We’re off and running on Saturday with a big day on the racetrack. There are two million dollar races on the schedule at Woodbine and Belmont Park. Thank goodness that Belmont Park and Churchill Downs are back in action. It feels like it has been forever since we’ve had a regular Belmont and Churchill Downs card to handicap. The most notable race is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race with the running of the $1,000,000 Jockey Club Derby Invitational at Belmont. Belmont also has the $700,000 Belmont Club Oaks on Saturday.
Churchill Downs has 11 races on the dirt worth $2,056,000 on Saturday. The biggest event in Louisville is the running of the $400,000 Locust Grove (Gr. 3). We have three selections at Churchill Downs on the card this evening. Head below for our free Churchill Downs picks for September 18, 2021.
Race 3 – Open Mind Stakes
Post Time: 6:45 p.m. EST
Our first selection is a sizable stakes race in the $300,000 Open Mind Stakes. There are two horses to note, as Sconsin and Bell’s The Tone should put together bold bids.
Sconsin is 4 for 14 and has finished 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 4th in her previous four attempts. She was a winner on May 22 in the $150,000 Winning Color Stakes (Gr. 3) by 3 ¼ lengths over Rising Seas.
Since then, Sconsin has finished 2nd in the $110,000 Roxelana Overnight Stakes on June 19. She was ¾ lengths behind Bell’s The One. Sconsin finished 4th on August 28 in the $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina Handicap (Gr. 1).
Bell’s The One is coming off back-to-back wins on June 19 and July 28. She won the Roxelana Overnight as noted above, and then came back to beat Lake Avenue by a neck in the $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap (Gr. 2). The door is open for a hat-trick.
Race 8 – Pocahontas Stakes
Post Time: 9:39 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
Race 8 is a $300,000 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race covering 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. Ontheonesandtwo and Goddess Of Fire are at the top of my shortlist on Saturday. Ontheonesandtwo has finished 1st, 2nd, 6th in three attempts in her career.
She beat Green Up by 1 ¾ lengths for a $100,000 purse on May 13. That was a strong debut, and she’s looked fine in two outings since then. Ontheonesandtwo placed 2nd behind Behave Virginia by 1 length in the $150,000 Debutante Stakes on June 26.
In Ontheonesandtwo’s most recent outing, she finished 6th in the $200,000 Adirondack Stakes (Gr. 2). That was an unfortunate result, but she is open to improvement here Goddess Of Fire might possess the most value of the day.
Goddess Of Fire made her debut on August 22 at Saratoga and was impressive. She defeated Everyoneloveslinda by a neck for a $100,000 purse. Goddess Of Fire is coming off a strong workout on September 11 with a time of 1:00.60 at 5 furlongs. She carries a whole lot of value on Saturday.
Race 10 – Locust Grove
Post Time: 10:42 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
The Locust Grove (Gr. 3) is the feature on Saturday evening at Churchill Downs. Envoutante and Shedaresthedevil are going to be big competitors in this assignment. Envoutante is 5 for 13 in her career, having finished 1st, 1st, 4th, 2nd, 1st, 3rd in her previous six attempts.
Envoutante was a winner two races back on May 29. She beat Miss Bigly by 4 ¼ lengths in the $150,000 Shawnee Stakes. Envoutante failed to follow up most recently on June 26. She showed 3rd in the $300,000 Fleur de Lis Stakes (Gr. 2), finishing behind Antoinette and Letruska.
Shedaresthedevil is 8 for 15 in her career and is in great form. She is the winner of the $1,000,000 Kentucky Oaks in 2020 and continues to run well. Shedaresthedevil has finished 1st, 1st, 1st, 3rd, 1st, 1st, 3rd, 1st in her previous eight attempts.
She most recently beat Venetian Harbor by 3 ¼ lengths in the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes on August 1. That was an impressive run against a tough field. Despite getting older, Shedaresthedevil continues to run in good form. Shedaresthdevil has a good chance to another win to her resume tonight.