A collaborative effort by Vance Hanson, James Scully, John Mucciolo, Alastair Bull and Keeler Johnson
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Stars of Tomorrow I at Churchill Downs on Sunday, October 31 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.
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- Race 1
- Race 2
- Race 3
- Race 4
- Race 5 – Rags to Riches S.
- Race 6
- Race 7
- Race 8
- Race 9
- Race 10 – Street Sense S.
- Race 11
Churchill Downs – Race 1
Maiden Special Weight — 1 1/16 miles (1:00 p.m. ET)
#1 BLUNDER (8-1) merits respect. After placing in his first two starts at Ellis Park, the Keith Desormeaux-trained colt finished fourth in a key race at Churchill Downs in late September last out – the winner (Rattle N Roll) came back to capture the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and third-placer (Ignitis) romped over Keeneland maiden foes. Blunder possesses tactical speed and if he can work out a trip from innermost post, he could play at least a minor part in the outcome.
#2 LEVY (15-1) catches the eye from a pedigree perspective, being from the first crop of leading freshman sire Gun Runner, but the chestnut colt will need to improve upon his first two outings to challenge. He experienced a troubled trip last time, and the two-turn distance may benefit the Bret Calhoun pupil, but Levy may need easier competition to be effective.
#3 KING CURLIN (4-1) rallied for second when making his career debut against maiden special weight rivals on the turf at Kentucky Downs, but he was never a factor finishing 12th in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) last out. The son of Curlin should appreciate the class relief, but his lack of dirt form and lower Brisnet Speed ratings are discouraging.
#4 FROSTY DREAMS (12-1) will be tested for class after performing respectably at Indiana Grand, placing in his first three starts. Would like to see more a finishing kick from the early/presser type, but the James Spicer-trained Frosted colt remains eligible to contend for another top three prize with a favorable frontrunning trip.
#5 REWIRE (2-1) is the one to beat in his second start for Brad Cox. Overlooked at 17-1 in his career debut, a salty maiden special weight at Churchill on Sept. 24, the gray son of Mohaymen missed by only a length in second to Unified Report, who came back to easily capture a restricted stakes in his next outing. Rewire received a commendable 85 Brisnet Speed rating last time, and has been gelded in the 37-day interim, and he should be forwardly placed from the start with Florent Geroux.
#6 TRADEMARK (7-2) exits a fine runner-up effort in his second outing, closing fast for runner-up honors after a slow start. By Upstart, the gelding will need to get out of the gate better, breaking tardily in both efforts, but he appears to be making fine progress for Vicki Oliver. Trademark netted a field-best 88 Brisnet Speed rating last time, and he rates as a major player from off the pace with Rafael Bejarano.
#7 UNDERDRESSED (15-1) showed little in his first outing, a ninth against maiden special weight foes at Keeneland. A half-brother to Grade 3 winner Lady Ninja, the dark bay colt from the first crop of Keen Ice may benefit from the added ground Sunday, and the Rey Hernandez trainee shows a sharp half-mile work since his disappointing debut. However, it’s difficult to envision Underdressed improving enough to make an impact.
#8 HITTING BOMBS (7-2) has been well-supported in two starts, most recently favored over 10 maiden special weight rivals at Keeneland, but the Gun Runner colt has failed to hit the board after breaking slowly both times. He improved the second time out, passing rivals through the stretch to finish fourth, and Brian Lynch will add blinkers to keep his charge more focused. Hitting Bombs may continue to show more with experience, and can’t be dismissed from win consideration, but his gate issues and lower Speed numbers don’t inspire confidence.
Churchill Downs – Race 2
Maiden Special Weight — 1 mile (1:30 p.m. ET)
#1 TWO FOR ONE (15-1) was cold on the tote board and never ran a step after a slow start in her career debut, an Oct. 8 maiden special weight at Keeneland, and the dark bay Super Saver filly didn’t receive a favorable post for her second appearance. She is bred to be precocious, a half-sister to a pair of juvenile stakes winners, including Know More, who captured the 2012 Best Pal (G2) and finished second in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and FrontRunner S. (G1), but Two for One may not be cut from the same cloth.
#2 SCARTINI MARTINI (20-1) switches to the main track after a dull last-place effort on the turf at Indiana Grand. A full sister to 2018 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) winner Coach Rocks, the gray Oxbow filly probably wants longer distances than today’s one-turn mile. Scartini Martini is eligible to show more down the road with experience, but based upon her first outing, it may be best to watch for now.
#3 MY ZIP ZIP (5-1) makes her first start for trainer Eric Foster after being claimed for $20,000 from a late-running third at Keeneland. She’s hit the board in both outings, rallying for second against $30,000 maiden claiming foes on Indiana Grand’s turf the first time out, but her Brisnet Speed ratings (67 twice) are a little low. My Zip Zip steps up in class in good form, though, and she will try to make an impact from off the pace with Geraldo Corrrales.
