Horse Racing Picks for Saturday May 23, 2020

Horse Racing Picks Santa Anita

Churchill Downs leads the way with 5 stakes which include the return of Dunbar Road and a Kentucky Derby points race. There are also 2 graded stakes races at Santa Anita in what is a loaded Saturday card. Let’s take a look at which horses will make you money today.

Churchill 10th: Recency favours Pneumatic

The main event on Saturday at Churchill Downs is the Grade 3 Matt Winn going 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-olds. It is a Kentucky Derby points race all the talk coming into this race rightly surrounds Maxfield who is a perfect 2 for 2 including a Grade 1 win. All that however happened as a 2-year-old where he got great setups in both his races and now he is coming off an injury.

We haven’t seen him in 7 months and this being a graded stake, it is hardly what I would call an easy spot off a long layoff. With Maxfield likely going off as the favourite and the fact he has to answer questions that he is still the same horse post Injury and layoff, think it’s worth trying to beat him.

Major Fed is one possibility as he didn’t break well in the Louisiana Derby and had to rally into a pace-less event. I prefer him to Ny Traffic who finished 2nd in that race as Ny Traffic sat 2nd throughout and finished 2nd behind pace setter Wells Bayou. A more contested pace can help major Fed but my lone concern with him is post 12.

Pneumatic has done nothing wrong in either of his 2 starts and is my play. His debut was stellar beating Skol Factor who immediately came back to win. He then stretched out successfully dominating an allowance event. Both those races came back fast and he has been running, unlike Maxfield. Pneumatic also gets a ground-saving post 2 whereas his main competition, including Maxfield (post 10) is stuck with outside posts.

Churchill 11th: Pace likely to be contested

The Churchill 11th is the War Chant going a mile on turf for 3-year-olds where we could see an honest pace. Stretch out Liam’s Pride can show speed, Smooth Like Strait who has won both his races on the front end and Vanzzy who does his best work on the front end can ensure an honest pace. As can Hieronymus who set a ridiculously slow pace in his last and has won 4 of 5 all on the front end.

I mention all this because the horse I’m most interested in is Bodecream. Bodecream is a closer who has won 2 of his 4 turf races and finished behind Hieronymus in the other two. Both races he lost to Hieronymus, Hieronymus got an easy lead, something I seriously doubt he gets here. There is also the potential for weather at Churchill Saturday and if there is moisture on the turf, it doesn’t hurt Bodecream who has a 2nd place finish on yielding turf and a win in a stake on a turf course listed as good.

Other closers to consider are South Bend but he has yet won on turf. Bama Breeze may be talented but he is coming off a long layoff and lacks seasoning though at big prices they may be worth including. I liked the last race from Street Ready but this race is tougher and he once again has a difficult post.

Santa Anita 5th: Pace scenario favours Cistron

Horse Racing Picks Santa Anita

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The Santa Anita 5th is a Grade 3 Daytona at Santa Anita going 5 ½ Furlongs on turf. There are 3 horses that sportsbooks are going to take money on. Stubbins has done his best work when coming from well off the pace, a running style I’m not convinced will help him here. Wildman Jack also figures to take money and he clearly has talent. He is, however, making his first start since running in Dubai and the slightly over 2 month layoff represents the longest in his career. Also, how does he put pressure on Cistron and hold off Stubbins?

On paper, Cistron looks like the controlling speed to me, something that the Timeform and Brisnet pace ratings agree with, and he is my play. Cistron may remain a fair price considering he never seems to be over bet. He has won 3 of his last 5 all in graded stakes company yet despite those excellent results, he has not been lower than 4-1 in any of those races. While Cistron is coming off a similar layoff to Wildman Jack, Cistron has proven he can run well fresh as he did win his last off an 8-month layoff whereas Wildman Jack still has to prove he can run well fresh.