Churchill Downs Analysis and Selections for Thursday 9/23/21

Chris Adams

Thursday will mark another edition of Churchill Downs’ twilight racing. For many Thursday is the official kickoff of the racing weekend. Churchill Downs is set for an 8 race card on Thursday.

Busy Weekend Ahead

This weekend has many important stakes races coming up. Several tracks will feature important stakes races, many of them graded.


  • Athenia Stakes (Grade 3 Turf) on Saturday
  • Kelso Handicap (Grade 2) on Saturday
  • Gallant Bloom Handicap (Grade 2) on Sunday

Churchill Downs

  • Dogwood (Grade 3) on Saturday


  • Cotillion Stakes (Grade 1) on Saturday
  • Gallant Bob Stakes (Grade 2) on Saturday
  • Greenwood Cup Stakes (Grade 3) on Saturday
  • Pennsylvania Derby (Grade 1) on Saturday
  • Turf Monster (Grade 3 Turf) on Saturday

Remington Park

  • Oklahoma Derby (Grade 3) on Sunday
  • Remington Park Oaks (Grade 3) on Sunday

In addition to the graded stakes action, Gulfstream Park will run 3 Florida Sire Series races on Saturday. These state restricted stakes are vital to the breeding programs in many states around the country.

Churchill Downs Analysis

Churchill Downs Early Pick 5 Begins

Race 1

Post: 5:00 PM ET; Purse: $30,000 Maiden Claiming, 6 1/2 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 8

#8 TAP ATTACK is at odds of 9-5 and has speed figures well beyond the rest of the field. Given how imperative it has been to be near the front at Churchill Downs this meet, the early speed should also be a huge asset here. #6 POSEIDON WRATH is at odds of 5-2 and although it is early in the career, has been keeping better company than many of the rivals in the race. #2 KOLSCH is at odds of 6-1 and has run productively at the distance before. #3 THIRTYEIGHT is at odds of 5-1 and doesn’t have any significant red flags.

Selections: 8-6-2-3

Churchill Downs Early Pick 4 Begins

Race 2

Post: 5:29 PM ET; Purse: $52,000 Claiming, 5 1/2 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 7

#6 TOMATO BILL at odds of 5-1 and #5 PETIT VERDOT at 3-1 are hard to separate based on my numbers. When two horses are so close, I tend to defer to the one at a higher price. In this case I’ll give a slight nod to the #6, but will use the #5 extensively on all tickets. #1 CONVECTION is at odds of 5-2 and has class numbers that make him a major player here. #7 SCHOCHOH is of interest at a nice price of 8-1. Based on the connections, this one definitely has to be respected.

Selections: 6-5-1-7

Churchill Downs Derby City 6 Begins

Race 3

Post: 5:58 PM ET; Purse: $30,000 Maiden Claiming, 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 9

#6 HYLAND HAVEN is at odds of 9-2 and is definitely the best on paper in this race. The problem is that makes him the 2nd choice on the morning line in a race with a 4-1 favorite. The morning line suggests that prices should have a good shot in here and 9-2 still might be a touch too short for me.

Prices I prefer in this race are #9 SPITZ and #5 I'M STYLIN who both come in at odds of 6-1. I give slight preference to the #9, but both fit a majority of this field on numbers to this point and could be dangerous. #8 MADAM PIE is at odds of 4-1 and goes out for solid connections which can be vital in maiden claiming races, but I don’t really trust at the price.

Selections: 6-9-5-8

Churchill Downs Late Pick 5 Begins

Race 4

Post: 6:27 PM ET; Purse: $92,000 Maiden Special Weight, 6 1/2 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 11

Maiden special weight races at Churchill Downs can often be dominated by “smart money”. If that’s the case I may be in trouble, but my top selection is at a massive price and that is #3 TINSEL is at odds of 15-1 who goes out for good connections coming off a good workout pattern. #8 IMPLOSION is at odds of 5-2 and one of only 3 with experience. I tend to prefer horses with a race under their belt in non-winner conditions.

#4 VICARIOUS LADY and #10 KEINO are both horses that I like based on prices, though I think the chance of winning is remote. That being said, they could make for some great payouts underneath.

Selections: 3-8-4-10

Churchill Downs Late Pick 4 Begins

Race 5

Post: 6:56 PM ET; Purse: $56,000 Claiming, 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 9

#5 MOLIERE is at odds of 3-1 and based on almost every metric has this group covered. #2 GIMME SOME MO is at odds of 5-2 and will be more forwardly placed than the #5. This run style has been far more productive at the meet than the mid pack style style employed by my top choice. The top two on the odds board look well clear of the rest.

When 2 clear cut horses stand above the rest I tend to skip over the next several horses on the odds line and look for value underneath. #9 VASARIANO at 15-1 and #6 SEE THE PYRAMIDS at 8-1 will be my keys to exposing value in this race.

Selections: 5-2-9-6

Race 6

Post: 7:25 PM ET; Purse: $120,000 Maiden Special Weight, 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 13

The final pick 3 from Churchill Downs begins here in race 6. #8 RATTLE N ROLL is at odds of 9-2 and has connections that have to be respected in this condition. The horse has been keeping good company in his early career. #10 HARMON KILLER BREW is at odds of 12-1 and could get a good early run of things. #9 TEN GAUGE is at odds of 6-1 and has breeding to suggest this race could fit. #2 COMMANDER COMPTON is at odds of 4-1 and should be able to get the distance which could be a challenge for others in here.

Selections: 8-10-9-2

Race 7

Post: 7:54 PM ET; Purse: $134,000 Allowance Optional Claiming, 6 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 9

#7 REAGAN'S EDGE is at odds of 5-2 and seems like the logical choice in the penultimate race from Churchill Downs. The horse boasts edge in speed and class which can often be difficult to overcome for other runners. #4 PERFECT HAPPINESS is at odds of 2-1 and could have an advantage winging on the front end.

As is the case with several races on the card, the top spot looks chalky, so I’ll take#3 JUNGLE JUICE at 10-1 based on connections and #9 LARIMAR at 12-1 based on race flow to add some value to the tickets.

Selections: 7-4-3-9

Race 8

Post: 8:23 PM ET; Purse: $92,000 Maiden Special Weight, 6 1/2 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 11

My best bet of the day is the final from Churchill Downs in the form of #2 MEDLEY. The filly is at odds of 4-1 and I think the race shape will be perfect for her. #10 BHOMA is at odds of 3-1 and looks good on figures, but I worry a bit about the outside post. The mid pack style should reduce some of that, but sitting back on the dirt at Churchill has not been kind this meet. #11 SCINTILLATING STAR is at odds of 4-1 and is the third likeliest winner, but given the top selections will probably be lost on the cutting room floor when constructing my tickets. #4 WATERS OF MEROM is at odds of 9-2 for top connections.

Although there are 4 logical contenders, all of them are at short prices. I like the #2 and from a ticket construction standpoint will be all in on that one. I may have a small backup on the #10, but do not recommend going any deeper unless you like a longer shot on the board.

Selections: 2-10-11-4 (Best Bet: #2)

Free Churchill Downs Past Performances

If you are interested in handicapping the race yourself, Twinspires offers Brisnet Past Performances free of charge. The cost of the product is $3, but if you wager at least that amount on the Churchill Downs card, you will not be charged for the purchase.

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