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Churchill Downs Thursday Stakes Preview

Horse Racing Radar
Frisco Bash
Wednesday, April 28, 2021

It's officially Kentucky Derby week, ladies and gentlemen. The stakes action begins as early as Thursday, April 29th, with a first Post Time of 12:45 PM ET.


We have an eleven-race card in store, headed by two stakes races: the $130K Opening Verse Overnight Stakes and the $150K Unbridled Sidney Stakes. Let's take a closer look:


The $130K Opening Verse Overnight Stakes — 1 mile, Turf, Four-year-olds and upward, Post Time is 4:37 PM ET.


The Joe Sharp-trained LOGICAL MYTH is the morning line favorite at 3-1. The last time we saw him was in the Muniz Memorial Classic Stakes (G2), where he finished third to the talented COLONEL LIAM. LOGICAL MYTH gets considerable class relief here, and it is encouraging that he's finished in the money in all of his last eight races. He's at the top of his game, averaging an Equibase Speed Figure (ESF) of 108.5 over his last four starts. Last year's Opening Verse Stakes required an ESF of 108 from the winner, so he's competitively in this mix. He is still searching for his first win at Churchill out of four tries so far.


SAYYAAF from the second-post is the 4-1 second-choice. He's trained by Michael Maker and to be piloted by Javier Castellano. Interesting how SAYYAAF had been sprinting for the larger portion of his career. They stretched him out to eight and nine furlongs. and he responded with two consecutive wins, both of them in gate to wire fashion. Last time out, he posted his highest speed figure of his career. 


SNAPPER SINCLAIR is the third choice at 9-2. Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., he was last seen running in Dubai's Godolphin Mile (G2), where he finished a respectable fourth to SECRET AMBITION. A big plus sign is he's got a win over this Churchill Downs surface, dating back to June of 2019 where he earned an ESF of 110 against Allowance Optional Claiming company. If he can at least duplicate that effort, he'll be tough here.


Rounding out the field are: GRAY'S FABLE, SUGOI, SET PIECE, EPIC DREAMER, CAPTIVATING MOON, and SPECTACULAR GEM. 


The $150K Unbridled Sidney Stakes — 5 1/2 furlongs, Turf, Fillies and Mares, Three-year-olds and upward. Post Time is 5:45 PM ET.


The morning line favorite is OLEKSANDRA from the fourth-slot. The 7-year-old Mare is trained by Neil Drysdale and will be piloted by Joel Rosario. The last time we saw her was in the Wishing Well Stakes at Santa Anita, where she finished a fast-closing second. She ran well considering it was her first, "real" race in over three months. We can hardly call her Las Cienegas Stakes (G3) an true effort since she unseated her rider during the race.


Let's not forget, only two starts back OLEKSANDRA was the fourth favorite to win the Breeder's Cup Turf Sprint (G1) — out of fourteen competitors! She looks to relish from a drop in company, in what will be her first start at Churchill Downs.


INTO MYSTIC from the one-hole is the 4-1 second choice for trainer Brendan Wash. She's a hard-knocking Mare, having finished second in three of her last four races. Her gutsy runner-up finish to GOT STORMY back in November emphasizes her competitiveness here. She's a quick filly who loves to be up and on the pace, so it's likely she'll be gunned for the lead from her inside post by Florent Geroux.


CHANGE OF CONTROL from the two-hole is also at 4-1 odds for trainer Michelle Lovell. She was last seen beating the above, INTO MYSTIC, in the Giant's Causeway Stakes at Keeneland, running her down with a furious rally in deep stretch for the victory. Note that CHANGE OF CONTROL has run six times at Churchill Downs but when it was over the turf, she is undefeated in all three attempts.


Rounding out the field are: LADY GRACE, FOXXY BELLE, JAKARTA, WINNING ENVELOPE, SHE'SONTHEWARPATH, ELLE Z, YES ITS GINGER, A BIT OF BOTH (AE), AMBASSADOR LUNA (AE), and FASHIONABLE LADY (AE)


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