out of a dam who is sibling to three graded stakes winners, led by the ultra-talented Adieu. January foal shows four published drills since his unveiling, and this outfit is always better with experienced runners. Colt will be running late and rates as a dangerous contender.
#7 RACE DRIVER: Potential one to beat from the Mark Casse barn ran evenly when fourth at Churchill Downs behind the talented Complexifier, who returned to beat allowance foes at Keeneland at 2-5 odds. Race Driver brought a final bid of $290,000 at OBS June and runs for a smart juvenile barn that is also solid second time out. Bay has local experience as well as two local spins in the interim. Tyler Gaffalione will be up.
#8 ANSWER IN: Gelded son of Dialed In was a nose shy of graduating on debut following a huge run on this oval following an awful break, finishing second to South Bend, a leading candidate in the Street Sense S. later on the card. Answer In is the first foal out of a speedy stakes-placed dam and gets blinkers off for Brad Cox, who is superb doing so. Kentucky-bred colt has been training in swift fashion, and he should appreciate a post draw well off the rail today.
#9 BIG LEAGUE BENNY: Chestnut son of The Big Beast has four juvenile-winning siblings to date and rallied to be third in his debut following a poor break at Canterbury Downs. Robertino Diodoro pupil is bred top and bottom for speed and his sire is off to a good start with his first crop. $75,000 two-year-old purchase has gotten in a trio of local works and will move forward beneath David Cohen.
#10 NOBLE EMPIRE: Empire Maker colt finished a creditable third at Saratoga on debut prior to an unplaced showing on this surface second time out. $100,000 bay is a half-brother to a stakes winner, and he descends from one of the better female lines in racing. Kentucky-bred is swift from the gate, but he will have to overcome the widest post in his second local appearance.
Churchill Downs – Race 8: Maiden Special Weight (1 1/16 miles)
#1 BIGDADDY’SFLYINGHI: Was never in contention at 60-1 when debuting over this distance at Keeneland on October 5. His 79 BRIS Speed figure wasn’t bad, but he’ll need to step forward and trainer Chris Block strikes at just a 10% rate with second-time starters.
#2 EXCESSION: Steve Asmussen trainee has knocked heads with graded stakes winners Basin and Maxfield in his first three starts. His best run came when stretching out to a mile at Churchill, not surprising since he’s a son of Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Union Rags. The blinkers come off for Excession’s two-turn debut, and another sharp run should be in the offing.
#3 LIAM’S LEGEND: This son of promising young stallion Liam’s Map wasn’t disgraced when finishing fifth behind next-out winner Complexifier in a six-furlong dash at Churchill on September 20. Trainer Rodolphe Brisset strikes at a 21% rate with second-time starters, suggesting Liam’s Legend can step forward while stretching out in distance.
#4 SOUNION: Another son of Liam’s Map, this $360,000 yearling purchase will stretch out in distance after breaking slowly and rallying to finish third behind future Iroquois Stakes (G3) winner Dennis’ Moment in a seven-furlong sprint at Ellis Park. Sounion hasn’t run in three months, but breezed five furlongs in a quick 59 3/5 on October 18 and will have hot jockey Julien Leparoux in the saddle.
#5 SHARECROPPER: Broke slowly in his debut at Churchill on September 29 and never got involved while finishing eighth. Classy stamina-oriented pedigree suggests improvement on the stretch out, but he’ll need a big step forward to start earning back his $600,000 purchase price.
#6 LIDO LEGACY: Debuted with an uncompetitive effort at 42-1 on grass, then switched to dirt and improved with Lasix to finish fourth going 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland. The addition of blinkers could help sharpen his speed.
#7 MADE SENSE: Had a troubled start and a wide trip when finishing fifth sprinting at Saratoga, but will add Lasix and stretch out in distance on Sunday, both strong moves for trainer Kenny McPeek. Expect an improved effort with top Churchill Downs jockey Corey Lanerie in the saddle.
#8 STREET DANZA: Failed to show much spark in his first two starts sprinting, including one at Churchill Downs. On the bright side, trainer Kellyn Gorder wins at a 24% rate with runners stretching out off a pair of sprints.
#9 SOCIAL AFLEET: Finished three lengths clear of Bigdaddy’sflyinghi on October 5 at Keeneland, earning an 82 BRIS Speed figure that ranks third-best in this field. Pace-tracking style could lead to a wide trip under jockey Robby Albarado, who is striking at just a 6% rate this season.
#10 BANKS ISLAND: Fired off an 87 BRIS Speed figure when finishing second over seven furlongs at Churchill on September 29. By Tapit, Godolphin homebred has the pedigree to stretch out around two turns and looms as the horse to beat.
