A big day of racing at Churchill Downs on Saturday in Kentucky. It’s the first stakes day at Churchill Downs, and they’re opening up their stakes calendar with a bang. There will be five stakes races on offer at Churchill Downs on Saturday. The biggest of which is the Matt Winn Stakes (Gr. 3) for a $150,000 purse. The other stakes races today will all have purses of $100,000. A lot of money is going to be offered in Kentucky this weekend, and Churchill Downs is gearing up for a record betting handle.
The betting action last week was triple the amount during the same last weekend from 2019. With the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday, that should keep the money rolling in today. It’s absolutely necessary to attract big dollars off-track while the doors are closed to the public. Without the extra handle, it’d be hard to offer the purse money that they are. We will have you covered on Saturday with all five stakes races and hopefully a winner on the Pick 5 or Pick 6. Head below for our free Churchill Downs Pick 5 and Pick 6 selections for May 23, 2020.
Post Time: 3:36 p.m. EST
Distance: 6 ½ Furlongs
Race 6 is the first event before stakes racing takes over at Churchill Downs. Despite not being a stakes race, this event offers a sizable purse of $81,000. 11 horses are eligible for the top prize, with Get the Prize, Picasso, and High Crime all belonging on the shortlist. Picasso is coming off a win on March 20 at Fair Grounds for the first win of his young career.
He took over the lead at the ½ pole and rode out the rest of the race for a 2 ½ length win. It was the first win after finishing 3rd and 7th in his first two outings. Could have a good run in this one, and if he brings the same form, is going to be a factor to get the win.
High Crime is looking for his first win since January 12, 2019. He has gone winless in five straight races, but has been hanging around at the front. High Crime finished in the top-3 in 3 of his next 5 races. He struggled the most in the Swale Stakes (Gr 3.) in February 2019 at Gulfstream Park, which was to be expected going up against that field. High Crime finished 3rd in his most recent effort. That was on August 18, 2019, so he’s coming off a layoff going into Saturday. As is one of his greatest threats in this race.
Get the Prize has finished in the top-2 in 3 of 5 races in his career. He’s coming off a disappointing finish in 5th last June, so it’s been a long minute since racing. This race should be an easier outing for him. Leading up to that performance, Get the Prize placed in back-to-back outings and won on February 16, 2019 in his debut at Fair Grounds.
In the races he finished 2nd, Get the Prize lost by a half length against Night Ops at the wire. Get the Prize led that race until at the wire. Very close to a wire-to-wire win in that outing. And prior to that race, Get the Prize lost by a nose to place. He could very easily be a three-time winner at this point in his five-race career. Get the Prize likely won’t go away quietly in this race.
Race 7 – Shawnee Stakes
Post Time: 4:08 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
The $100,000 Shawnee Stakes kicks off the stakes racing on Saturday at Churchill Downs. This is also the start of the Pick 5 card for Race 7-11. This is setting up to be a duel between She’s a Julie and Dunbar Road. They enter in the best form and are the clear frontrunners barring an upset from another participant. She’s a Julie most recent appearance was in the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (Gr. 1) on October 6, 2019.
That race went nowhere, as She’s a Julie finished 4th. It was the fourth straight loss for She’s a Julie after finishing 3rd in three straight events, all of which were stakes races. Her latest win was in the La Troienne Stakes (Gr. 1) on May 3, 2019. That was a back-to-back win for She’s a Julie after winning the Bayakoa Stakes (Gr. 3) on February 18. She’s a Julie went through a stretch with wins in 4 of 6 races, which included the Iowa Oaks (Gr. 3) and Remington Park Oaks (Gr. 3). Overall, She’s a Julie has won 6 of 17 races in her career.
Dunbar Road enters the Shawness Stakes with 4 wins in 7 races in her career. She was well outmatched in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Gr. 1) at Santa Anita on November 2, 2019, finishing 5th in that tough event. In the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (Gr. 1), she edged out She’s a Julie to show in 3rd. Leading up to those two races, Dunbar Road was on a three-race win streak, including wins in the Mother Goose Stakes (Gr. 2) and Alabama Stakes (Gr. 1). Dunbar Road was in the top-2 in five straight races to open her career. A trip back to the winner’s circle is likely against this company.
Race 8 – Tepin Stakes
Post Time: 4:40 p.m. EST
The Tepin Stakes is another $100,000 stakes race at Churchill Downs on Saturday. This race should prove to be a close event between a few competitors. It’s likely going to be wide open racing in Race 8. There are more participants in this race than the Shawnee Stakes, but it will likely nevertheless come down to two or three horses. Alms, Sharing, and Outburst are primed for bold bids in the Tepin Stakes and have their eyes set on the top prize out of the $100,000 purse.
Outburst heads into the Tepin Stakes off a hat-trick, which began back home in England at Toulouse. In her first race on US soil, Outburst won by ¾ lengths over Bredenbury with strong kick in the stretch to outpace her opponent. That was enough to get Outburst into the Florida Oaks (Gr. 3) at Tampa Bay Downs on March 7, which she was able to win by a head over Walk In Marrakesh in a highly entertaining event. At +500 Outburst is certainly worth a second look.
Alms is a perfect 4 for 4 and seeking a fifth straight win on Saturday. He’s coming off a stakes hat-trick, with wins in the Matron Stakes (Gr. 3), Jimmy Durante Stakes (Gr. 3), and Shantel Lanerie Memorial Overnight Stakes (Black Type) most recently on February 8 by 4 ¼ lengths over Dominga in an impressive showing. The Jimmy Durante Stakes was a clear win for Alms as well, with a 2 ¾ length win over Laura’s Light.
