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Sweet Lou Monaco analyzes the racing at Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs gets into the fall swing of things Thursday, kicking off its week of racing with an 8-race twilight card, highlighted by a $102,000 allowance optional claiming race on the turf for 3-year-olds and up over one mile.

The 13-horse field in race 5 will go to post at approximately 6:56 p.m. ET.

#1, Marzo, Tyler Gaffalione, 5-1

Marzo has finished in the top three in three of his last four starts, including a third-place finish in his last, in a $150,000 allowance optional claiming race at Kentucky Downs on Aug. 31. He is 3-3-3 in 14 career starts, including a 2-2-1 mark in seven this year. He returns to Churchill for the first time since a third-place finish in the $100,000 Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes on Nov. 10. Tyler Gaffalione gets the mount for the first time. Marzo has won on three different tracks in his career and tonight will be the fourth. The pick.

#12, Parlor, Corey Lanerie, 3-1

In four starts this year, the morning-line favorite has posted one first-place finish, a one-length triumph, with Jose Ortiz aboard, in the $100,000 Glasgow Stakes at Delaware Park on July 13. In his last start, he finished a disappointing ninth in a 12-horse field in the $750,000 Tourist Mile Stakes at Kentucky Downs on Aug. 31. The good thing is Lanerie is back aboard and looks to make amends. A plus is that Parlor has raced in 13 stakes races, including seven graded. Will be there right at the end. Runner-up.

#4, Secretary At War, Florent Geroux, 4-1

Tonight will mark his 20th start, in which he has posted a 3-3-3 career record in 19 previous. He has raced in four straight stakes races with two Grade 2s, including a second-place finish to Caribou Club in the $200,000 G2 Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar Nov. 24. In his last start, almost eight months to the day, he finished fourth in the $70,000 Clocker’s Corner Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 27. His last five races have been in California, the long layoff, and his first time here has me looking in a different direction. In the mix.

#5, Multiplier, James Graham, 5-1

The veteran has had 21 career starts (3-3-3) and has had two second-place finishes in six starts this year. His last was a sixth-place finish in the $250,000 Old Friends Stakes at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 5, where he was never a threat with Gaffalione aboard. James Graham is in the saddle tonight, where he had posted five in the money finishes here on Sunday. Multiplier is experienced, having run in nine graded stakes, including five Grade 1s, and Graham’s knowledge will certainly help. Prefer others.

 PICKS: 1-12-4-5

By Lou Monaco


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