BetAmerica’s horse racing pick of the day: May 21, Churchill Downs

Profile Picture: Keeler Johnson

May 21st, 2020

Weekday picks and plays for Thoroughbred racing.

Thursday, May 21

Churchill Downs, Race 1: Maiden special weight (4 1/2 furlongs, 1 p.m. ET)

#4 Tequila Queen (2-1 on the morning line) figures to start as the favorite for trainer Wesley Ward, who is renowned for his success with early maturing juvenile sprinters.

A daughter of hot, young sire American Pharoah, Tequila Queen sold for $325,000 as a yearling and enters off a string of sharp workouts at Keeneland, including a rapid, half-mile drill from the starting gate in :47 4/5 April 21.

But Ward‘s juveniles have gone just 1-for-7 in 2020, and while all of those starters came in Florida — where Ward keeps a secondary string of 2-year-olds — it leaves me wondering if the delayed start to juvenile racing this season has hampered his usual early momentum.

An alternative to the favorite is #2 Mad Maddy (3-1), another daughter of American Pharoah. Trainer Steve Asmussen has gone 14-for-71 (20%) with debuting juveniles at Churchill over the last two years, and Mad Maddy has posted some flashy workouts, including a bullet half-mile from the Keeneland starting gate in :46 May 6.

Let’s box Tequila Queen and Mad Maddy in the exacta, then key them in a trifecta, with #3 Hopeful Princess (5-1).

$10 exacta box: 2,4 ($20)
$2.50 trifecta: 2,4 with 2,3,4 with 2,3,4 ($10)

Good luck!