Sharing should be right there near Alms and Outburst. Sharing has the most impressive win on his resume in this group. He’s a winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Gr. 1) by 1 ¼ lengths over Daahyeh at Santa Anita. That’s a mighty feat by Sharing to pull off, and ever since finishing 3rd as a first-time starter on July 21, 2019, Sharing has been rolling with a hat-trick going into Saturday. He also has a stakes win in the Selima Stakes (Black Type) on September 21, 2019 at Laurel Park by 2 ½ lengths. There’s a lot to like about Sharing in the Tepin Stakes.
Race 9 – Blame Stakes
Post Time: 5:12 p.m. EST
The prelude going into the Matt Winn Stakes, the Blame Stakes, has another $100,000 purse on offer at Churchill Downs. The Blame Stakes has 14 horses signed up to run a mile. Owendale, Mr. Money, and Global Campaign are likely going to be involved in this race. Mr. Money will need to find his old form on Saturday. If he can do that, then Mr. Money can easily win this race.
Mr. Money won four straight races and is the winner of the Matt Winn Stakes from last year. He won that race by 6 ½ lengths over Signalman in an easys victory. Then Mr. Money followed that up with wins in the Indiana Derby (Gr. 3) and West Virginia Derby (Gr. 3).
However, since then it’s been tough sledding for Mr. Money. He’s been regressing instead of keeping that form intact. Mr. Money finished 7th in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Gr. 1) and 6th in the Oaklawn Mile Stakes (Black Type) on April 11, 2019 in his only recent race. He didn’t have to worry about Global Campaign and Owendale last year, who are both going to threaten in the Blame Stakes.
Global Campaign has won 4 of 6 races in his career, and is coming off a win on April 25, though that was more of a tune-up for today. He got the win in the Allowance Optional Claiming event by 1 ½ lengths over Yorkton. Tougher competition awaits in the Blame Stakes today. Owendale will challenge the field in Race 9. There’s a lot to like about this colt who is the winner of the Lexington Stakes, Ohio Derby, and Oklahoma Derby. His name might be familiar from the Preakness Stakes, where he showed in 3rd last May.
Owendale is a winner in 5 of 14 races in his career, though came up just a bit short in his last race in the Clark Stakes (Gr. 1) on November 9, 2019. He lost by 3 ¼ lengths after rallying late. Owendale was bold past the ¾ pole, as he went from 11th to 2nd to place at the wire. Despite losing, that’s a solid effort in a Gr. 1 event. Without a doubt the most dangerous threat to win the Blame Stakes in 2020. This is a good field, though he’s raced against much better before.
Race 10 – Matt Winn Stakes
Post Time: 5:44 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
The 2020 Matt Winn Stakes is a 1 1/16 miles race for a $150,000 purse. 12 horses will give it a go, with Maxfield and Attachment Rate my two favorite ponies in this marquee event at Churchill Downs. Attachment Rate has been in the top-3 in four straight races, and finished 3rd in the Gotham Stakes (Gr. 3) on March 7 and 2nd in the Unbridled Stakes (Black Type) on April 25 at Gulfstream Park. Solid run by Attachment Rate, but was edged out by 1 ½ lengths against Dr Post. They dueled in the stretch with Dr Post pulling away to beat Attachment Rate by more than a length. Attachment Rate is No. 39 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 10 points.
Maxfield is No. 33 with 10 points and is going to be a contender in the Belmont Stakes in a month. He has yet to race in 2020, so this could do a lot for attention from the public. Tiz the Law, Nadal, and Charlatan have all gotten plenty of facetime and the public has responded with money pouring in on all three horses. However, Maxfield has been waiting in the wings and will make his 2020 debut today. He is currently +1000 to win the Belmont Stakes and +1600 to win the Kentucky Derby. That puts him in the top-5 behind Authentic.
Maxfield is a perfect 2 for 2 in his career, with his most recent event in October in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (Gr. 1). That is not an easy race, but won comfortably over Gouverneur Morris by 5 ½ lengths. Gouverneur Morris is a strong horse that was the favorite of that event. However, Maxfield made it look rather easy with tremendous drive going into the top of the stretch. We have already cashed Nadal, Tiz the Law, and Charlatan this year before the public started to take notice. I don’t think Maxfield has what it takes to beat them, but the Matt Winn Stakes is a beatable field for Maxfield.
Race 11 – War Chant Stakes
Post Time: 6:16 p.m. EST
There’s one more stakes race on this action packed day at Churchill Downs on Saturday. The War Chat Stakes will wrap up an exciting day in Kentucky today. This promises to be a competitive race that’s there for the taking. Field Pass, Smooth Like Strait, and Hieronymus are providing solid value in this event. They’re on my shortlist, with Field Pass and Smooth Like Strait getting the slight nod.
Field Pass is looking for the hat-trick on Saturday with wins in the Dania Beach Stakes and Jeff Ruby Stakes (Gr. 3) going into this one. Overall, he has won 3 of 8 races in his career. He’s in the form of his life and is going to be a threat to everyone. Leading up to those two wins, Field Pass finished 4th, 4th, 6th in late 2019, so it’s been quite the year so far for Field Pass.
Smooth Like Strait has won 2 of 6 races in his career, with the highlight of his career a win in the Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (Gr. 3) on December 1, 2019. He beat Gollad by 2 ½ lengths in an event he was not expected to win. Smooth Like Straight was 3rd out the gate, and then 1st by 1 ½ lengths by the ¼ pole. He would stay there throughout the race and built on it late to pull away.
To prove that it was no fluke, Smooth Like Strait finished 2nd in the Pasadena Stakes on February 29. He lost by a length after leading from the start to the top of the stretch. It was close to a wire-to-wire win against a tough field, but Smooth Like Strait just couldn’t hold on. It’s likely that Smooth Like Strait will play a role in this race. He should be near the front and at +500, Smooth Like Strait looks like some good value on the morning-line.