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Juvenile expert Andrew Champagne previews first of two stakes races on the program at Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs has one of their traditional 2-year-old showcase days coming up Sunday afternoon. The first of two stakes races on the program is the Rags to Riches for fillies going a mile on the main track.

This year’s renewal drew a field of seven, and there figures to be a pretty heavy favorite. However, while that runner will be tough to beat, I don’t think she’s any sort of a cinch. Let’s take a look at the race!

The Flashy Favorite

#4 SPECIALLY did everything right in her debut at Keeneland earlier this month. The Mark Casse trainee drew away impressively in the stretch to win by more than five lengths, and it helps her cause that the runner-up in that race has since come back to win.

While Specially figures to be tough if she moves forward, it’s worth noting that she faces winners for the first time while also stretching out in distance. I can’t ignore her on my tickets, and it won’t be shocking if she jogs home well clear once again, but I also need to use several others in order to feel comfortable.

My Top Pick

#5 FINITE ran into two top-class fillies at Saratoga, when she was second in back-to-back outings. Sweet Kisses and Mrs. Danvers are both promising horses, and this one’s no slouch, as she proved last time out at Kentucky Downs. That was a turf race, but she won by nearly five lengths and did so in a manner that indicated there was much more left in the tank.

I’ve been high on Finite since the summer, and it’s tough to go against a well-meant Steve Asmussen trainee. Add in that she almost certainly won’t go favored, and I need to be on her in this race.

A Price Returning to her Desired Trip

#3 GONE GLIMMERING got a steep test in the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland. Those waters proved to be a bit too deep, but she still ran an OK fourth after pressing a solid pace early on, and I don’t think she lost too much in suffering her first career defeat.

This is a one-turn race against lesser competition, and both of those changes should be welcome ones for Gone Glimmering. I like that she can sit just off the pace and get first run turning for home, and 8-1 certainly strikes me as a considerable overlay.

How I’ll Play It

I’m going to box my top three horses in exactas and lean on Finite a bit more in an additional, smaller exacta key box. Specially may very well be on her way up, but I think there may be money to be made betting against her in this spot.

2 units: Exacta box, 3,4,5

1 unit: Exacta key box, 5 w/3,4

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By Andrew Champagne

Article Author

Horse Racing

Andrew Champagne is a horse racing handicapper with a specialism in juveniles. One thing is for certain, Champagne gets the party started.


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