Churchill Downs: How to bet the Chilukki Stakes
An evenly matched field of nine fillies and mares will contest Saturday’s $100,000 Chilukki (G3), over a mile at Churchill Downs, and finding the winner won’t be easy.
#2 Finite is the most accomplished runner in the field, with four stakes wins, including triumphs in the Rags to Riches S. and Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs last fall. The versatile daughter of Munnings missed the summer with an injury but bounced back to form with a rallying, runner-up effort in the 7-furlong Raven Run (G2) at Keeneland last month, when she was beaten just a neck by multiple Grade 1-placed runner Venetian Harbor.
Trained by Steve Asmussen (a 22% winner at Churchill Downs), Finite should be formidable in her return to Churchill and on the stretch back out to a mile. In terms of running style, she can race successfully from anywhere in the pack, which gives jockey Ricardo Santana plenty of options to work out a clean trip.
But Finite has never run against older rivals, a significant hurdle she’ll tackle in the Chilukki. Her challengers include proven graded stakes performers, such as #4 Whoa Nellie, who was last seen racing to a second-place finish in the Feb. 17 Bayakoa (G3) at Oaklawn Park. But the biggest threat to Finite’s supremacy might be the speedy #6 Risky Mandate, an improving 4-year-old who owns the fastest Brisnet Speed ratings in the field.
A top-three finisher in seven of her eight starts, Risky Mandate enters the Chilukki off an eye-catching allowance victory sprinting 7 furlongs at Keeneland. The 4-year-old led all the way to beat next-out winner Club Car by 2 3/4 lengths, with the rest of the field another nine lengths behind.
Risky Mandate has never won running farther than 7 furlongs, but she finished second in a 1 1/8-mile allowance at Saratoga during the summer, when she was beaten only 2 1/2 lengths by next-out Black-Eyed Susan (G2) winner Miss Marissa. Risky Mandate employed rating tactics on that occasion, but I suspect she is more effective on the front end, a position she appears quick enough to secure in the Chilukki.
$18 to win on #6 Risky Mandate
$0.50 trifecta: 6 with 2,4 with 1,2,3,4,5,8,9 ($6)
$0.50 trifecta: 6 with 1,2,3,4,5,8,9 with 2,4 ($6)