Races with juveniles can be challenging to handicap and formulate opinions when the two-year-old talent has limited experience racing. Our writers have compiled talking points for each runner for most of such races for the fall meet.
Find Thursday, November 7 runners below for Churchill Downs!
Churchill Downs – Race 10: Maiden Special Weight, 2YO fillies at 1 Mile
#1 TAKE CHARGE PATTI (20-1): Yet to do better than seventh in two outings so far for trainer Paul McGee, but if you want to take an optimistic view, both of those were sprints and this will be the horse’s first stretch-out attempt to one mile and McGee has won with three of his last 14 starters going sprint to route. On the other hand, McGee wins with just 5% of his two-year-olds overall, and this horse has been a non-factor so far at long odds both times out.
#2 FALL MOON (20-1): Tried a pair of turf miles at Arlington to begin her career, the better of which was last time out when she achieved a third-place finish, beaten just two lengths. Now trainer Doug Matthews is going to see what this daughter of Lea can do going a mile on the dirt, and certainly that kind of switch could spur improvement from a barn that gets a strong 28% winners and 58% ITM with its turf-to-dirt moves. Probably best to take a wait-and-see approach, but not the craziest longshot in the world based on the trainer’s turf-to-dirt record.
#3 TETRAHYDRO (20-1): No dice in very tough career debut spot at Saratoga, but then took a step in the right direction last time here at Churchill Downs when fourth in a nine-horse field at 6 1/2 furlongs with first-time Lasix in an expensive maiden claiming race. Back in versus maiden special weights today, which won’t make this task any easier, but at least she has turned in three solid workouts since last raced. Stretches out to one mile, and she is certainly bred for more distance on the dam’s side. Mom has produced three mostly route winners from five prior foals, including one stakes winner.
#4 LOADED (5-1): Making second lifetime start today after a promising career debut last time out, closing throughout to get up for second in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint prep unveiling for trainer Rusty Arnold, who has enjoyed a strong year in 2019 with a good win percentage. Arnold is decent in these categories, winning 13% with second-time starters and 14% first-time route. Second foal from stakes-winning dam. Shows another good workout since last raced indicating continued fitness. All systems go and is able to beat these in the likely event that she benefits from the stretch-out to one mile.
#5 BUMBLE OF LOVE (30-1): First-time starter for trainer Brian Michael, who is 0-for-11 with firsters including two in the money finishers. Gets low-profile rider Virginia Tormey aboard for this debut, but at least the price will be right at 30-1 odds on the morning line. Sire Hampton Court gets 9% winners from his first time starters, and she is out of a dam who has produced five winners from seven prior foals to race including a pair of two-year-old winners and one stakes winner.
#6 HOLLEE PEACH (30-1): Making fourth career start and still looking for first in the money finish at 30-1 odds on the morning line. No dice so far sprinting on the turf twice, and the dirt track debut last time out didn’t go much better, tiring through the stretch to finish eighth when beaten 21 lengths at seven furlongs. BRIS Prime Power rating lags behind. Prefer others.
#7 SLAM DUNK (6-5): Looms the giant 6-5 favorite back versus maidens today for trainer Rodolphe Brisset, and why not? This filly exits a competitive third-place finish in the Frizette (G1) at Belmont last time out. In her prior start against maidens on Labor Day weekend at Saratoga, she finished second as the beaten favorite. Speed ratings from both of the last two outings loom large over this field, as does her 131.5 Prime Power rating. Obviously the horse to beat and you have to use her in the final leg of all your multi-race wagers, but her odds will be exceptionally low, she’s already a two-time beaten favorite versus maidens, and she is likely to get a serious challenge from #4 Loaded at this one-mile distance.
#8 RECODED (5-1): Of her two outings so far, by far the better one was the career debut second-place finish right here at Churchill Downs, so perhaps a return here off the flop at Keeneland last time will spur a positive turnaround. On the negative side however, she did get an ideal blazing fast pace set-up to close into in that runner-up finish two races ago, and it would have been nice to see her take a step forward last time out and that didn’t happen. Recording fast morning drills on a variety of surfaces for trainer Ian Wilkes. Prime Power rating of 118.8 puts her nearly even with Loaded. Sold for $150,000 as a yearling, and is out of a dam that has produced five winners from seven prior starters. Has a chance if the favorite turns in a disappointing effort.
#9 SPARTANKA (10-1): Still a maiden after nine tries, but on the plus side she has shown steady improvement, and her two most recent outings at Keeneland happen to be her two best races so far. She appears to be moving forward now finally toward the maiden victory, if not today than perhaps soon in an easier spot. Lost to Loaded two races ago at 6 1/2 furlongs, and that rival is more likely that this horse to improve with this stretch to a longer distance. Not sure one mile will be the answer for this filly, but a third consecutive in-the-money finish is certainly within the range of possibility for her today.
#10 FLIPARDINI (12-1): First-time starter by Bernardini debuts at an appropriate distance today and shows a steady worktab. Cost $90,000 as a yearling, and Bernardini gets 11% winners from his first starters. Stakes-winning dam has produced two winners from five prior foals to race. Trainer Cherie DeVaux has won with five of her last 20 first-time starters for a very good 25%. Could come out running, so don’t overlook.
#11 JEWELED PRINCESS (12-1): First-time starter for trainer Ken McPeek, who is not known for winning with a lot of firsters with a win percentage of just 5% from a 202-horse sample. Sire Cairo Prince wins with 10% of his first starters, and this is the dam’s first foal to race. Wait until later.
#12 BIRD MAP (8-1): Second time out for trainer Norm Casse coming off a non-threatening fifth-place finish in career debut at six furlongs at Keeneland where she never threatened at any point during the race. Ran like a horse that wants – and would benefit from – more distance, so perhaps this stretch-out to one mile will help. Julien Leparoux sticks around for the mount again which is a good sign. Perhaps blinkers on will put this horse into the race at some point, unlike last time.