Churchill Downs is back for its fall meet on Thursday, as some of the big players begin to trickle back into the fold. Belmont Park will also be back soon with the running of the $250,000 Belmont Oaks (Gr. 1). Woodbine is home to the biggest race of the weekend, though. The $1,000,000 Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Gr. 1) is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. That is a Breeders’ Cup event.
We’ll take a look at that card on Friday and see if there’s anything at Woodbine worth wagering. There isn’t much stakes racing to be had at Churchill Downs in the near future. They recently had the Kentucky Derby just two weeks ago, so that’s the biggest stakes race of them all.
We put a sweep into the books on Wednesday at Canterbury Park with a 3 for 3 day in Minnesota. Churchill Downs has been the most profitable track for me. It helps to successfully cash a Pick 5. That helps the old ROI out considerably. For Thursday at Churchill Downs, there are nine races with a total of $455,000 in prize money available. Head below for our free Churchill Downs picks for September 17, 2020.
Post Time: 1:14 p.m. EST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
We’ll get started at Churchill Downs on Thursday with 1 ⅛ miles on the main track for a $77,000 purse. This is the feature race of the day in Louisville. Despite no stakes racing, some of their maiden and allowance races are bigger than stakes events elsewhere.
Storm At Sea and Wild Love should present bold bids on the dirt in this $77,000 allowance race. Storm At Sea debuted at Presque Isle Downs on October 10, 2019 and was adequate enough to show in the $30,000 event.
It was an adequate run, but as the betting favorite in that race, Storm At Sea ran down to her competition. Following a lengthy layoff, Storm At Sea returned on August 22 at Ellis Park. The $255,000 Storm At Sea ran beyond expectations in that race, as he drew away and cleared the field by 3 ¼ lengths.
Storm At Sea was not expected to win in that class and closed as an underdog. No one saw the improved form coming from Storm At Sea. She looked good in a morning workout on September 11 with a time of 49.40 seconds. Expect Storm At Sea to jump into the fray in the stretch in Race 2.
Wild Love is 1 for 4 in her career with two solid performances on June 26 and August 9 at Churchill Downs and Saratoga. Wild Love won in June in a $79,000 event in a blowout by 11 ½ lengths over Majorette. It was a blowout by the top of the stretch, as Wild Love was clear of the field by 5 ½ lengths by that point.
She came 3 ½ lengths short against Smooth With a Kick on August 9 at Saratoga in her most recent effort. This race should prove to be slightly easier than that outing, though. Expect Wild Love to shake Storm At Sea and head back to the winner’s circle.
Post Time: 1:43 p.m. EST
We take a short break after Race 2 and look towards Race 3 at Churchill Downs. This is a step down in class from the previous event. I will be paying attention to Control Stake and Hold Me Back throughout on the main track. They both should run a competitive race in the stretch. Control Stake is 9 for 47 in his career with a win two races ago at Lone Star Park.
He beat Double Barrel Man by 1 ¼ lengths in that outing. However, his four races prior to that, where he finished 6th, 4th, 4th, 7th leaves nothing to get excited about. And after his win, Control Stake followed up for an abysmal performance on August 10 in a $44,840 event.
He’s down in class after finishing 7th in that race. I’m under the impression that Control Stake will run a much better race at the $35,000 level on Thursday afternoon. Expect him to play a role in the stretch, at least being able to get into the money against this field. Hold Me Black is likely going to cause him the most issues in the stretch.
Hold Me Black has been in solid form in the summer. He entered two races and finished 1st and 2nd. In his first outing, Hold Me Black defeated Spikes Shirl by a length in a $31,000 race, and then followed up to place 2nd on August 20 at Laurel Park in his most recent performance. Hold Me Black lost by 1 ¾ lengths after failing to mount a strong enough bid in the stretch.
His work in the morning has been impressive. Hold Me Black has completed three 4-furlong workouts clocked at 47.80, 47.60, and 47.20 seconds. That’s incredibly encouraging. His most impressive workout was most recently on September 11. If that form holds a win should be within reach.
Post Time: 3:48 p.m. EST
A 6-furlong $37,000 claiming event will close us out at Churchill Downs for Thursday. We will go back to Churchill Downs often during this fall meet, so be sure to check back if you like playing Churchill Downs. Race 7 is another dirt race on Thursday.
Seven horses are scheduled to run, with no scratches as of Thursday morning. Jessup and Intimidation are featured on my shortlist. Intimidation should give a good run in this one as a 4/1 underdog. The colt is 1 for 3 in his young career, with a win on July 7, 2019.
Following that win at Monmouth Park, Intimidation went on a hiatus and returned to the gate in January. That race was too tough for Intimidation, as he finished 4th in the $51,000 event. He was the favorite in that race, though, and was expected to run a much better race, so we’re not going to say good effort. That’s especially true for a horse that was purchased for $425,000.
His win in July was by 1 ¼ lengths over Game Boy Benny for a $45,000 purse. Intimidation is capable of winning races in this class, and should be lurking with a chance to strike in the stretch. If Jessup has a bad day, then a win should be close for Intimidation.
Jessup made his debut on August 19 and was impressive with a 5 length victory over Rob the Rich at Indiana Grand. That was a $31,000 event, and a $37,000 event should be on a manageable level for Jessup, too. Jessup was purchased for $275,000 last March in 2019 and is expected to win these types of claiming races. He was in good form on September 12 in the morning, with a recorded time of 48.80 seconds at 4 furlongs. I’m riding with Jessup in Race 7.