Horse Races Today: Saturday's Churchill Downs and Santa Anita Analysis & Odds
May 22, 2020
By Mike Dempsey
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As each week goes by the horse racing industry is making more strides to get back to some semblance of normalcy and today we have an 11-race card at Churchill Downs that features five stakes races and a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race.
Toss in a couple of graded stakes at Santa Anita and racing from Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs, Golden Gate Fields, Lone Star Park and Charles Town along with quarterhorse action from Los Alamitos, Remington Park and Ruidoso Downs, and having to shelter in place does not really sound all that bad.
It is Memorial Day weekend and states are starting to open, but the sports calendar is still pretty empty except for NASCAR and golf.
You can catch the action from Churchill Downs from 1:00 to 2:30 ET on FS2 and then from 2:30 to 6:30 ET on FS1.
In addition, the NBC Sports Network will simulcast the TVG Network from 4:00 to 8:00 ET. Horseplayers can also stream all the horse racing action using the Watch TVG App. The horse betting company based in the U.S. is offering a risk free bet up to $300 for new players.
The $150,000 Matt Winn (G3) is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race, with 50-20-10-5 points up for grabs for the top four finishers.
The headliner is Maxfield, who was an early favorite for the Kentucky Derby after he won the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) last fall at Keeneland. An ankle injury knocked him out of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in November where he would have been one of the favorites.
The colt faces 11 foes in the Matt Winn including the Louisiana Derby (G2) runner up and fourth place finisher Ny Traffic and Major Fed, respectively.
The $100,000 Blame drew a competitive field of 14 including Owendale, who ran third in last year’s Preakness Stakes (G1) and Mr. Money, who won last year’s Matt Winn, Indiana Derby (G3) and West Virginia Derby (G3).
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) champ Sharing makes her three-year-old debut in the $100,000 Tepin. She catches a tough field that includes Herecomesthebride (G2) runner up Abscond, and the undefeated Alms, a two-time Grade 3 winner.
One of the shortest prices on the day likely will be Dunbar Road, who is the 4-5 morning line favorite in the $100,000 Shawnee. The filly won last year’s Alabama (G1) at Saratoga and was fifth the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) in her last outing.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my nine strongest plays from Churchill Downs and Santa Anita.
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Here is the opening race from Churchill Downs to get the day off to a good start:
Churchill Downs Race 1 Analysis - 5/22 (1:00 ET)
#9 Golden Notion 8-5
#3 Step Ten 6-1
#7 No Bad Days 6-1
#4 My Name is Phred 8-1
Analysis: Golden Notion drops in for a tag for the first time here for the Cox barn. This colt has burned some serious money, the beaten chalk in four of his five starts. His best effort came in his debut last February at Oaklawn Park where he ran second. He was a decent third two back off the bench, then regressed last out in a fifth-place finish. He catches a weak group here dropping in for a $50,000 tag. The barn is 25% winners dropping runners from maiden special to maiden claiming. He looks likely to get the day off to a chalky start.
Step Ten debuts for the Drury barn that is 21% winners (with a +ROI) with first timers. The colt is by Blame out of a Tale of the Cat mare, her first foal to race. He popped a bullet drill out of the gate on May 17 over the main track here and except for our top pick this is not a very imposing looking spot for his debut.
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:
Churchill Downs Race 10 Analysis - 5/22 (5:44 ET)
#6 Ny Traffic 10-1
#10 Maxfield 5-2
#11 Attachment Rate 4-1
#2 Pneumatic 4-1
Analysis: Ny Traffic came up short in two Derby preps in New Orleans, checking in third in the Risen Star (G2) and second in the Louisiana Derby (G2). The colt dueled for the early lead in the Risen Star and finished up well, beaten 1 ¼ lengths at nine furlongs. Two came out of that race to win next out including fifth place finisher Mr. Big News, who came back to win the Oaklawn Stakes. Last out he chased the early pace and could not get to the loose on the lead gate to wire winner, coming up 1 ½ lengths back of Wells Bayou. Note the cut back in distance here to 1 1/16 miles which should suit him and there is not much early zip signed up to go here. The colt should be on or close to the lead here with his two main foes drawing tough posts. Decent value if this guy goes off near his 10-1 morning line.
Maxfield is making his belated three-year-old debut. He was going to be a threat in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) but had to scratch after an ankle issue. He broke his maiden in his debut here going a mile and then won the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland, becoming one of the early favorites for the Kentucky Derby (G1). The delay of this year’s Run for the Roses certainly has helped this guy. The barn is 11% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. Solid works at Keeneland and he looks fit and ready to go off the bench. The post is not great, and his price could end up on the light side.
Attachment Rate draws just outside of the favorite. He broke his maiden in the slop at Gulfstream Park in his third career start and then landed in the money in a couple of stakes. The colt made a mild late rally to finish third in the Gotham (G3) going a one turn mile, beaten two lengths. Last out in the Unbridled in his first start around two turns he stalked the early pace while wide, exchanged a few bumps with the winner and could not match strides with the winner late, beaten 1 ½ lengths. He has shown some tactical speed and Johnny V. may use him early from the outside so this guy could be more forwardly placed. He looks as if he may still have some upside.
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Santa Anita:
Santa Anita Race 8 Analysis - 5/22 (4:18 PT)
#7 Rockemperor 5-2
#5 United 6-5
#6 Originaire 5-2
#1 Desert Stone 8-1
Analysis: Rockemperor is 0 for 3 since landing in the U.S> with the Brown barn but this guy is coming off a good effort. He came back off a 7 1/2-month layoff in the Muniz Memorial (G3) at Fair Grounds last out at 1 1/8 miles where he made a good late rally to finish third. His best effort overseas was a neck loss in the Prix de Force at Longchamp last April at 1 1/8 miles. The extra ground here should suit this guy and Irad takes the call.
United is the serving favorite coming off a win in the San Marcos (G2) here back in February at today's distance. He was beaten just a head at 51-1 in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) last fall and then was beaten just a neck in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) in December at Del Mar. He returns here off a 3 1/2 month break for the Mandella barn that is 22% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. He looks tough but is going to be a light price.
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.
R1: #4 My Name is Phred 8-1
R2: #7 Laddie Boy 8-1
R3: #3 Shadow Boat 15-1
R3: #11 Runyon 8-1
R4: #10 Maid of Honor 15-1
R4: #7 Majorette 10-1
R6: #6 Hidden Ruler 10-1
R7: #6 Vault 10-1
R7: #5 Another Broad 10-1
R8: #2 Abscond 8-1
R8: #3 Walk in Marrakesh 10-1
R9: #14 Diamond King 10-1
R9: #7 Silver Dust 8-1
R10: #6 Ny Traffic 10-1
R11: #1 South Bend 12-1
Good luck today!
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year-round as well as covering the biggest events including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup.
A professional handicapper and horseplayers for more than three decades, no handicapper in the industry works harder and been more successful in bringing horseplayers analysis that produces profits at the track!
Mike has owned racehorses and knows the racetrack from the backstretch to the finish line.
Mike is in his second decade of producing great results for the readers of Vegas Insider. Among his scores in the Kentucky Derby include winning with his top pick Animal Kingdom who paid $43.80 in 2011 and Super Saver at $18.00 in 2010.
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