There are a couple of $100,000 races today at Churchill Downs and we will take a look at the first one early on in the card.
The field of six is slated for race 2 of the 10-race card and is a $102,000 allowance optional claiming race for 3-year-olds and up over 7 furlongs on the dirt. Approximate post time is 1:30 p.m. ET.
#5, Line Judge, Ricardo Santana, Jr., 2-1
Line Judge will be making his 30th career start today (12-4-4) and his 10th this year (2-2-3). He has had three straight third-place finishes, including his last in an allowance optional claiming race at Keeneland on Oct. 12. In five career starts at Churchill, he has posted two wins, including his last there by 3 ¼ lengths in the $120,000 Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes on June 29. Ricardo Santana Jr. gets the mount today for trainer Michael Maker and look for Line Judge to improve off his third-place finish here on Sept. 20. I’m taking a shot. The pick.
#4, Whereshetoldmetogo, Tyler Gaffalione, 8-5
Although this will be his 18th career start (6-4-0) today, this is only his third start of the year (0-1-0) in his first appearance at Churchill Downs. He had a runner-up finish by a length in an allowance optional claiming race at Keeneland in his last on Oct. 12, but two starts back finished an impressive second, losing just by a neck, to Firenze Fire in the $300,000 Grade 3 Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx Racing on Sept. 22. Tyler Gaffalione is in the saddle for trainer Brad Cox and based off the Gallant Bob performance alone, he will be a horse to reckon with here. Runner-up.
#6, Eight Town, Julien Leparoux, 4-1
This will be Eight Town’s first start since Sept. 16, 2018, where he finished second in an allowance optional claiming race at Belmont Park. He has finished in the money in three of his last four starts, including a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes on March 3, 2018, but has not won since an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park in December 2017, capping a three-race win streak. Julien Leparoux gets the call for the first time for trainer Brain Lynch and maybe that is what the doctor ordered. Obviously, the layoff is a big concern, but having Leparoux in the saddle helps. Contender.
#2, Cove Blue, Channing Hills, 7-2
Cove Blue raced in six straight allowance optional claimers, including a win by 2 ½ lengths at Saratoga on Aug. 16. His last was a huge jump up in the Grade 2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 4, where he finished 8th. Today, he is back in familiar company with Channing Hill getting the call for the second straight time for trainer Dale Romans. This will be Cove Blue’s sixth start at Churchill Downs, where he is 1-1-0. Look for a huge improvement today from his last. In the mix.
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By Lou Monaco