#4 TIZ SO FINE (20-1), one of three first-time starters in the field, is tough to recommend in her initial appearance. Trainer Michael Ewing isn’t known for his prowess with firsters, and sire Tiznow wins at only an 8% clip with debut runners. Tiz So Fine shows slow workouts with gaps, and it would be a surprise to see the $25,000 yearling purchase play a major part in the outcome.
#5 SPIRITCATCHER (6-1) shows a nice series of workouts in advance of her initial appearances, and the Cupid filly merits respect for Joe Sharp, who wins at a 10% rate with first-time starters. A half-sister to Miss Marissa, winner of this year’s Delaware H. (G2), Spiritcatcher hails from a classy female family, and Cupid is a solid 13% first-out sire. She may not be facing the deepest group of rivals in this spot, as well.
#6 BUTTERBEAN (7-2) has trained forwardly in advance of her first start, logging a couple of bullet moves at Keeneland. A $22,000 yearling purchase from the first crop of Klimt, the chestnut doesn’t have much going for her from a pedigree perspective, and Kenny McPeek wins at only a 6% rate with debut runners. However, McPeek does well with juveniles at Churchill Downs, and go-to rider Brian Hernandez Jr. will be up. Butterbean’s fast works stamp her as a major contender.
#7 BLUE NEITH (8-1) switches to dirt after passing rivals belatedly in her first start on Indiana Grand’s turf. The Big Blue Kitten filly is eligible to break better this time, and she shows a five-furlong bullet work in preparation for Daniel Sanner. Closely related to a number of dirt stakes winners, Blue Neith rates an intriguing prospect on the surface switch, and she should offer good value in her second start.
#8 IMPLOSION (2-1) will be a deserving favorite after a strong frontrunning effort under the Twin Spires in her second career start, finishing a neck third. Her 81 Brisnet Speed rating easily tops the field, and Steve Margolis does well with horses stretching out in distance. By Not This Time, Implosion will show speed from the start with Francisco Arrieta, and she could prove impossible to run down on the front end.
#9 COST A FORTUNE (9-2) invades from Laurel Park after a fifth against $40,000 maiden claiming rivals. Jeremiah O’Dyer, who has won six of his last 20 starts when taking blinkers off, will remove headgear from the speedy filly, but the Runhappy filly is still eligible to a pace player. The added ground may prove to be a challenge, but Cost a Fortune’s Brisnet Speed ratings make her one to consider for a top three finish.
Churchill Downs – Race 3
Maiden Special Weight — 6 furlongs (2:00 p.m. ET)
#1 WINTERWOOD (10-1) — Maclean’s Music is an 18% debut sire, while winning dam is a half to G2 turfer Rush Bay; farther back, this family includes the local turf mainstay Chorwon; this one was the most expensive yearling buy in the field at $400,000, and trainer/jockey combo have very strong record and ROI together in recent seasons; inside draw potentially no bargain, but worth a look.
#2 AMERICAN HERO (7-2) — Constitution (17% debut sire) colt is a half to G2-winning juvenile Pure Silver; both were reared by the stakes-winning Jehan; hailing from the Cox barn, this firster obviously will get a lot of attention, and with Florent up to boot; potentially well-meant and field isn’t terribly deep, but unlikely to offer much value.
#3 SPARTAN ARMY (12-1) — Sire gets debut winners at a strong 16% rate, while this is the first foal out of a winning half-sister to the G3-placed Join in the Dance; shows some above-average gate works coming in for a barn that enjoyed a decent September meet; Hernandez lands here instead of on second-time starter Chasing Time.
#4 MEAN JAKEY (4-1) — Asmussen charge was cold on the board first out, but did manage to place after a bit of a rough passage against a field that was strung out at the finish; some improvement to be expected with that experience behind, but price will be significantly lower and some of the first-timers in the field look like they can run; Santana looking to snap a cold streak that lasted throughout the Keeneland meet.
#5 CHASING TIME (3-1) — Well-backed first time, but didn’t display as effective a kick as the winner, who rallied from slightly farther back after a hot opening half-mile; owns the best last-race Brisnet speed rating (86) of the previous starters, and mild improvement could get the job done; however, would shop around if bet hard again.
#6 O P FIRECRACKER (9-2) — Good try at Keeneland first out; made strong progress on the turn, took a short lead in the stretch, and then was run down late as an outsider in the betting; switch to Gaffalione a positive as he and barn have been an effective combo over this track in recent seasons; contender.
#7 EAST OF INDIA (20-1) — Sire recently had a debut winner at Keeneland, Bali Del Sol ($36.40), and has had one stakes winner in the Ohio-bred ranks so far in his first crop; dam went 1-for-19, her lone victory coming on the turf in her 10th start; barn wins at a nice percentage, though not so much with first-time starters.
