Churchill Down Stakes Preview

Horse Racing Radar
Frisco Bash
Frisco Bash is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Thursday, May 27, 2021

The $150K Audobon Stakes — 1 1/8 miles, Turf, Three-year-olds. Post Time is 2:45 PM ET.

LIKE THE KING for trainer Wesley Ward switches back to turf after his 12th place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). The son of PALACE MALICE broke his maiden on the grass by almost eight lengths and he'll be dropping in class with Chris Landeros aboard for the first time. Late-running PALAZZI will break from the rail for trainer Mark Casse and be piloted by Tyler Gaffalione. He's a $510k son of PIONEER OF THE NILE and is also dropping in class. He gets an extra half furlong more than what he's used to, which could enhance his closing kick. HADDASSAH makes the trip from Woodbine for trainer Kevin Attard. He impressed with his maiden victory last time out at odds of $1.95 to win, but is stepping up to stiffer, more experienced competition here. He'll have to overcome a six month layoff, but he's been training sharply for this race.

The $150K Blame Stakes — 1 1/8 miles, Dirt, Four-year-olds and upward. Post Time is 3:18 PM ET.

NIGHT OPS for trainer Brad Cox will break from the three-hole. He was the beaten favorite last time out in the Ben Ali Stakes (G3). The son of WARRIOR'S REWARD gets his chance to turn the tables on SILVER DUST. SILVER DUST looks tough as he tries to make it two wins in a row for trainer Bret Calhoun. The son of TAPIT has Adam Beschizza back on board. SPRAWL is an interesting player for trainer Thomas Drury Jr. — he finished fourth in the Ben Ali Stakes but then came back with a smashing gate-to-wire performance in an Optional Claiming 62K race over this Churchill Downs surface. He won by almost eight lengths and achieved his highest speed figure to date. 

The $150K Shawnee Stakes — 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, Fillies and Mares, Four-year-olds and upward. Post Time is 3:50 PM ET.

ENVOUTANTE for trainer Kenneth McPeek will try to get back to her winning ways. She ended her 2020 season with two graded stakes wins in a row, but is winless in her first two starts this year. To her credit, she touts a solid record at Churchill Downs: 2 wins and 1 second from 3 tries. Grade 1 winner PARIS LIGHTS will try to benefit from a drop in class as she makes third start off a layoff for trainer Bill Mott. The CURLIN filly has two wins from three tries at this Churchill Downs surface. Trainer Steve Asmussen sends out LA RENOLETA, who makes her third start since arriving in the U.S. and has jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. onboard.

The $150K Regret Stakes (G3) — 1 1/8 miles, Turf, Fillies, Three-years-old. Post Time is 4:22 PM ET.

SPANISH LOVEAFFAIR did not have the smoothest of trips last time out for trainer Mark Casse. She drops a level, gets Tyler Gaffalione in the saddle, and seeks her first win in her Churchill Downs debut. FLOWN will break from the eighth-slot for trainer Brenden Walsh. She earned her highest speed figure last time out finishing second by a neck in an Allowance race at this Churchill Downs track. Ricardo Santana Jr. gets the call. SARANYA looks tough from the outside post for trainer Brad Cox. The $320k daughter of THE FACTOR owns a second-place finish over this exact trip. Note she fired a 4F bullet work on May 23rd going 4F in 48.2 as the fastest of 10 works at that distance. Florent Geroux is back in the saddle. 

The $150K Matt Winn Stakes (G3) — 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, Three-year-olds. Post Time is 4:55 PM ET.

HELIUM for trainer Mark Casse will break from the two-hole. The IRONICUS colt had a decent trip in the Kentucky Derby (G1) but was overmatched and finished eighth. He's relieved of the tougher fellows of his division. This will be his second start off a layoff and Julien Leparoux will be back on the saddle. Late-running O BESOS looks tough from the third slot for trainer Greg Foley. The son of ORB finished a respectable 5th in the Kentucky Derby and earned his top speed figure for the effort. Regular rider Marcelino Pedroza is back in the irons. FULSOME will step up in class and go for his third consecutive victory for trainer Brad Cox. The son of INTO MISCHIEF was last seen winning the Oaklawn Stakes where he achieved his top speed figure. He'll be piloted by Florent Geroux for the first time. 

The $150K Aristides Stakes — 6 furlongs, Dirt, Post Time is 5:26 PM ET.

The speedy EMPIRE OF GOLD steps up in class for trainer Terry Eoff. The son of GOLDENCENTS will make his Churchill Downs debut, having finished in the money 4 out of 6 times when going six furlongs. TAP IT TO WIN for trainer Mark Casse was the beaten favorite last time out in the Churchill Downs Stakes (G1). He's reunited with Tyler Gaffalione and will try to benefit from the drop in class. MOJO MAN for trainer James DiVito will break from the eight-slot and is also dropping in class. He was last seen finishing fifth against a tough field in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3). The son of STAY THIRSTY has finished in the money at Churchill Downs in 5 of 7 tries.

The $110 Douglas Park Overnight Stakes — 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Post Time is 5:58 PM ET.

SET PIECE for trainer Brad Cox looms large in this field. The son of DANSILI comes off a solid win in the Opening Verse Stakes last time out, where he earned a new top speed figure. He's 2 for 3 over this Churchill Downs turf and has regular rider Florent Geroux back in irons. GRAY'S FABLE for trainer Roger Attfield figures to be one of the speedsters in the race. He'll break from the outside post with new jockey James Graham in the irons. The son of GIO PONTI was reeled in by SET PIECE last time out but could perform better this time around. Note his pair of sharp workouts going into this race. ANOTHER MYSTERY for trainer Chris M. Block makes his first start at Churchill Downs and will break from post position two with Tyler Gaffalione aboard for the first time. The son of TEMPLE CITY makes his seasonal debut but could do quite well here; he has been competing at Grade 2 level in his last three starts.

Source: Equibase

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