In addition to the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs’ Saturday program is chock-full of stakes races and solid wagering opportunities. We’ve narrowed things down to our two best bets on the undercard.
Churchill Race 8 (Post time: 2:55 p.m. ET)
The Grade II, $500,000 American Turf Stakes
1 1/16th-miles on turf
#5 SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT (8-5, morning-line favorite) has won two straight stakes, including the Grade III La Jolla at Del Mar in much-the-best fashion last time out. Two-back he was a winner at Churchill in the War Chant Stakes. The speed figures stamp SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT as the obvious horse to beat in the Grade II American Turf under John Velazquez.
#4 FIELD PASS (2-1) makes sense for second here. He’s 4-for-6 in 2020, with a stakes victory over this course back in June. FIELD PASS misfired in the Saratoga Derby last time out but cuts back on Saturday. Tyler Gaffalione has the call.
#8 FANCY LIQUOR (9-2) has never missed the board in five lifetime starts. His most recent effort was a stakes victory at Indiana Grand. Florent Geroux rides.
The play: $5 exacta 5/4,8 ($10)
Churchill Race 9 (Post time: 3:35 p.m. ET)
The Grade II, $500,000 Pat Day Mile Stakes
One mile on dirt
#9 RUSHIE (4-1) bypassed the Kentucky Derby for this softer spot in the Grade II Pat Day Mile. His third-place finishes in the Santa Anita Derby and Blue Grass Stakes suggest he’s the class of the field. RUSHIE’s late kick could be sharpened by the cutback too. He’ll have Javier Castellano in the irons.
The play: $10 win 9
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