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Racing expert Sweet Lou Monaco's picks for the River City Handicap at Churchill Downs

Once again, we head to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. for the 42nd running of the $175,000 Grade 3 River City Handicap, a 1 1/8 mile race for 3-year-olds and up on the turf.

The field of 10 will go to the starting gate for race 10 of the solid 11-race card with an approximate post time of 5:36 p.m. ET.

#4, Mr. Misunderstood, Florent Geroux, 5-2

The defending champion returns from last year’s ½ length win (his last win) coming off a runner-up finish by a ½ length to today’s entrant Space Mountain in the Remington Green Stakes at Remington Park on Sept. 29. Making his fifth start (0-1-2), he is in search of his first win of the year and has come close, finishing in the money in four of his last five starts. Florent Geroux is back in the saddle for trainer Brad Cox and I think he redeems his effort last time out and gets the win. The pick.

#2, Emmaus (IRE), Channing Hill, 5-1

With six graded stakes to her resume prior to today, Emmaus (IRE) has finished in the money in four of his last six starts, highlighted by a ¾ of a length win in an allowance race at Keeneland on Oct. 18 in his last, rebounding nicely after a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Sept. 14. He will be making his first start at Churchill Downs with Channing Hill in the irons for trainer Conor Murphy. I think he needed the last after three straight graded stakes appearances prior. Would not be surprised and at a price too. Runner-up.

#9, Admission Office, Jose Ortiz, 3-1

The four-year-old Admission Office has raced in three straight graded stakes races entering today and is coming off a disappointing 11th in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 5. Prior to that in his only start at Churchill Downs, eh finished third in the Grade 2 Wise Dan Stakes and prior to that finished runner-up by a ½ length to Catholic Boy in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico on May 18. Jose Ortiz rides for trainer Brian Lynch, who won this race in 2015 with Heart to Heart. I expect big time improvement from her last where she couldn’t get a trip at all and believe he will be there at the end. Contender.

#7, Bemma’s Boy, Julien Leparoux, 15-1

Bemma’s Boy has won two of his last three races, including his last by 2 ½ lengths in an allowance race at Keeneland on Oct. 4. He has raced three times at Churchill Downs, finishing a best 4th in his first start here in a claiming race on May 18. In his 16th career start (4-0-2), this will be his first graded stakes start. The impressive Julien Leparoux gets the mount for trainer Mike Maker, who has two other horses in today’s race including previously-mentioned Space Mountain and Cullum Road. In the mix.

PICKS: 4-2-7-9

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By Lou Monaco


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