There was some big Kentucky Derby news recently regarding one of the leading contenders for the 146th Kentucky Derby. Art Collector is officially out of the race with a minor foot injury. That removes one of the most popular horses to knock off Tiz the Law in the Derby. Tiz the Law no longer has to worry about Nadal, Charlatan, or Art Collector. All three horses, who at one point were considered threats in the Derby, will not be running on Saturday. Attention will then turn to Authentic and Honor A. P.
I wouldn’t write off 20/1 underdog Ny Traffic either. He might need to catch a break somewhere along the way, but Ny Traffic might be the most likely underdog to win the 146th edition of the Kentucky Derby. Today is Thurby Day at Churchill Downs. The Thursday before the Kentucky Derby.
The $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes (Gr. 2) is the headliner at Churchill Downs on Thursday. A total of 11 races are scheduled for a total of $875,000. Tomorrow the stakes get kicked up a notch, with the running of the Kentucky Oaks. Churchill Downs will offer $3,700,000 on Friday, and then $6,901,000 for Derby Day on Saturday. Head below for our free Churchill Downs picks for September 3, 2020.
Post Time: 1:32 p.m. EST
Distance: 6 Furlongs
Our first play at Churchill Downs will be a $32,000 event on the dirt covering 6 furlongs. It should be an entertaining event that comes down to Kisses for Heidi and Could You in the stretch. Kisses for Heidi was on a nice little run after struggling in the first two races of her career. She finished 5th and 8th early in the year to open her career. Following a drop in class, Kisses for Heidi was a more competitive horse in the spring.
Kisses for Heidi placed 2nd on June 5 in a $29,000 event after the winner, Teenage Kicks, was disqualified. She crossed the wire in 3rd, though was bumped up to 2nd due to the DQ. Kisses for Heidi followed up to show 3rd again on July 12 in a $35,000 event.
That proved that she can compete in this class. However, Kisses for Heidi played no role in a $46,200 race in her most recent outing on August 22 at Ellis Park. I’m not so sure what the hike in class was for, but that was way too tough. Kisses for Heidi ultimately finished 7th.
Could You has shown great improvement from her first race. She finished 8th as a first-time runner on October 5, 2019 at Keeneland in a $71,000 event, and then followed up for 5th on November 30, 2019 at Fair Grounds in a $45,000 event.
After a layoff, Could You returned on July 12 and the result was much better after dropping further in class. Could You placed 2nd for the first time in her three-race career.The $85,000 Could You is coming off three nice morning workouts in July and August. She completed 4 furlongs in 48.60, 48.20, and 48.20 seconds in three outings. This should be a winnable event for Could You.
Post Time: 2:04 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
Our next stop at Churchill Downs isn’t a long wait from our previous selection. Race 3 features a $27,000 purse for 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. Quicksilver and Matrooh are on my shortlist for this event. Exemplar certainly has a chance, but will have to run how he’s capable of running and not how he’s been running recently. There is talent there, but has not been breaking well in races.
Quicksilver is 4 for 24 in his career with some decent results lately. He has finished 1st, 1st, 4th, 2nd, 5th, 3rd in his previous six outings. A little bit of mixed results, but has shown to be effective. In his most recent outing, Quicksilver was 3rd in a $15,000 event on July 27 at Indiana Grand. He is facing a step up in class today, but not too many of his competitors are too dangerous. Matrooh has been in good form recently, and will likely be the most difficult out for Quicksilver and others in Race 3.
Matrooh has been getting to the winner’s circle with consistency towards the end of 2019 and 2020. He has finished 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 3rd, 7th, 3rd, 1st in his previous eight performances. Matrooh won by a neck in a $23,600 event on August 3 at Lone Star Park over Seductive U S A. He was a $550,000 purchase in 2011 and never really panned out despite a couple of Grade 3 wins earlier in his career. As he’s proven recently, though, Matrooh is capable of being a competitive runner and threat at this level.
Race 10 – Pocahontas Stakes
Post Time: 4:34 p.m. EST
It’s feature time at Churchill Downs on Thursday, with the running of the $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes (Gr. 3) scheduled to take place late in the afternoon in Louisville. There are some exciting young fillies features in the Grade 3 event, which covers a mile on the dirt. It’s a race primarily for inexperienced fillies that are in the early stages of their careers.
Having said that, Inject and Crazy Beautiful should be names that you hear in the future. Crazy Beautiful is expected to be competing in Grade 1 events before long. A positive showing on Thursday could be a nice catapult forward.
Inject is a perfect 1 for 1 in her career after a nice debut on August 15 in an easy 6 length win at the $46,200 level. It was a textbook win for Inject, as she took over at the top of the stretch and was a length clear going into the stretch. It wasn’t a tough race for Inject, but that should change on Thursday.
For a $390,000 horse, Inject shouldn’t be struggling in Grade 3 races. She is coming off a tune up on August 28 with a time of 48.40 seconds at 4 furlongs. Crazy Beautiful has run her debut and sophomore races, with the results the same in wins. She won by 3 ½ lengths to break her maiden in a $37,000 event on July 5.
Crazy Beautiful followed up for a 3 ¾ length win in the $100,000 Runhappy Debutante Stakes (Black Type) on August 9 at Ellis Park. That was awfully impressive, and showed that she more than belongs in this event. Big things are expected out of her in the future, and I see her future beginning today at Churchill Downs.