Saturday, November 30 is “Stars of Tomorrow” day at Churchill Downs, which means the Louisville track will host a dozen exciting races for juveniles.
The highlights are the $300,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) and the $300,000 Golden Rod Stakes (G2), official prep races for the 2020 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1). Both events have drawn competitive fields, so let’s dig in and come up with a few plays.
Race 9: Golden Rod Stakes (G2)
#1 Finite has never finished out of the exacta and figures to start as the favorite. She dominated the one-mile Rags to Riches Stakes at Churchill Downs, but this Steve Asmussen-trained filly will make her two-turn debut in the Golden Rod, and as a daughter of sprinter Munnings, there’s a chance her stamina will be stretched at 1 1/16 miles Saturday.
#6 His Glory is a stoutly bred alternative. A daughter of Mineshaft, His Glory has already run twice around two turns at Churchill Downs. After she finished a game second in the Pocahontas Stakes (G2), His Glory came back to win an optional-claiming allowance in gate-to-wire fashion. With a final five-sixteenths in a respectable :31.16, His Glory had no difficulty winning by 4 1/4 lengths over #8 Motu, an improving Kenny McPeek-trained filly who brings competitive Brisnet speed ratings to the Golden Rod field.
Let’s play His Glory on top, with Finite and Motu underneath.
Race 11: Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2)
#3 Tiz the Law will be tough to beat, even though he will stretch out around two turns for the first time. Racing for Sackatoga Stable and trainer Barclay Tagg of Funny Cide fame, Tiz the Law is unbeaten and unchallenged in two starts. He broke his maiden decisively at Saratoga and dominated the one-mile Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont by four lengths.
A son of hot young sire Constitution, Tiz the Law has trained forwardly for his two-turn debut. He most recently clocked five furlongs in a bullet :59 3/5 November 23. On paper he is a clear standout.
Perhaps the only horse with a realistic shot to take down Tiz the Law is #4 South Bend, who is also undefeated. With strong late rallies he has compiled a 3-for-3 record on the Kentucky circuit. In the one-mile Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs, South Bend had to wait behind runners in traffic for much of the race, but rallied tenaciously once clear to win by half-length. The only problem? South Bend doesn’t have as much early speed as Tiz the Law, which puts the son of Algorithms at a tactical disadvantage.
Let’s play Tiz the Law and South Bend in a straight exacta and add #1 Enforceable for a smaller trifecta.
$15 exacta: 3 with 4
$5 trifecta: 3 with 4 with 1