Horse Races Today: Sunday’s Churchill Downs and Santa Anita Analysis & Odds

Horse Racing Action at TVG!
Maxfield got the job done in Saturday’s $150,000 Matt Winn (G3) at Churchill Downs, picking up 50 points toward entry into the Kentucky Derby and showing he is back.

The Brendan Walsh trainee won both of his starts last year and was headed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last fall as a major player, but a bum ankle sent him to the sidelines. The colt got a late start this year and likely would not have made it to Louisville on the first Saturday of May.

The pandemic and the shift of the Derby to September gave this colt new life, and he showed yesterday he is a serious player. He rallied to a one length win over Ny Traffic, returning $4.60 in a very impressive effort.

I knew his price would be short and made him my second choice over Ny Traffic, who had the lead in deep stretch, bet down to 9-2 from his 10-1 morning line. The $2 exacta paid a decent $25.20.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has a trio of undefeated Derby contenders in Nadal, Charlatan and Authentic, but it sure looks as if Maxfield is the real deal.

We are back at it at Churchill Downs this afternoon and do not forget we have plenty of racing on Memorial Day. There are three stakes on tap at Santa Anita—the $200,000 Monrovia (G2), $300,000 Shoemaker Mile (G1) and the $300,000 Gamely (G1). I will cover those races in Monday’s Best Plays Report.

You can catch the action from Churchill Downs from 1:00 to 3:30 ET on FS2 and then from 3:30 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.

My Best Plays Report for Sunday includes my nine strongest plays from Churchill Downs and Santa Anita.

To purchase my Churchill Downs and Best Plays Reports for Sunday click here .

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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 - 5/24 (1:00 ET)

#4 Bonita Springs 5-1
#8 C Islandsurprise 5-1
#2 Check Six 7-2
#9 Catty Krys 5-1

Analysis: Bonita Springs takes the hood off after setting the early fractions and unable to hold off the winner in a runner up finish last out against restricted $5,000 foes at a mile. She returns to dirt here and the cut back to one turn should suit her. She has done her best work on turf but she does have a second and a third in five trips over a fast dirt surface. She is in good hands with the Danner barn and looks headed in the right direction as she makes her third start since the barn took the mare for $5,000 back in February.

C Islandsurprise chased the early pace and faded to finish ninth last out going a mile on turf at Fair Grounds against $10,000 starter optional claimers. She returns to her preferred surface and she has run well here over the years, mostly when she was younger, landing in the money in 12 of 17 trips. Her last trip here was a fourth going a mile against $7,500 claimers. She catches an easier spot her dropping in for a $5,000 tag.

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:

Churchill Downs Race 7 Analysis - 5/24 (4:08 ET)

#3 Continuation 8-1
#8 Backshot 4-1
#12 Per Capita 7-2
#2 Oak Room 5-1

Analysis: Continuation put in three trips at Aqueduct going a one turn mile and ran second in his first two starts, regressing last out in a fourth-place finish. he did have an excuse as he dueled for the early lead while down along a dead rail and weakened in the stretch. He has been working at Trackside for his return off the short break for the capable Kobiskie barn that has not yet won a race this year. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and will be tough if he runs back to his first two outings. The $110,000 Keeneland purchase is out of a Harlan's Holiday mare that has dropped one winner.

Backshot dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish fifth in his debut last summer at Del Mar for Baffert who was on a roll with his firsters during that time. He hit the bench and then reappeared in the Miller barn last out at Oaklawn Park. The ridgling tracked the early pace and finished gamely to miss by just a head off the bench. He was nearly four lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. The barn is 21% winners (with a +ROI) with runners making their second start off a +180-day layoff. The $35,000 purchase is bred to go long, out of an Awesome Again mare that ash dropped three other foals to race with a pair of winners, top earner stakes winner The Money Monster ($156,723).

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Santa Anita:

Santa Anita Race 7 Analysis - 5/24 (3:45 PT)

#8 Most Sandisfactory 4-1
#7 Da Kine 7-2
#4 Full Draw 3-1
#3 Press Briefing 5-1

Analysis: Most Sandisfactory drops in for a tag for his first start since a game second on turf last September at Kentucky Downs. His lone trip on dirt came in his debut three back at Ellis Park where he prompted the early pace and was no match for the winner in a runner up finish. The blinkers come off and while Miller has light numbers with layoff types, hitting at just a 5% clip with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff, he faces a bunch of firsters or other runners coming back off the bench. The barn is 32% winners (with a +ROI) dropping runners from maiden special to maiden claiming. He catches an easier spot her and shows in his debut and works he can handle dirt.

Da Kline also goes turf to dirt, last out checking in eighth going a mile here back in January. His best effort came on dirt where he was third at Del Mar in his second career start. Pedigree wise he seems more suited to dirt, by Will Take Charge out of a Touch Gold mare that has dropped four winners, top earner Grade 2 stakes winner Indian Waterfire ($339,242).

Live Longshots:
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.

Churchill Downs
R2: #8 Bizby 8-1
R3: #9 Thomas Shelby 10-1
R5: #5 Lemon Drop Twist 10-1
R4: #6 Puca Penny 8-1
R7: #3 Continuation 8-1
R10: #4 Land battle 8-1

Good luck today!