Gulfstream Predictions and Churchill Downs Picks for Friday June 12th
Friday means the return of Santa Anita. Churchill Downs has a 9 race program including a salty race for 3-year-olds (we’ll look at). Belmont has the feature, the Commentator stake where Mr Buff looks like a really short price. Let’s look at some Gulfstream and Churchill Downs action.
Gulfstream 3rd (1:02 pm Et): Luxe Diamond likes today’s distance
The Gulfstream 3rd is $6,250 claimer going 6 ½ furlongs on dirt for fillies and mares who have never won 2 races (N2L). Not sure I agree with Anothersongndance being the 2nd choice on the morning line as she has never been lower than 9-1 in any of her starts. While she cuts the price tag in half, she is meeting older horses for the initial time. On paper, she just looks slow.
Varsovia is not impossible but she probably needs an honest pace and in recent starts she has lost to Queen Kantharos, Looking for More and Luxe Diamond. All those horses are here and I don’t know how she turns the tables on all of them.
Trans Mississippi is your morning line favourite dropping to the lowest level at Gulfstream after running in an allowance race at Aqueduct 2 starts ago. Her lone win was when she was able to be part of the pace early but recently she hasn’t had much early speed. It’s hard to tell where her form is right now and I don’t want to find out at a short price even with the class drop.
Luxe Diamond (4-1 ML) is my play. She convincingly broke her maiden 3 starts ago. 2 starts ago she had a difficult post, was wide throughout in her first start against winners, a race that came back live. Last time she ran on a sloppy track for the first time and ran okay while staying on the rail throughout. She has run twice at today’s distance and finished 1st and 2nd in those races. Those 2 races represent her only win and only 2nd place finish in her 7 race career.
Churchill 7th (4:14 pm Et) Hidden Ruler can make all
The Churchill 7th is a Starter Allowance going 6 furlongs for 3 years old and up and all the morning line favourites are likely to take money because they are all coming off wins. I don’t want Heros Reward who provided a career-best effort last time when easily beating $20,000 N2L competition. This is a much tougher classification especially considering his main rivals have recently beaten horses for twice the price.
If the pace gets hot Sacred Oath can rally and he just beat Claiming $50,000 N2L competition. That was a career-best effort and I don’t want to trust him to repeat it. Also, he was claimed out of that race and is now in the McKnight barn. While McKnight is very good in the claiming game and has excellent numbers first off the claim, it’s never easy to claim a horse off trainer Diodoro. Lastly, Sacred Oath lost to The Great Dansky 2 back so if I had to take one, it’d be The Great Dansky.
The Great Dansky also just broke his N2L condition at the $40,000 level and he fits here but ‘he fits here’ doesn’t make him the morning line favourite. He is now in the Brad Cox barn and Florent Geroux will ride. That likely just means he takes more money than he should.
Hidden Ruler (6-1 ML) is the horse I want. He dropped down to the Claiming $50,000 N2L 3 starts ago to get his 2nd. After that effort, 2 starts back, Hidden Ruler was part of a hot pace where he managed to stay on well at this level. Last time Hidden Ruler once again set a strong pace where he was asked to get 6 ½ furlongs despite the fact he usually only runs 6 furlongs. The extra half furlong clearly didn’t help his chances. Hidden Ruler was also facing tougher allowance company that day. Getting back to 6 furlongs, having an easier pace scenario and being back in the starter allowance ranks can help get Hidden Ruler home.
Churchill 8th (4:46 pm Et): an Extraordinary performance
The Churchill 8th is an allowance optional claiming event going 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds. The morning line tells you everything you need to know about the competitiveness of the race as the favourites are lined at 5-1. I’m against one of those favourites in Hunt the Front as he is a deep closer who just broke his maiden and this is a tough assignment for his first start against winners.
Violent Pass may take money on the idea that he improved with the stretch out but he was part of a moderate pace and don’t think he beat much. The 2nd and 3rd place finishers are a combined 0 for 24. I understand the argument for Oxide who while he just broke his maiden, all 4 of his dirt races have come on a wet track. He could step forward in his first try on a fast track but he needs to be a price to pique my curiosity and does have to improve.
Man in the Can was excellent last time in a stake at Oaklawn. He was going a route for the first time, was facing older horses and had to contend with a fast pace and despite all this, he was able to put away the pacesetter and hold off the closers for the win. That race was however restricted to Arkansas breds and it was such a big effort that I want to see him repeat it.
Earner has been bet like a good thing in both his races and he is bred to handle longer distances. He stretched out nicely last time to break his maiden. I would include him in all exotic wagers.
The horse I want is Extraordinary (10-1 ML) who was a visually impressive maiden winner at Gulfstream 2 starts back. Last time he faced a strong allowance field which was eventually won by Casino Grande who improved to 2 for 2. He gets a good post and has tactical speed which will help him get a good early position.