There is a lot of racing on Friday across North America. Churchill Downs recently opened their fall meet on Thursday and Belmont Park will today. A bunch of the smaller racecourses have cards of their own on Friday. One of your favorite tracks is probably operating today. BetOnline has 14 thoroughbred courses available for pari-mutuel betting in North America. The marquee events of the weekend is the $1,000,000 Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Gr. 1) and $250,000 Belmont Oaks (Gr. 1).
Penn National Race Course is racing on Friday with $183,400 available across 11 events. That’s an average day at Penn National, with their cards typically falling between $150,000 to $200,000. Yesterday was an average day overall with a win at Laurel Park going 2 for 3 and 1 for 3 at Churchill Downs. If you’re looking for more horse racing picks, we have you covered in Louisville with another Churchill Downs card. Penn National Race Course is our focus for this one. Head below for our free Penn National Race Course picks for September 18, 2020.
Post Time: 7:18 p.m. EST
We’ll get going at Penn National Race Course in a $19,000 6-furlong event. Race 4 will feature a seven-horse field in the evening hours. Lord Jacque and Kelli’s Smile are going to be hot commodities in this race. Expect both of them to have a chance at the winner’s circle on Friday. Lord Jacque is coming off the first win of his career after struggling in his first four outings.
Lord Jacque finished 5th, 6th, 5th, 4th and then found the winner’s circle on September 2. Prior to that race, Lord Jacque was 4th in a $11,800 event in July, and then followed up after a brief break to win a couple of weeks ago. He was a victor by 6 lengths over Unsung Hero for a $17,000 purse as a favorite. It wasn’t a tough field, but by far the best effort of his career.
He will be in for a difficult challenge against Kelli’s Smile. This horse has been a consistent operator since the start of the year. Kelli’s Smile has been in the top-3 in 6 of 7 races and top-2 in 5 of 7 in 2020. He’s been running in a higher class than Lord Jacque, with Kelli’s Smile typically aiming for $19,000 to $35,000 money.
Kelli’s Smile finished a half length short of a win on August 28 for a $19,000 purse. He was the favorite in that race and failed to close out the deal. Prior to that effort, Kelli’s Smile was 3rd in a $31,724 event and 5th for a $28,000 purse. Lord Jacque is likely his only threat. However, I’d like to see more consistency from Lord Jacque before having more confidence. I’m on Kelli’s Smile.
Post Time: 8:10 p.m. EST
Our next stop at Penn National Race Course is for a $28,000 purse for over 6 furlongs on the dirt. Lovely Lydia and Jump for Joy should have a say in Race 6. Lovely Lydia is 2 for 8 in her career with some good form most recently. She has finished in the top-2 in her previous two races in July and August.
Lovely Lydia placed 2nd behind Seeking the Dream by ¾ lengths for a $31,600 purse, then broke through in her next outing for a 3 ¼ length win in a $31,600 event on August 14. Since then, Lovely Lydia made a 4-furlong workout with a time of 52.10 seconds on September 5. That was the second win of her career and she’s 2 for 8 overall.
Expect Lovely Lydia to run close and play a role in the stretch for the third consecutive race. In her previous five outings, Lovely Lydia has gone 2nd, 1st, 4th, 2nd, 1st. If she didn’t have to deal with Jump for Joy, then Lovely Lydia would be in a better position to grab the win here. However, Jump for Joy should give her everything that she can handle on Friday night.
Jump for Joy is 8 for 27 in her career and in the top-3 in three straight performances. She was a winner two entries ago at Saratoga and won by 1 ¼ lengths in a $57,000 event. Jump for Joy aimed a bit higher in her next outing and showed in 3rd in a $62,000 race. This is a big step down in class for Jump for Joy. She should thrive against easier competition in Race 6.
Post Time: 9:28 p.m. EST
Distance:1 Mile 70 Yards
Race 9 is our final stop at Penn National on Friday night. It’s a mile and 70-yard event for a $10,000 purse. Cattle Drive and Scrap Iron Phil are going to be the horses to watch in the stretch. If they’re behind, expect both to mount a bold bid towards the front of the field.
Cattle Drive is 8 for 46 in his career, with finishes of 6th, 3rd, 6th, 4th in his previous four entries. In his most recent showing, Cattle Drive was 4th in a $10,000 event. Prior to that, Cattle Drive was 6th in a similar race.
However, this is going to be slightly easier despite the same class. Expect Cattle Drive to run close in the stretch. Scrap Iron Phil is going to be lurking over Cattle Drive, though. He has shown in back-to-back events in a couple of tougher races than he’ll be presented with on Friday.
Scrap Iron Phil finished 3rd in a $11,800 event on July 31, and then did the same in his most recent outing in the same class. With the slide down to an easier event, Scrap Iron Phil should be a factor in this race.
Scrap Iron Phil is 10 for 57 in his career, with the gelding’s most recent win on March 14 by 1 ¼ lengths in a $10,800 race. Since that win, Scrap Iron Phil has been trying out a slightly higher class with mixed results. He’s been able to get into the money, but winning has been difficult. Back down in class to a more winnable level, expect Scrap Iron Phil to reap the benefits on Friday night under the lights.