Churchill Downs – Race 9: Rags to Riches Stakes (1 mile)
#1 LADY GLAMOUR: Was eased in the Ellis Park Debutante Stakes, but won two of her three previous starts and wasn’t disgraced when third in the Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs. Fits well on BRIS Speed figures, but pedigree is iffy for stretching out over a mile. Rail post didn’t perform well at this distance during September meet.
#2 CURLINESQUE: Debuted with a victory sprinting 6 ½ furlongs at Churchill Downs, dueling from the start and determinedly outfinishing a well-backed rival, and $250,000 Curlin filly has the breeding to handle longer distances. Trainer Cherie DeVaux, former assistant to Chad Brown, is striking at a 40% rate with juveniles this year.
#3 GONE GLIMMERING: Drops in class off a decent run in the Alcibiades (G1), where she tracked the pace before weakening to finish fourth. Daughter of Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) runner-up Tapiture had previously won back-to-back sprints at Indiana Grand. Distance is a question mark, though Tom Amoss wins at a 31% rate with horses running long for the second time.
#4 SPECIALLY: Cruised to victory on debut at Keeneland, beating next-out maiden special weight winner Lucrezia by 5 ¼ lengths while earning a competitive 95 BRIS Speed figure. Half-brother to 2019 Belmont Stakes (G1) third-place finisher Joevia sold for $475,000 as yearling.
#5 FINITE: Graduated by 4 ¼ lengths on grass at Kentucky Downs, but this son of Munnings is bred for dirt and showed promise with two runner-up efforts on the Saratoga main track during the summer. Steve Asmussen trainee boasts the field’s best BRIS Speed figure and has the tactical speed to be a factor from the outset.
#6 SPOTTED GHOST: Ghostzapper juvenile has the pedigree to handle a one-turn mile, but takes a big step up in class after reaching the winner’s circle at Remington Park. On the bright side, she finished fast in her maiden win and that bodes well for stretching out.
#7 LUCKY JINGLE: Showed potential in three starts on turf, but as a daughter of Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Tonalist, she understandably improved when switching to dirt at Keeneland. She’s already won going a mile on grass and picks up jockey Julien Leparoux, who won at a 22% rate during the September meet.
Churchill Downs – Race 10: Street Sense Stakes (1 mile)
#1 SPRAWL: Finished behind the future Grade 1 performers Gozilla and Maxfield in his first two starts, then improved when stretching out around two turns to break his maiden at Keeneland. The rail draw could be tough, though there’s none better than Corey Lanerie (top jockey at the September meet) at riding the Churchill Downs rail these days.
#2 TAP IT TO WIN: Was rank early on in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and faded badly to finish last, but could be poised for a rebound while dropping in class and cutting back to a mile for the Street Sense. Threw down fast speed figures when beating Complexifier by 3 ½ lengths at Saratoga, and Complexifier has come back to win two straight. Trainer Mark Casse strikes at a 23% rate with horses making their second start at a mile or longer.
#3 WHEAT KING: Stoutly-bred son of Tiznow has shown ability sprinting, but figures to improve while lengthening his stride over a mile. Already has competitive speed figures, and as a January foal, he might have a maturity edge over his younger rivals.
#4 SOUTH BEND: Deep-closing colt is two-for-two and rallied to beat Wheat King going seven furlongs at Keeneland last month. A mile should be within his wheelhouse since half-brother He’s the Reason won a pair of stakes races running 1 1/16 miles or farther. Jockey Julien Leparoux is hot with a nine-for-29 record over the last week, and a bullet half-mile work in :47 4/5 on October 22 adds to the appeal.
#5 MR. TIP: Switches to dirt and stretches out in distance after beating next-out winner Beau Oxy by 3 ½ lengths in a five-furlong dash over the Arlington Polytrack. Sire was best on grass and dam was successful on synthetic, so tackling dirt is a legitimate question mark.
#6 SILVER PROSPECTOR: Lost three starts on grass before switching to dirt and romping home by two lengths in a fast time at Keeneland. His 95 BRIS Speed figure is the best in the field and the pedigree indicates a mile won’t be an issue for the Declaration of War colt. Logical contender for high-profile Asmussen/Santana team.
#7 FIGHTING SEABEE: Anticipation Stakes (G3) winner drops in class while making dirt debut. Bullet five-furlong workout at Keeneland is encouraging, but pedigree is turf-oriented.
#8 AMERICAN BUTTERFLY: Showed speed and faded in the Hopeful Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Futurity (G1), but faces easier competition this time and could sit a nice trip from an outside draw. Hot young stallion American Pharoah has already sired three graded stakes winners from his first crop.
