Jeff Siegel’s Blog: What You Know to Know for Churchill Downs – Friday, May 3, 2024

“Jeff Siegel’s Churchill Downs “What You Need to Know”

Kentucky Oaks Day Program
Friday, May 3, 2024

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “What You Need to Know” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.

The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.

RACE 1: Post: 10:30 ET Grade: B-
Main Ticket: 6-Thoughtful; 3-Penny Royal; 4-Sundance Feature.
Backups/savers: 7-Rock Harbor.

Forecast: We’re largely guessing here – there are no video workouts to critique or analyze – but we do know that trainer B. Cox has a terrific record with first time starters, so the Gun Runner filly Thoughtful is a “must use” and a logical top pick. There’s nothing fancy on the work tab but a sneaky quick gate work (:47 3/5b, April 7, 4th fastest of 75) and a half mile blowout :47 2/5 April 28, 6th fastest of 60) indicate at least some ability. Penny Royal likewise has done some good work in the a.m. and should be considered. The S. Asmussen-trained daughter of Curlin probably isn’t a quick type (surmised based on pedigree) but at this extended sprint distance she might come running late. Sundance Feature had a promising run over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park in late March that produced a decent number and on paper looks best of the known element.

RACE 2: Post: 11:00 ET Grade: B-
Main Ticket: 9-Sidamara; 10-Standoutsensation
Backups/savers: 7-Befriended; 11-Sedona.

Forecast: Sidamara was a pleasing second time starting, first time routing winner last month at Keeneland in a race that already has proven to be productive, and as a daughter of Arrogate should continue to improve with experience and maturity. Two nice breezes since raced add to a healthy pattern for the W. Mott-trained filly, so let’s try this Juddmonte homebred right back at or near her morning line at 4-1. Standoutsensation is faster on numbers than our top pick, considerably more experienced, and is a “must use” at 5-1 on the morning. She was overmatched when fifth in the Ashland S.-G1 last month but certainly shouldn’t be in this spot.

RACE 3: Post: 11:30 ET Grade: A-
Main Ticket: 8-Arthur’s Ride
Backups/savers:5-Injunction; 11-Empty Tomb.

Forecast: Arthur’s Ride returned off a 13 month layoff in mid-March to crush a first level allowance field at Gulfstream Park with a triple digit (101) Beyer figure while looking very much like a future star. He’s produced a faster number every time he’s been led over, so he’s apparently on his way to bigger and better things. He’s listed at 3-1 on the morning line but we’d have to expect he’ll go considerably lower. We’ll use a couple of backups (listed above) just in case in bounces, but we’re not anticipating that he will based on his six week breather in between races and a healthy, steady, and easy work tab in the interim for W. Mott.

RACE 4: Post: 12:05 ET Grade: B
Main Ticket: 3-Elysian Field; 11-Freydis the Red (FR)
Backups/savers: 4-Myriskyaffair.

Forecast: Elysian Field may have been a tad rusty when runner-up in her comeback at Gulfstream Park in early March but with that race behind her the talented Canadian filly should be primed for a major effort in this nine furlong turf affair for second level allowance runners. Winless in four starts on grass (but second three times), the M. Casse trained daughter of Hard Spun won the Woodbine Oaks last year before being nosed out in the King’s Plate and then missing by a whisker in the Breeders’ S. (on turf), so there should be no doubting her class. Freydis the Red (FR) was no factor in her comeback at Fair Grounds in a tougher spot but, like our top pick, seems likely to step forward against this softer competition. She was a stakes winner and stakes placed during her sophomore campaign and has numbers that put her in the thick of things.

RACE 5: Post: 12:43 ET Grade: A-
Main Ticket: 4-Idomatic
Backups/savers: 5-Pretty Mischievous.

Forecast: Champion Idiomatic returns for trainer B. Cox (32% with layoffs) and has trained well enough to be fit and ready for this year’s edition of the La Troienne S.-G1. Winner of the BC Distaff-G1 when last seen in November and successful in eight of nine starts in 2023, the daughter of Curlin, by all rights, should be just as good if not better during her five year old season. At 6/5 on the morning line, she won’t offer any wagering value but for those seeking a short-priced rolling exotic single she’s a logical candidate.

RACE 6: Post: 1:26 ET Grade: A-
Main Ticket:2-Ova Charged
Backups/savers: 8-Ag Bullet.

Forecast: Ova Charged earned a 113 Beyer speed figure when destroying her outclassed foes in a state bred stakes on turf at Fair Grounds in late March – that’s a number that would win most Breeders’ Cup grass sprints – so if she can repeat that type of effort in this year’s edition of the Unbridled Sydney S.-G3 she’ll be home free right back. A winner of 12 of 15 career starts (with one second and no thirds), the daughter of Star Guitar is quick enough to make the lead but has won from well off the pace as well, so new ridder F. Geroux has the luxury of finding a spot and picking his strategy. She’s listed at 7/2 on the morning like. Nice.