#8 BADGEBALL (12-1) — Raced near the back first out and passed only a few stragglers, basically running to pari-mutuel expectations; shows only one interim work for a barn that possesses modest stats with second-time starters; might need another.
#9 ROYAL CONSORT (8-1) — Cupid gets 13% first-out winners, according to the latest Brisnet stats, and dam has produced the multiple stakes-winning sprinter King Kranz; Casse/Talamo have been an effective combo both here and elsewhere, and colt has shown some speed in morning trials both here and at Ellis; some things to like.
Churchill Downs – Race 4
Maiden Special Weight — 1 1/16 miles (2:30 p.m. ET)
#1 MORNING THOUGHTS (12-1) — Didn’t show great improvement moving from Saratoga to Woodbine, though might not have cared for the synthetic surface after both races were washed off the grass; and trailing early behind a slow pace last time probably didn’t help either; connections testing his dirt ability here, but this a tough race for the class level; others preferred.
#2 MONOLOGUE (20-1) — Runhappy colt was slow away first out and made no impression despite having the benefit of a hot pace to chase; while some improvement expected, he’ll seemingly need to show a lot of it to contend.
#3 WAKE SURF (5-1) — A good effort first time over a wet Keeneland turf, though attempt to lull the field to sleep didn’t quite work against more experienced rivals; bred to be more useful on dirt, and that positional speed should come in handy against a field comprised mostly of deep closers; per Brisnet stats, Rusty Arnold has a strong record with second-time starters and has a positive ROI with them in recent years.
#4 HARMON KILLER BREW (12-1) — Cleverly-named Minnesota-bred lacks much in the way of tactical foot; that didn’t prove as big a hindrance facing lesser at Arlington as it did here in a slower-paced Sept. 23 heat; two of the top three from that race have since won, including Rattle N Roll at Grade 1 level; this gelding looks a cut below, but perhaps can sneak into the lower rungs of the exotics if given a stronger pace to chase.
#5 BEN DIESEL (20-1) — Champion three-year-old sire gets 8% debut winners, and this is a full brother to Will’s Secret, who won the Honeybee (G3) last spring and was distantly-placed in the Ashland (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1) after that; Will’s Secret herself needed four starts before breaking her maiden late in her juvenile season at Fair Grounds; barn went 5-for-22 during the September meet; share possible if he runs to his breeding.
#6 TEN GAUGE (4-1) — If you ignore the no-show at Saratoga, this colt has run two solid races, one at Monmouth and the other here; the latter over this distance is especially notable as he was only beaten by Rattle N Roll, subsequent winner of the Breeders’ Futurity (G1); the third-place finisher also came back to graduate, so that race is developing into a key one; potentially the primary speed here, and seemingly capable of setting a quicker pace than the one he was involved in last time; a top contender.
#7 SEARCH ENGINE (4-1) — A half-brother to this year’s Acorn (G1) winner and Kentucky Oaks runner-up Search Results, he was within striking distance first out before fading late in a somewhat lackluster debut; the good news is that he can improve off that initial run, and recent bullet half-mile at Keeneland is encouraging; however, he faces a formidable foe in Bourbon Heist, who’s already missed narrowly twice and earned Kentucky Derby (G1) qualifying points.
#8 SCATTERSHOT (20-1) — Clearly more capable on dirt than turf to this point, but lack of positional speed on either surface hasn’t done him any favors; even with the benefit of a fast pace last time over the one-turn mile, he only passed stragglers late while never reaching contention; stronger effort needed before endorsing.
#9 BOURBON HEIST (6-5) — Rough trips, arguably, have prolonged his status as a maiden; fell frustratingly short twice at Saratoga after encountering trouble, and last time was asked to rally very wide when outrun early in the Iroquois (G3); this race perhaps his best opportunity yet to shed the winless label and get that overdue diploma; the one to beat at a short price.
Churchill Downs – Race 5
Rags to Riches S. — 1 1/16 miles (3:03 p.m. ET)
#1 MANASOTA SUNSET (8-1): Outwork filly from the Joe Sharp stable. Won an Ellis Park maiden at her second outing before finishing third in the Ellis Park Debutante, both over seven furlongs. Earned career-best Brisnet Speed and Class ratings when second in an allowance mile at Keeneland Oct. 21. Has good gate speed and not out of it on ratings.
#2 MAMA RINA (3-1): One of two entrants for Ken McPeek, the Gormley filly should enjoy the step down to ungraded stakes. Raced twice on turf at Ellis Park, winning the second of these over 1 1/16 miles. Not disgraced when second to Hidden Connection on her dirt debut in the Pocahontas S. (G3), and rallied for fourth in the Alcibiades S. (G1) Oct. 8. Likely to get back for Corey Lanerie but should be making ground at the end.