#9 AXIOMO: Veteran of five starts has shown promising form on both grass and dirt, but sprinting seems to be his forte and trainer Mikhail Yanakov wins at just a 4% rate with horses stretching out to a mile or longer for the first time. Removal of blinkers hints late-running tactics could be in the cards.
#10 SHOTSKI: Didn’t fire in his debut on turf at Kentucky Downs, but the switch to dirt at Laurel Park, coupled with the addition of Lasix, blinkers, and front wraps, triggered a complete turnaround. Son of Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Blame should handle a mile, and trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer succeeds at a 22% rate with last-out maiden winners.
#11 CARPE VICTORIAM: Back-to-back sprint wins at Indiana Grand sets up a positive angle for Carpe Victoriam’s first route run, since trainer Tom Amoss wins at a 34% rate with runners stretching out off a pair of sprints. The jump in class and wide draw are legitimate challenges, though.
Churchill Downs – Race 11: Maiden Special Weight (7 furlongs)
#1 NEVER FORGET: Well-bred first-time starter is by War Front and out of Frivolous, who won a pair of Grade 2 stakes here at Churchill Downs. Never Forget works a sharp half-mile in :47 3/5 from the Keeneland starting gate on October 19, a sign of talent, but will have to overcome tricky rail draw.
#2 NATOMA: Ian Wilkes rarely cranks his first-time starters for big runs off the bench. By Fort Larned, filly’s dam and half-sister were both at their best running long on dirt and made one start between them as juveniles, so expect Natoma to improve with experience, distance and maturity.
#3 FOREIGN EXCHANGE: Finished behind future graded stakes winners Sweet Melania and Wicked Whisper in her first three starts and might catch an easier field on Sunday. Tactical speed should come in handy from her inside draw.
#4 GRAYSONMACHO GAL: Cuts back and returns to dirt after flashing speed and fading over 1 1/16 miles on grass. Classy pedigree is oriented toward the main track, but trainer Gary Thomas is one-for-47 this season and Graysonmacho Gal will need to show improvement to contend.
#5 DIXIE ROULETTE: First-time starter cost just $1,000 as a weanling, but rocketed a half-mile in a bullet :46 4/5 at Ellis Park on October 20, a clear sign of ability. Trainer Eric Foster is hot this year with a 21% overall strike rate, and dam Dixie Jackpot won two races as a juvenile.
#6 IRREPRESSIBL: Son of leading sire Into Mischief sold for $750,000 as a 2yo-in-training. Showed some late interest to finish third on debut at Churchill Downs and gets an extra half-furlong to work with for Sunday’s maiden heat. Improvement could be in the forecast; Steve Asmussen wins at a 22% rate with second-time starters and Irrepressible worked a sharp five furlongs on October 13.
#7 BEAUTIFUL TRAUMA: Just missed going a mile at Churchill on September 13, earning a 79 BRIS speed figure that tops the field. Cuts back a furlong in distance for Tom Amoss, who is strong with this move.
#8 AIZU: Daughter of Japan has some stamina in her pedigree and might be better running long down the road. Hasn’t shown much speed in a series of half-mile workouts for trainer Michelle Nihei, a 4% winner with first-time starters.
#9 DYNAMITE GIFT: Jumps in class after overcoming a slow start to finish second for a $50,000 tag at Churchill four weeks ago. Stretches out another panel and could improve with a clean break, but was 30-1 on debut and is now facing tougher company.
#10 BOURBINA: Showed speed second time out, but faded badly down the lane to finish nearly a half-dozen lengths behind Irrepressible. Will be a pace factor, but seven furlongs could be pushing stamina limitations.
#11 AREEMAA: Adds Lasix after rallying mildly to finish seventh on debut at Churchill. Shadwell Farm homebred boasts a stamina-oriented pedigree and could be a player if he breaks sharply while stretching out to seven furlongs.
#12 CREATIVE LEGACY: Failed to contend in two starts on turf, but is a half-sister to the stakes-placed Shivermetimbers and bred to improve on dirt. Trainer Larry Jones strikes at a 43% rate with runners cutting back from a route to a sprint.
#13 SUMMER EXPRESS: Dam has produced a pair of multiple winners, but neither graduated before their three-year-old season. Steady work tab is a sign of soundness and durability from a filly bred to run long. It may be best to expect improvement down the road if she gets in from the also-eligible list.
#14 MERITATEN: Unplaced from three grass starts so far, which is surprising for a filly out of a Galileo mare. Sire War Front has begotten all types, so the switch to dirt is worth a try for high-percentage trainer Al Stall Jr., but Meritaten needs to improve in the speed figure department if she draws in the race.