Despite temperatures that will exceed 100 degrees it looks as if the show will go on at Churchill Downs on closing weekend.
Thursday’s card under the twin spires was canceled on Tuesday due to the impending oppressive heat, but track management has decided to push back the afternoon cards on Friday and Sunday and race at night.
Racing on Friday was changed from a first post of 2:45 ET to 6:30 ET. Saturday night's first post will be pushed back a half hour to 6:30 ET, and Sunday’s card was moved from 12:45 ET to 6:30 ET.
Sunday is the final day of the Churchill Downs spring meeting.
The record high heat is forecast to hit 105 on Friday, 106 on Saturday, and 102 on Sunday.
There have been 18 cancelations in the history of the track, but today’s is the first due to extreme heat.
There have been cancelations for frozen tracks, rain, tornado warnings, and last year we lost one day due to the damage that was caused by a tornado the day before.
We have no weather issues to worry about for Thursday’s card at Belmont Park as the sun will be shining and the high will be 88 degrees.
While Churchill Downs closes its doors on Sunday we have 18 racing days left at Belmont Park, the spring/summer meeting concluding on July 15.
There will then be a four day break in racing in New York, with the 40-day Saratoga meeting getting underway on Friday, July 20.
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Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Alw $62,000N1X (12:50 ET)
6 Evan's Rocket 6-1
2 Why Take a Chance 2-1
4 Purely Magic 9-5
8 Earnings Release 5-1
Analysis: Evan's Rocket looks like the value of the race if she goes off near her 6-1 morning line. Last out she stalked the early pace and finished evenly for fifth, beaten four lengths. Two back she ran a good second at the level at Aqueduct, beaten just a length for the top spot. She gets a key jock switch here from the seven pound bug to Cohen.
Why Take a Chance made a mild late run to finish fifth last out in a New York Stallion series race on the turf. She has been the beaten favorite in her last three starts since returning off a seven month layoff. She was a good second last fall in her first start against winners in the Ann Clare on the main track at the Spa. Her pedigree leans more toward dirt and the surface switch should suit. The only knock is the price is likely going to be on the light side again here.
WIN: #6 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 2,4,6,8
TRI: 2,6 / 2,4,6,8 / 2,3,4,6,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 OClm $75,000N1X (4:14 ET)
4 Forever Faithful 10-1
3 Yari 3-1
8 English Major 5-2
6 Coexist 6-1
Analysis: Forever Faithful has finished in the runner up spot in all four starts at today's level after breaking his maiden in his debut last fall in impressive style at Churchill Downs. He broke his maiden on dirt and ran well on poly, and now makes his first start on grass here for the McPeek barn that is 16% winners moving runners from dirt to turf. This guy has five sibs that are grass winners and five of his sibs have earned $100K+. If he takes to turf like I think he will he is a danger here and the 10-1 morning line is generous.
Yari took the field gate to wire last out to beat starter optional claimers and has now landed in the exacta in all four of his trips over turf. He steps into a slightly tougher spot here but looks up to it. The Chad Brown trainee still appears to have some upside and he has a nice pedigree, out of the stakes winner Message Red ($240K) who has dropped two other winners including stakes winner Le Mi Geaux ($171K).
WIN: #4 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 3,4,6,8
TRI: 3,4 / 3,4,6,8 / 3,4,6,8,9
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
R3: #4 Muscles Marinera 15-1
R3: #6 Indy’s Illuson 8-1
R5: #9 Up Above 8-1
R6: #2 Can’t Catch Me Now 10-1
R7: #3 My Perfect Light 10-1
R8: #4 Forever Faithful 10-1
Good luck today!