RACE 7: Post: 2:09 ET Grade: B+
Main Ticket: 3-First Mission; 6-Tumbarumba.
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: First Mission regained his winning form with an easy five length romp in the Essex H.-G3 at Oaklawn Park last month and seems well placed or a repeat in this year’s edition of the Alysheba S.-G2. Nosed out in the Clark S.-G2 in his only prior run over the Churchill Downs main track, the B. Cox-trained colt catches a projected race flow that appears favorable and should be able to draft into a comfortable stalking position and have every chance from there. Tumbarumba is genuine, consistent, and solid on numbers. A. two-time winner over the local main track, the Oscar Performer gelding has a similar stalking style to our top pick and will be right there with his best effort.

RACE 8: Post: 3:03 ET Grade: B
Main ticket: 6-Surprisingly; 5-Mouffy.
Backups/savers: 4-Heavenly Sunday.

Forecast: Surprisingly was a tad unlucky in her last pair, missing by a neck in the Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf and then going down by a half-length despite lacking a clear run in the Orchid S.-G2, both at Gulfstream Park. First or second in nine of 13 career starts, the daughter of Tapit switches to F. Prat and should be capable – with good racing luck – to produce a winning late kick. Mouffy fired her best shot when a strong second to the loose-on-the-lead Ruby Nell in the Buena Vista S.-G2 at Santa Anita in early March. She’s a tad shy in the speed figure department compared to our top pick but is thoroughly genuine and consistent and has the style to enjoy this nine furlong distance.

RACE 9: Post: 4:04 ET Grade: A
Main ticket: 7-Denim and Pearls.
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Denim and Pearls ran away and hid from her rivals on the way to a nine length romp in the Beaumont S.-G2 at Keeneland last month, doing so with complete authority and career top speed figure. Unbeaten in three one-turn outings, she gets ideal conditions once again in this seven furlong dash for sophomore fillies, especially considering that there is no breakaway speed in the field. The B. Cox-trained daughter of Into Mischief projects to enjoy a cozy stalking trip – just like last time – and then go on with it when given her cue. Have to think she’ll go considerably lower than her 3-1 morning line.

RACE 10: Post: 4:51 ET Grade: B+
Main ticket: 9-Hard to Justify
Backups/savers: 4-Buchu.

Forecast: Hard to Justify has looked terrific in the a.m. for C. Brown, so we’re expecting the undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf-G1 winner to pick up where she left off. The daughter of Justify had to overcome the 12-post in a 14-runner field at Santa Anita to bravely get the money with a career top number, and if she returns as well as she left – as we suspect she will – she’ll keep keep her perfect record spotless.

RACE 11: Post: 5:51 PT Grade: A-
Main ticket: 13-Just F Y I.
Backups/savers: 14-Leslie’s Rose.

Forecast: Just F Y I was given an easy run in the Ashland S.-G1 in her seasonable debut at Keeneland last month and today will get serious. According to her breezes since that race, the 2023 champion juvenile filly had stepped forward big time and appears ready to produce her best effort, similar to the one that netted her the BC Juvenile Fillies-G1 last fall that was accomplished despite the extreme outside 12-post. She’s produced a forward move in every race according to the numbers and we’re expecting to see a career top mark today. There’s excellent gambling value available at or near her morning line of 9/2.

RACE 12: Post: 6:27 ET Grade: B
Main ticket: 11-Almost Rocket Gone; 7-Tweetster; 8-Twirling Good Time.
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Almost Gone Rocket was 30 cents on the dollar April 5 in her debut at Oaklawn Park and ran like it, pressing the pace outside in hand before opening up at will without being asked to register a nearly 12 length score. It’s hard to gauge how good she is so at this time we’ll settle for “very.” Tweetster also was a sharp debut winner, her victory likewise achieved in Hot Springs despite a slow start from the rail. Numbers-wise, she’s close to our top pick, though she’s probably not as quick as ‘Rocket. Twirling Good Time was yet another smart debut winner – her score was accomplished over the local track last September – but in her first race back she was tried over a distance of ground facing allowance types and she simply wasn’t ready for that, pressing the pace and then dropping away at the head of the lane. She’ll be tighter today and is back around one corner, so the daughter of Twirling Candy could easily bounce back with a big effort.

RACE 13: Post: 7:02 ET Grade: B+
Main ticket: 8-Princess Madison
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Princess Madison took a career’s worth of dirt in her debut when forced to race in a pocket until mid-stretch before finally getting clear and rallying with interest to be second in a promising debut last month at Keeneland. The daughter of Speightstown has the style that seems perfect for this one turn mile, is the fastest filly in the field based on numbers and looks well-placed to graduate. We’re expecting to see her in the first flight throughout and then exert her superiority late as a win play and rolling exotic single.

Jeff Siegel’s Blog: What You Know to Know for Churchill Downs – Friday, May 3, 2024

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