#3 SANDSTONE (5-2): The second McPeek entry couldn’t keep up on debut May 28 over 5 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs in May. Given time to mature, the Street Sense filly was much improved when she took on a mile at Churchill Downs Oct. 3, relishing the sloppy track to race away by nine lengths, recording the highest Brisnet Class Rating of any runners in this race. Should have a strong chance in the hands of jockey Brian Hernandez.
#4 YUUGIRI (2-1): The Rodolphe Brisset-trained filly made a big impression in her only start to date, contesting the early speed before racing away by 7 1/4 lengths in a six-furlong Churchill Downs contest Sept. 17. Has the highest Brisnet Speed rating in this field. Whether she is as effective at 1 1/16 miles will be the biggest question for rider Tyler Gaffalione.
#5 DRESSED (5-2): The only dual winner in the race. Second on debut on the Arlington turf over five furlongs, the More Than Ready filly easily won on the Arlington all-weather over 1 1/16 miles before returning to grass to win over 6 1/2 furlongs at Kentucky Downs Sept. 12. Finished a close fourth in Keeneland’s Jessamine S. (G2). The Wayne Catalano trainee is unraced on dirt but has the ability to figure.
Churchill Downs – Race 6
Maiden Special Weight — 1 1/16 miles (3:36 p.m. ET)
#1 CAMARADERIE (12-1): Gained ground belatedly to finish seventh in her Oct. 6 debut sprinting six furlongs at Keeneland, beaten six lengths. It wasn’t the flashiest effort, but Camaraderie did post a respectable 72 Brisnet Speed rating, and trainer Daniel Peitz wins at a 20% rate with horses transitioning from sprints to routes. Camaraderie may outrun expectations in her second start under colors.
#2 BICAMERAL (3-1): The morning line favorite is shipping in from California, where she finished second in her debut at Del Mar before coming home third in the Del Mar Debutante (G1). Dropping in class figures to make Bicameral formidable at Churchill Downs, though it’s worth noting the Del Mar Debutante unfolded in a fast early/slow late race shape favorable to Bicameral’s stretch-running tactics. There’s no guarantee she’ll receive a similarly favorable setup on Sunday.
#3 PRINCESS PAULINE (4-1):Beautifully bred daughter of Curlin out of Grade 2 winner Keen Pauline never factored in her Oct. 1 debut dashing 6 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs, finishing seventh by 8 1/4 lengths. The good news is, Princess Pauline is bred top and bottom to thrive running long and may appreciate stretching out over 1 1/16 miles on Sunday. Keep in mind, trainer Steve Asmussen wins at a solid 22% rate with second-time starters.
#4 CUPID’S STRIKE (6-1): Kenny McPeek trainee ran deceptively well in her Oct. 15 debut at Keeneland. Breaking from the rail in a seven-furlong maiden special weight, Cupid’s Strike hopped at the start before rushing up the inside to draw within two lengths of the lead. At this juncture, Cupid’s Strike got bottled up in traffic and was shuffled back to ninth place around the turn before re-rallying down the lane to finish fifth. Since McPeek doesn’t crank his juveniles to win on debut, Cupid’s Strike may produce a winning effort with a clean trip in her second start.
#5 BLAMETHECHAMPAGNE (7-2): Consistent daughter of Candy Ride has finished fifth, second, and third in her first three starts against maiden special weight company in Kentucky. Her latest effort came over Sunday’s track and class level, and although Blamethechampagne was beaten 16 1/4 lengths, the quality of competition was tough and her third-place finish produced a 74 Brisnet Speed rating. Blamethechampagne might not have as much room for upside as some of her rivals, but she’s a must-use for exotic wagers.
#6 DUNVEGAN DOLL (10-1): The second Kenny McPeek trainee rallied mildly to finish sixth in her debut sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland 10 days ago. Wheeling back on short rest and stretching out over 1 1/16 miles are question marks for the daughter of Liam’s Map, though the 74 Brisnet Speed rating generated by her debut is competitive. A step forward in her second run under colors can place Dunvegan Doll in the hunt for a top-four finish.
#7 LATE NIGHT LADY (15-1): Sent off at 10-1 in her debut racing one mile at Churchill Downs, Late Night Lady raced near the back of the pack throughout and finished seventh by a wide margin. The good news is, trainer Rusty Arnold wins at a solid 18% rate with second-time starters, higher than his 6% success rate with debut runners since 2018. But the fact Late Night Lady has already run long suggests she has less upside for improvement than some of her Sunday rivals.
#8 SECRET OATH (4-1): Squaring off against Late Night Lady in the above-mentioned one-mile maiden heat at Churchill, Secret Oath fared considerably better. Despite getting shuffled back around the turn, Secret Oath re-rallied down the homestretch to finish third behind runaway winner Sandstone. The 77 Brisnet Speed rating she received is the second-highest figure in Sunday’s field, and Secret Oath has come back to post three sharp workouts, indicating she’s a key contender for victory.
