It’s a relatively quiet weekend for horse racing in the US. Next weekend is going to be the biggest sporting event that we’ve had in a while, so it’s the calm before the storm. The Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park and San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields are the only graded events with a purse of at least $250,000. Along with the Belmont Stakes next Saturday, there are a lot of other stakes races taking place throughout the country, and overseas in the UK. The Ascot Racecourse has a lot of big races coming up soon. They regularly offer big purses, so you might want to pay attention over there as well.
Churchill Downs won’t get the full attention of the horse racing world until Labor Day Weekend. If you haven’t been asleep for the last few months, you would know by now that the Kentucky Derby has been moved back to the first weekend of September. The first leg of the Triple Crown will take place next weekend at Belmont Park. It presents an interesting wrinkle and new strategy that trainers have never had to implement. This is new for everyone, so no one has an advantage in that sense. We’re just trying to hit a Pick 3 at Churchill Downs on a regular Friday afternoon today. Head below for our free Churchill Downs Pick 3 selections for June 12, 2020.
Post Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
Distance: 6 ½ Furlongs
We will get started early in the day with Race 1 at 1:00 p.m. EST in Kentucky. This should be a good race right out of the gate in the first race of the day. A purse of $24,000 will get the day started at Churchill Downs. 6 ½ furlongs on the dirt for this event. Drop Dead Gorgeous, Flashback Bear, and Champagne Affair are going to have decent chances of getting the win here.
Flashback Bear is a first-time runner on Friday, with only workouts to speak of thus far. In any event, those workouts have been fairly productive. She has registered times of 49, 51.20, 49.40, and 49.20 seconds. Purchased for just $11,000, not much is expected out of Flashback Bear, but let’s see how things shake out.
Champagne Affair is heading into the fourth race of her career on Friday. A couple of shaky outings to open her career, but improvements were noted in an appearance in May. Champagne Affair finished 5th at Keeneland and 10th at Turfway before heading for Churchill Downs for its opening. She responded in that race to place 2nd for a 2 length loss. Plenty of people liked Champagne Affair late, as she ended up closing as the favorite to win the event.
Drop Dead Gorgeous is the veteran of this race, with 15 races of experience, but still looking for a win. After placing in back-to-back races, Drop Dead Gorgeous is chasing an easier assignment on Friday. She finished 2 lengths behind One Step for a win in March, and then lost by a neck last month. That was a solid run by Drop Dead Gorgeous, but lost a close one. A recent 4-furlong workout with a time of 48.60 seconds suggests her form is good going into today. If she breaks well out the gate, no one likely keeps up with Drop Dead Gorgeous here.
Post Time: 1:34 p.m. EST
Distance:5 ½ Furlongs
The stakes are raised in Race 2 after a smallish purse in Race 1. A purse worth $79,000 will be on offer for this nine-horse field. Hulen, Looting, and Little Alex should be in the mix in Race 3. Hulen is the betting favorite on the morning-line at +200. He is one of four horses running as a first-time starter in Race 2. Purchased for $295,000 in March, this 2-year-old is expected to start fast out of the gate as a youngster. Even if she doesn’t win here, make sure you keep tabs on Hulen in the future.
Looting is making his debut on Friday as well. A $200,000 purchase last August, Looting seems to be in good form going into today. If he continues to get stronger from his recent workouts, then Looting is going to be in contention on Friday. Looting completed 4 furlongs at 48.60 and 48.80 second in May and June. He’s another horse that is going to worth keeping an eye on as he progresses, and is fully capable of getting the mini upset on Friday afternoon. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see Looting or Hulen winning as a first-time starter.
Little Alex will run close or at the front in Race 2. He is not a first-time starter, but showed plenty of promise on May 22. He showed in his debut to finish 3rd as a monster underdog. Little Alex wasn’t expected to do much in that race, but defeated nine other horses, seven of which had much lower odds to win than him.
Recent workouts have been impressive for Little Alex in the morning, as he completed 2 furlongs at 23.80 and 22.60 seconds, while running at 48.40 seconds for 4 furlongs. Don’t expect to see anybody clearing anybody in this race. It should be tight throughout. I will give the small edge to the horse on the inside rail out of the gate. With only 5 ½ furlongs, he should benefit from the post position.
Post Time: 2:06 p.m. EST
There are two coupled horses running as a tandem in Race 3 at Churchill Downs. Bulletin and Copper Town are together, while Tell Your Daddy and Elusive Mischief are coupled as well. Out of those four horses, Copper Town stands the best chance of getting the win. Bulletin might be able to help, but probably doesn’t have enough in him for the win. He started out hot with three straight wins to open his career, but has struggled against harder competition.
Bulletin tried out the stakes racing scene and went 4th, 3rd, 5th, 10th after getting the hat-trick. That’s fine, especially 5th in a Grade 2 race in September. However, Bulletin hasn’t responded since dropping in class. He finished 10th on October 23, 2019 and 5th on May 29. I think he’s going to be playing second-fiddle to Copper Town in this race, but if he does get the upset, then it’s fine by me because I do like Copper Town.
Copper Town has 3 wins in 7 races, with his most recent outing in the Hal’s Hope Stakes (Gr. 3) on February 23, 2019. That was a nice run, as Copper Town placed for 2nd being Prairie Lucky by 6 lengths. Leading into that race, Copper Town showed nothing in the Fred W. Hooper Stakes (Gr. 3) and Cigar Mile (Gr. 1) on December 1, 2018. He is coming off a lengthy layoff, but has looked really strong in the morning. He completed 5 furlongs at 1:00.40 and 1:00.60 in recent workouts.
Just Might is coming off back-to-back wins, including a win in the Colonel Power Stakes (Black Type). He recorded the win by a neck over Chaos Theory as a big underdog. Impressive and unexpected run to upset the favorite. The competition that Copper Town in his stakes races was much tougher than that race for Just Might. Overall, Just Might has won 3 of 14 races in his career, with the other win on February 17, 2019 at Fair Grounds.
Madison’s Luna raced against tough competition back near the start of his career. The most prestigious race was in the Woody Stephens back in 2018. That didn’t go well, as Madison’s Luna finished 10th. However, it was a good experience. Since then, Madison’s Luna has won just one race, and has finished outside the top-3 in 7 of 9 outings. I think this race is between Just Might and Copper Town, with Copper Town getting the slight edge on my ticket.