Churchill Downs Thursday: Analysis and Selections

Chris Adams

This weekend’s racing at Churchill Downs kicked off on Wednesday. Racing continues Thursday with early speed holding as a significant advantage in the all dirt meet.

Early Speed at Churchill

With the turf course still closed for renovation, the all dirt meet at Churchill rolls on. While not uncommon on dirt tracks around the country, it should be noted that when looking at runners at Churchill, being forwardly placed has been a significant advantage. Players are wise to evaluate how far back their selection will be at the pace call and upgrade or downgrade accordingly.

Thursday Churchill Analysis

Churchill Downs Race 1

Post: 1:00 PM ET; Purse: $50,000 Maiden Claiming, 6 1/2 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 7

#3 WINDCRACKER is a slight favorite in the opener and has speed figures that make him tough to get by in today’s race. Furthering the case for this runner is his propensity to run strong numbers at the head of the race which is the right trip at Churchill Downs. #7 ROULETTE is co-second choice in the race and may take kindly to the relief in class he will face in this field. #6 FREER is also at 3-1 and has good stamina for the distance. The concern will be if he is close enough for that to matter. #2 AMAZING ROCKET is well bred to be successful here.

Selections: 3-7-6-2

Churchill Downs Race 2

Post: 1:30 PM ET; Purse: $54,000 Claiming, 6 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 6

#6 WELL SPENT is the co-second choice and has an edge in a number of metric categories including speed, pace, and stamina. This one looks like a prime candidate to pull the upset. #4 ESCAPE FUND drops out of tougher fields to run here and could get the run of the race sitting on or near the lead. #3 KEWPIE DOLL is a heavy favorite and has been installed at even money on the morning line. Cohen and Diodoro have to be respected in the claiming ranks, but the trip is a major concern. This seems like a beatable favorite. #1 LICHITA is another that could be forward early and will look to ride the rail to victory.

Selections: 6-4-3-1

Churchill Downs Race 3

Post: 2:00 PM ET; Purse: $42,000 Maiden Claiming, 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 8

#2 BENEDICTINESISTERS often comes from off the pace, but has early pace numbers to suggest she will be involved in the early stages of the race. #1 I'M STYLIN is at odds of 10-1 and is well bred to upset here. #5 MAKING PROGRESS boasts the best speed numbers in the group. #4 WICKED INTENT has the best class numbers if such a thing can exist in the maiden claiming races.

Selections: 2-1-5-4

Churchill Downs Race 4

Post: 2:30 PM ET; Purse: $160,000 Allowance, 5 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 5

#3 MISS SPEEDY comes into the race in great form and should be ready to run a top effort. #1 ABROGATE is proven at the distance. The concern is that the connections of Asmussen and Santana have been ice cold since Keeneland. They will need to heat up here. #5 SOMEONE SAID SO has been running against really solid horses. #2 PRODIGY DOLL comes in with the best speed figures to date.

Selections: 3-1-5-2

Churchill Downs Race 5

Post: 3:03 PM ET; Purse: $37,000 Maiden Claiming, 6 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 11

#10 PURITY enters as the favorite and looks really good on paper. The problem is these maiden claimers don’t often play out the way they should on the page. #8 DAWSON SPRINGS could be winging on the front end and that is a huge advantage in these ranks, where many of the competitors have proven they don’t like to pass rivals. If the pace gets hot #7 JOY IN THE BATTLE could have the stamina to get passed these runners in the lane. #2 SONNYNEEDSMONEY has run against some horses who have come back to run well.

Selections: 10-8-7-2

Churchill Downs Race 6

Post: 3:36 PM ET; Purse: $120,000 Maiden Special Weight, 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 7

#3 PRINCESS LEA goes out for Joe Sharp and has the best speed figures in the group. This one is a deserving favorite. #1 STREET MISSY matches up well to the favorite in terms of class and is bred to be a runner. #2 WILD EMPRESS is at odds of 10-1 and may be able to outrun the odds here. #4 TWENTYTWENTY HOAX looks to be coming in in good form and may provide a bit of value in the gimmicks.

Selections: 3-1-2-4

Churchill Downs Race 7

Post: 4:06 PM ET; Purse: $66,000 Claiming, 1 Mile on Dirt; Entries: 8

#3 AMANI'S EAGLE looks a formidable favorite here outranking these in the four cornerstones of handicapping (speed, class, form, and pace). Others looking to challenge include the #6 JAY VEE BEE and #8 MISTS OF TIME who are both distance specialists. #1 SAVOY is another that looks competitive to get up for a piece.

Selections: 3-6-8-1 (Best Bet #3)

Churchill Downs Race 8

Post: 4:36 PM ET; Purse: $127,000 Allowance, 5 1/2 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 8

#6 BEVERLY PARK has the best speed figures in this spot and will be tough to get by. #8 EDGE TO EDGE will hope to get the best of the race shape in today’s race. #5 JACK VAN BERG has proven himself at the distance. #2 ROCKSTAR RO could be in the best form out of all of these.

Selections: 6-8-5-2

Churchill Downs Race 9

Post: 5:06 PM ET; Purse: $72,000 Starter Allowance, 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 10

#1A PALACE COUP is at odds of 5-1 and is a speed and class play. The horse looks good and would be upgraded if the #1 scratches which can often be a sign that the trainer is confident in the other part of the entry. #9 HOMBRAZO will be involved early and could carry that to the wire. #4 TIZ RYE TIME goes out for Saffie Joseph Jr. and Joel Rosario which are lights out connections. Saffie has been a bit chilly outside of Florida though. #8 GIMME SOME MO is at odds of 8-1 and is usually good for a piece at this distance.

Selections: 1A-9-4-8

Betting News Handicapping Tools

Don’t forget to check out the free handicapping tools on These computer generated numbers can help players gain insights into speed, pace, class and race flow that would otherwise require hours of in depth research.

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