#9 DREAMWORKER (20-1): The only unraced youngster in Sunday’s field, Dreamworker has put together a lengthy work tab for trainer Joe Sharp. But most of Dreamworker’s morning breezes have been on the slow side, and Sharp has gone 0-for-22 debuting horses over one mile or farther during the past three years, suggesting Dreamworker may need to get a race under her belt before finding her best form.
Churchill Downs – Race 7
Maiden Special Weight — 7 Furlongs (4:06 p.m. ET)
#1 SEAL BEACH (5-2): Although Seal Beach is 0-for-4 so far, it’s hard to knock his overall form. After cracking the trifecta in his first three starts sprinting (earning improving Brisnet Speed ratings of 72, 80, and 89), Seal Beach stepped up in class for the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Futurity (G1), where he ran 10th as a longshot. Dropping back down in class and distance on Sunday should trigger a competitive performance under hot jockey Tyler Gaffalione.
#2 BICKELL (12-1): From a pedigree perspective, Bickell has the appearance of long-winded, late-maturing type. Sire Bayern won the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), while dam Grat was a stakes-winning turf router whose best foal to date—Old Time Hockey—won the 1 1/16-mile La Jolla H. (G2) on grass. Taking all of these clues together, Bickell seems unlikely to fire his best shot sprinting on dirt as a juvenile, though this unraced youngster may have long-term potential.
#3 MIDNIGHT RAID (20-1): Failed to challenge in his debut racing one mile over the Presque Isle Downs Tapeta track last month, trailing throughout while beaten 23 3/4 lengths. Perhaps switching to dirt will trigger a turnaround (sire Brody’s Cause won the Breeders’ Futurity as a juvenile), but on paper, Midnight Raid looks like a longshot.
#4 UNPREDICTABLE BAY (3-1): Never out of the trifecta in five starts, Unpredictable Bay started his career on Polytrack and turf before switching to dirt for a one-mile maiden heat at Churchill Downs. Overlooked at 10-1, the son of Cairo Prince dashed to the front through fast fractions of :22.39, :44.82, and 1:09.13 before settling for second place behind a deep-closing winner. If Unpredictable Bay sets a more relaxed pace while cutting back to seven furlongs, he may just sprint to the winner’s circle.
#5 A C’S ANALYZER (15-1): Trainer Scott Gelner wins at a respectable 13% rate with first-time starters, suggesting A C’s Analyzer has the potential to fire a promising shot on debut. But the bay colt brings a relatively light work tab to the mix, so a spot in the superfecta might be the ceiling for his potential.
#6 ETHEREAL ROAD (20-1): From a pedigree perspective, Ethereal Road has the potential to win from an early age. His lone sibling to race so far is Turned Aside, who won multiple races as a juvenile before developing into a stakes winner. But Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has saddled only one winning first-time starter since 2016, so Ethereal Road may need to get a race under his belt before finding his best stride.
#7 WOLFE COUNTY (15-1): After finishing last in his debut racing one mile at Churchill Downs, Wolfe County will drop blinkers and cut back from a route to a sprint. But while the latter move is successful 20% of the time for trainer Brendan Walsh, Wolfe County will need a meaningful turnaround to challenge for a top-four finish.
#8 GENERAL STRIKE (3-1): General Strike never really challenged in his debut at Saratoga, finishing sixth after a troubled break and a wide trip. But the Steve Asmussen trainee took a big step forward in a seven-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill Downs last month, finishing second by half a length after pressing quick fractions. This effort produced a strong 87 Brisnet Speed rating, and a repeat should place General Strike in the hunt for victory.
#9 KINISON (12-1): Fast workouts have been commonplace for Kinison, who has been training swiftly at Gulfstream Park for several months. He was particularly speedy on Oct. 2, breezing a bullet half mile in :46 4/5. Trainer Armando De La Cerda wins at a 14% rate with debuting runners, and sire Distorted Humor is responsible for 15% winners from first-time starters, so Kinison has the work tab, connections, and pedigree to outrun his odds on Sunday.
#10 CYCLONE (12-1): Son of long-winded grass star Point of Entry ran reasonably well in his debut at Churchill Downs last month, rallying after a slow start to finish third by nine lengths. The 75 Brisnet Speed rating Cyclone posted is modest, but he’s since been gelded and enters off some encouraging workouts. Stretching out over seven furlongs shouldn’t be problematic, but it’s unclear whether he’ll encounter enough pace to enhance his rally.
#11 SOUTHERN SENSE (30-1): In four starts to date, including a trio of maiden special weight sprints on dirt, Southern Sense has failed to crack the trifecta. The son of Street Sense has been turning in fast workouts at Churchill Downs, including a bullet half mile in :47 flat on Thursday, but his career-best 74 Brisnet Speed rating looks a bit light.
