There are stakes races galore in the run-up to the 145th Kentucky Derby, which is scheduled as Race 12 of 14 on Saturday at Churchill Downs. We’ll discuss a pair of them below.
Churchill Race 8 (Post time: 2:45 p.m. Eastern)
The Grade I, $500,000 Churchill Downs Stakes
Seven furlongs on dirt
#8 MITOLE (7-2, morning-line favorite) was last seen romping in Oaklawn’s Count Fleet Sprint Handicap over WHITMORE. He’s rapidly becoming a star in the sprint division, having won five straight starts. Ricardo Santana Jr. rides MITOLE, who’s the fastest horse on paper and looks hard to play against in the Churchill Downs.
#12 WHITMORE (4-1) was no match for MITOLE in the Count Fleet last time out, but the classy son of Pleasantly Perfect has a case for a share in the Churchill Downs. He’s hit the exacta in six straight starts, including a victory in the Grade I Forego at Saratoga. Javier Castellano will try to work out a clean trip for WHITMORE from off the pace.
#1 DO SHARE (10-1) took Aqueduct’s Grade III Tom Fool last time out. He seems to have rediscovered his 2017 form, as 2018 was a lost 0-for-3 campaign due to injury. DO SHARE won seven times in 2017, so he has heart to spare. Irad Ortiz Jr. will be in the irons.
#4 BOBBY’S WICKED ONE (10-1) will take these as far as he can. He got brave on the engine in the Commonwealth Stakes when last seen, running his win streak to three. Miguel Mena will be aboard.
The play: $2 trifecta 8/1,4,12/1,4,12 ($12)
Churchill Race 11 (Post time: 5:25 p.m. Eastern)
The Grade I, $1 million Old Forester Turf Classic
1 1/8 miles on turf
#12 BRICKS AND MORTAR (5-2, morning-line favorite) has turned heads in 2019, winning the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational as well as the Muniz Memorial Handicap to vault to the top of many a power ranking in the turf division. The five-year-old Chad Brown trainee has blossomed since his three-year-old season, where he won a pair of graded stakes as well. Irad Ortiz Jr. will have to ensure that BRICKS AND MORTAR doesn’t sacrifice too much ground from this outside post. If he gets a favorable trip, BRICKS AND MORTAR will be tough to top in the Old Forester Turf Classic.
#7 PRIME ATTRACTION (10-1) makes an interesting move back to the lawn here. He’s 5-1-1-1 on the surface all-time, most recently finishing a close third in the 2018 Eddie Read. Tyler Baze should have PRIME ATTRACTION on or close to a modest pace, which gives him a tactical edge.
#1 QURBAAN (8-1) and #2 RAGING BULL (5-1) will be rolling late. The former has hit the board in five straight efforts, all stakes, and has Mike Smith aboard. The latter should improve in his second start off the bench as a four-year-old under Joel Rosario. RAGING BULL was a three-time stakes winner in 2018.
The play: $4 exacta 12/7, $2 exacta 12/1,2, $2 win 7 ($10)
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