Churchill Downs pick of the day for May 16

Profile Picture: James Scully

May 16th, 2020

Churchill Downs will begin its 26-day spring meet with a terrific 11-race card Saturday. I have some opinions later on the program, with #2 Adhhar (ninth race) and #10 Fly So Pretty (11th) both appearing well-spotted for a winner’s circle visit, but let’s focus upon the fifth race for the pick of the day.

#2 Mr Jaggers drew well for his second start back from a layoff in the fifth race, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on turf, and the 3-year-old son of Twirling Candy can earn his diploma for Bill Mott.

Last summer at Saratoga, Mr Jaggers opened his racing career with a fast-closing third on turf, behind subsequent graded winners Field Pass and Decorated Invader. After a rough trip in his second outing, the bay colt headed to the sideline for the rest of the juvenile season.

Mott needed a race last month for Mr Jaggers, who was training steadily at Payson Park since mid-January, and brought his pupil back in an April 11 maiden race on the main track at Gulfstream Park. It served as a tightener for his turf return, and I hope the even, fifth-place effort helps his price.

Three of his main rivals — #10 Fortuity, #11 Implication, and #12 Summer Place — must work out a trip from outside posts, and Mr Jaggers is eligible to receive a perfect ground-saving path under Joel Rosario, who will replace Marco Meneses in the saddle.

Mott has been cold of late at Gulfstream, but the Hall of Fame trainer won a couple races when he shipped to Oaklawn Park earlier this month. It would be no surprise to see him get off to a fast start during the Churchill Downs spring meet.

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