#12 B SUDD (12-1): Dallas Stewart trainee produced a solid effort in his Oct. 9 debut dashing six furlongs at Keeneland, dueling for the lead before weakening in the final furlong to finish third by three lengths. The result was a respectable 84 Brisnet Speed rating, so if B Sudd improves in his second start, a spot in the superfecta isn’t out of reach. The challenge will be avoiding a wide trip from his outside post—B Sudd may have to sprint hard early to clear the pack.
#13 CYBERKNIFE (8-5): The morning line favorite is marooned on the also-eligible list and will need a scratch in order to compete. On the bright side, Cyberknife has already displayed the ability to win—he tracked a fast pace in his debut sprinting six furlongs at Churchill Downs and actually crossed the wire first before getting disqualified to second place for interfering with a rival. Details aside, Cyberknife stopped the clock in 1:09.64 to earn flashy 93 Brisnet Speed rating. Considering trainer Brad Cox wins at a 26% rate with second-time starters (well above his 14% win rate with debuting runners this year), Cyberknife has to be viewed as the horse to beat if he’s able to start.
Churchill Downs – Race 8
Allowance Optional Claiming –1 mile (4:36 p.m. ET)
#1 RAIN CHECK (5-1): After running unremarkably in her debut at Ellis Park, Rain Check took a big step forward in a seven-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill Downs. After settling a couple lengths behind a slow pace, Rain Check finished strongly to trounce her opposition by four lengths. The daughter of Bernardini is bred to stretch out over one mile and should have every chance to finish in the exacta.
#2 PENNY SAVER (6-5): The heavy favorite exits a deceptively good effort in the Alcibiades S. (G1) at Keeneland, where she raced wide and made a mid-race move into hot fractions before flattening out to finish seventh. Penny Saver had previously obliterated a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Churchill Downs by 9 1/2 lengths, earning a 93 Brisnet Speed rating that tops Sunday’s field. A return to this level of form will make Penny Saver difficult (or impossible?) to defeat.
#3 TAYLOR’S SECRET (20-1): A debut winner sprinting 4 1/2 furlongs at Prairie Meadows, Taylor’s Secret has faltered in two starts against tougher company, running eighth in the Prairie Gold Lassie S. and 11th in an allowance optional claimer over the Kentucky Downs turf course. Facing tougher competition in her route debut looks like a challenging task for Taylor’s Secret.
#4 RING ME DARLING (5-1): The form lines of Ring Me Darling paint an interesting picture. The daughter of Dialed In is 2-for-2 sprinting against maiden and claiming company on dirt, but 0-for-1 against stakes company running long on turf, finishing a distant fifth in the one-mile Juvenile Fillies S. at Kentucky Downs. Is dirt the key to her success? Or is it sprinting, or competing against easier competition? Ring Me Darling is a tough filly to analyze, so she may have to be included in exotic wagers.
#5 FEELING HAPPY (4-1): Daughter of champion sprinter Runhappy displayed tenacity when debuting in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill Downs last month, rallying gamely up the inside to win by a neck. The 82 Brisnet Speed rating she posted is solid, and her pedigree actually holds promise for stretching out in distance. If Feeling Happy improves in her second run under colors, a top-three finish is within reach.
#6 MYSTIQUE SABOTEUR (15-1): After breaking her maiden at Indiana Grand by 2 3/4 lengths, Mystique Saboteur endeavored to step up in class for an $80,000 allowance optional claimer at Churchill Downs. However, the daughter of Gun Runner failed to fire her best shot, racing near the back of the pack throughout to finish seventh. With a career-best 72 Brisnet Speed rating, Mystique Saboteur will need improvement to factor on Sunday.
#7 ZING (4-1): It’s hard to knock anything Zing has accomplished to date. In her debut racing one mile at Indiana Grand, Zing overcame some trouble to rally and finish second behind next-out allowance winner All Luck. Then in a one-mile and 70-yard maiden heat over the same track, Zing led all the way to score by five lengths with an 81 Brisnet Speed rating. Hot jockey Tyler Gaffalione takes over the mount on Sunday, stamping Zing as a logical exotics contender.
Churchill Downs – Race 9
Allowance Optional Claiming — 1 mile (5:06 p.m. ET)
#1 BEST OF CUPID: Calhoun pupil was a debut victor in Puerto Rico and faces winners second time out as the wildcard in the cast. $100,000 juvenile purchase has trained forward locally for a conditioner who is solid stretching one out. Reylu Gutierrez has the assignment.
#2 DR. PERRY: Expensive Into Mischief colt showed marked improvement in his second assignment when dominating maiden foes on the course last time out. Asmussen trainee displayed good early foot in his most recent outing, and the gray colt figures to be prominent from the start in this spot. Julien Leparoux will be in the silks.
