The Road to the Kentucky Derby resumes this Saturday with Churchill’s Grade III, $150,000 Matt Winn Stakes. The 1 1/16th-mile heat, which lured 12 runners, is worth 85 points (50-20-10-5) toward Sept. 5’s “Run for the Roses.” The Matt Winn goes as Race 10 of 11 on the day, and post time is 5:44 p.m. ET.
#1 MYSTIC GUIDE (15-1) and #2 PNEUMATIC (4-1) are a couple of intriguing class-risers in the Matt Winn. The latter gets the tepid nod.
PNEUMATIC is 2-for-2 lifetime as he stretched out successfully in his first start against winners at Oaklawn last time out. He flashes a bullet work for this and retains Ricardo Santana Jr., who rides for Steve Asmussen. PNEUMATIC’s speed figures are competitive enough to justify a wager.
MYSTIC GUIDE steps up in here off a runaway maiden score at the Fair Grounds. He could have more to offer in his third career start. Brian Hernandez Jr. rides once more for Michael Stidham.
#10 MAXFIELD (5-2, morning-line favorite) looks like the one to beat based on his Breeders’ Futurity romp last year, but he has some questions to answer at a potentially short price in the Matt Winn under Jose Ortiz.
After missing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile due to injury and being brought back at a deliberate pace by trainer Brendan Walsh, there’s no guarantee MAXFIELD will take another step forward in his three-year-old debut despite some bullet works on the tab. He also has a tendency to get out of the gate slowly, which could inhibit him on Saturday, especially if the early tempo is as slow as expected.
The play: $3 exacta box 1/2/10, $4 win 2, $2 win 1 ($24)
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