#3 HOIST THE GOLD: Morning-line choice has improved with each career race to date for conditioner Dallas Stewart. Mineshaft homebred has posted two strong half-mile drills on the oval in preparation of his debut with winners, and the dark bay looms large with another step in the right direction on Sunday under Gaffalione.
#4 MR. BOUMA: Candy Ride colt graduated at Ellis Park prior to finishing unplaced in the recent Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. Speedy sort is kin to a stakes winner, and he can’t be dismissed on the class drop while being in the hunt from the opening bell. Brian Hernandez will guide the interesting longshot.
#5 TEXAS RED HOT: Bay colt by young sire Texas Red has been consistent from a trio of lifetime outings for Randy Morse. Top-three contender finished second best on debut on the oval in his lone local appearance, and he comes in with some fine local drills, as well. Talamo retains the mount.
#6 BONUS APPRECIATION: Second from the Asmussen shedrow moves from the turf in hopes of finding his best form. Klimt colt seems hard to endorse in his second run with blinkers added.
#7 LEGENDARY LORE: Win contender from the Morey barn made good in his second lifetime try when lighting up the tote board at 36-1 odds here. The $210,000 son of Practical Joke showed both tactical speed and a nice closing kick in that tally, and he could be the value of the field from a good post slot. Rafael Bejarano will retain the mount.
#8 BLUE KENTUCKY: Gelded son of Include finished fourth in a swiftly run allowance tilt on the oval in his first with winners. The April foal has flashed good early pace in each of his tries to date, and he figures to be in the hunt from the break in this tilt.
#9 SILENT POWER: Outsider from the Geiner barn was outrun at Prairie Meadows most recently and faces a tall task in his route debut on Sunday. Strong Mandate colt is a closing type who likes to run from off the pace, but he will need a lifetime best to factor in this field.
#10 PLAY ACTION PASS: Gray son of Cairo Prince has flashed considerable ability on the green and will hope to transfer his form to the dirt from the outside slot. The $150,000 yearling purchase faced a strong cast when fourth while sprinting at Churchill Downs in his initial offering, and he is an exotics contender if he takes to the surface. Corey Lanerie will be in the stirrups.
Churchill Downs – Race 10
Street Sense S. — 1 1/16 miles (5:36 p.m. ET)
#1 GUNTOWN (8-1): A $750,000 yearling purchase, Guntown backed up from a debut third to win start number two at Ellis Park. Trainer Steve Asmussen then sent the Gun Runner colt to Churchill Downs for the Iroquois S. (G3), where he finished sixth, four lengths from the winner. Best prospects for jockey Ricardo Santana will be with a fast start.
#2 LUNI SIMA (20-1): Well behind race rivals Lucky Boss and Kiss The Sky when fifth on debut, Luni Sima then finished third behind Keepcalmcarryon in a Saratoga maiden. The Jack Sisterton trainee then faced easier opposition at Indiana Grand, recording his first victory. Jockey Adam Beschizza will need to see improvement for Luni Sima to figure.
#3 SKIPPYLONGSTOCKING (6-1): Trainer Saffie Joseph’s Exaggerator colt has raced only at Gulfstream Park, finishing fourth on debut and second at his next start before a 10 1/2-length victory over a mile, earning him the highest Brisnet Class rating in this field by some distance. Unknown outside Florida but intriguing and has Tyler Gaffalione’s services.
#4 RED DANGER (7-2): Unsighted on debut on dirt, the Orb colt won when switched to turf at Saratoga on his second start by trainer Brian Lynch. Won the Listed Global Tote Juvenile S. at Kentucky Downs over 6 1/2 furlongs next out before finishing fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Bourbon S. (G2) at Keeneland. Still unproven on dirt. Julien Leparoux rides for the first time.
#5 KISS THE SKY (3-1): Consistent performer for trainer Mike Maker. Second on debut at Ellis Park behind race rival Lucky Boss, the Twirling Candy colt rallied for a nice maiden victory on the Saratoga turf before finishing second in the Juvenile Mile S. on Kentucky Downs grass to Bourbon S. (G2) winner Tiz the Bomb. First dirt run since debut. Corey Lanerie has the reins.
#6 HOWLING TIME (5-1): The Not This Time colt’s only start came over six furlongs on the Churchill Downs dirt, where he rallied for a stylish victory over six furlongs Sept. 25, earning the highest Brisnet Speed rating in this race. Trainer Dale Romans steps him up to 1 1/16 miles for this. Joseph Talamo has the mount.
#7 LUCKY BOSS (6-1): Fourth on debut, the Ken McPeek trainee then won at Ellis Park, beating race rivals Kiss the Sky and Luni Sima. Second in the Ellis Park Juvenile S. at his next start, Lucky Boss then finished a middling eighth of 14 in the Bourbon S. (G2). May not start given he raced at Keeneland Oct. 29, finishing fifth. Brian Hernandez is scheduled to ride.
#8 SPORT PEPPER (15-1): The Classic Empire gelding had his first five starts at Arlington, finally securing his first victory when switching from the all-weather track to the turf for his fifth start for trainer Kerry Zavash. Backed that up with a success at 24.7-1 on his dirt debut at Keeneland Oct. 9. Florent Geroux takes the reins for the first time. Not the worst.
#9 RED KNOBS (5-1): The Dale Romans trainee made up ground late on debut to finish sixth on the Ellis Park turf prior to scoring easily on the dirt at the same venue on his next start. Then took third at large odds behind Major General in the Iroquois S. (G3). James Graham retains the mount on the Union Rags colt. Has solid claims.
Churchill Downs – Race 11
Maiden Special Weight — 6 furlongs (6:06 p.m. ET)
#1 TURN UP DA JUKEBOX: First timer from low-percentage debut conditioner Peitz gets a tricky draw inside in a big field. Midshipman filly has a trio of winning siblings from five to race and shows a few solid morning moves, but watching one makes sense before backing her.
#2 BIRD EMPRESS: Well-bred Empire Maker filly has missed just one work since August and should be mostly fit for her debut endeavor in this affair. Norm Casse charge is bred more for distance, but if she takes early money, then I would consider the dark bay to be a contender at a price. Talamo has the call.
#3 BEAUTIFUL EMPIRE: Expensive daughter of young sire Classic Empire displayed early foot before being outrun late in her first offering on the oval. The April foal has trained well in the interim, and she will be forcing the tempo from the start once again with Leparoux back in the irons.
#4 PROMISES TO DANCE: Homebred by Broken Vow will make her first appearance for the always dangerous Brad Cox. The chestnut filly has flashed speed in advance of her initial offering, and she could be any kind with go-to pilot Geroux taking the reins.
#5 OLD PHO: American Pharoah filly missed by a head on the move to the dirt in her second outing, and the $210,000 yearling buy looms large with even slight improvement in here. Speedy youngster races for a barn off to a flying start at the meeting, and she is a top-three must use with Colby Hernandez back in the silks.
#6 MARISSA’S LADY: Half-sister to millionaire turf sprinter Richard’s Boy will make her debut for 16% first-out sire Violence in this affair. Morey pupil is training steadily and hails from a barn at a fine 24% with debuting types. The gray could be lively at a square number beneath Bejarano.
#7 AIN’T BROKE: Daughter of capable sire Dialed In has a trio of winning siblings from as many to have raced and is working like a horse who could be dangerous on debut. Bret Calhoun charge is cut out to ultimately run longer, but she races for a heady outfit that is always one to consider in maiden dashes. Reylu Gutierrez will be up.
#8 LISCOLVIN: Speightstown lass is a half-sister to 2015 Debutante S. vixen Cosmic Evolution and has the look of a live longshot for Romans. The $120,000 yearling purchase posted a solid half-mile gate work on the oval in her most recent morning move, and if she is live in the early wagering, then she rates as a top-three contender with Hernandez taking the reins.
#9 ECLIPSED: Second timer from the Desormeaux shedrow rallied to be second behind a fine winner on this surface first-time out and makes a lot of sense with expected improvement in this heat. Daughter of Exaggerator is a full-brother who finished second as a two-year-old, so the pedigree suggests that this one will have precocity. James Graham rides for a capable juvenile outfit.
#10 AQUILA MOON: Bay filly by Malibu Moon is the first out of an unraced dam and makes her first afternoon appearance on this occasion. Dallas Stewart trainee is bred to be a later-developing type, but the works are solid, and this barn has been much better first time out in recent times, as well. Gaffalione riding adds to the appeal.
#11 LA NEBLINA: Longshot daughter of Tonalist shows little on the worktab and is bred to be a distance runner for Humphries. Bargain yearling purchase would be a surprise in a deep contest.
#12 FIREWOLVES: Practical Joke first timer gets a tough draw outside but is training like a filly who is ready to roll for fine debut conditioner Brad Cox. The April foal is by a dynamic 37% debut sire, and she runs to her morning activity, then the April foal will be prominent from the start. Martin Garcia has the assignment.
AE #13 ELLE OF THE BALL: First on the also-eligible is bred top and bottom to be a dangerous player in her first run for Joe Sharp. Dark bay Kentucky-bred has one winning sibling from two to have run, but she will have to be on point to overcome the tough post draw against this cast. Watch the tote board for more clues.
AE #14 PARLANCE: Second timer from the Asmussen shedrow displayed big early speed before being left behind late in a deep maiden contest on debut. Daughter of Maclean’s Music is the first foal out of a winning dam, and she is eligible to make major improvement after being well-backed in her initial performance. January foal will force the wide while widest of all.