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Racing expert Sweet Lou Monaco's picks for today's racing

We start another week of racing at the home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs.

The focus is on a $62,000 allowance optional claiming race (purse: $99,000) for 3-year-olds and up over 7 furlongs on the dirt. The large field of 12 will go to gate for race 9 of the 10-race card with an approximate post time of 5:06 p.m. ET.

#5, Alkhaatam, Julien Leparoux, 5-1

Alkhaatam has won two races in six starts this year, but has been out of the money in his last four, including two poor showings here at Churchill. He ran seventh two starts back in an allowance optional claiming race on Sept. 13 and in his second graded stakes starts, finished 11th in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster Stakes on June 15. Prior to the Stephen Foster, he finished in the money in four of his first five career starts (2-0-2), including his second straight win in an allowance race by 3 ¼ lengths on May 12. Julien Leparoux comes back for his second straight mount after a 5th-place finish in an allowance optional claiming race at Keeneland on Oct. 23. The fact he is back gives Alkhaatam a big shot at improvement at a distance he likes for a price under trainer Daniel Peitz. The pick.

#8, Curate, Corey Lanerie, 9-2

Curate has finished in the money in three straight (1-2-0) and five of his last six races (2-3-0), but is still looking for his first win here in three starts, including a runner-up finish by a ½ length two starts back in a claiming race on Sept. 22. His last start was also a runner-up finish by 1 ¾ lengths in a claiming race at Keeneland Oct. 12. Curate’s last win was by ¾ of a length to Texas Wedge (ridden by Corey Lanerie) in an allowance optional claiming race at Ellis Park on July 5th. Ironically, Lanerie gets his first mount today aboard Curate for trainer Peter Miller. I look for him to be right there at the end. Runner-up.

#4, Mojo Man, Ricardo Santana, Jr., 6-1

Mojo Man has posted two straight third-place finishes, including his last when in the mix in an allowance optional claiming race here on Sept. 28. His last win came here by 2 lengths flying down the stretch in an allowance race on Nov. 8, 2018. Mojo Man’s record at Churchill (1-1-2), so he likes this place. Ricardo Santana, Jr. gets aboard for trainer James DiVito. Contender.

#3, Done Deal, Chris Landeros, 5-1

Done Deal makes his 15th career start (5-0-3) today and his fifth (1-0-1) this year. He comes into this race winning an allowance optional claiming race by a neck over Tringale at Keeneland on Oct. 23. Chris Landeros was aboard for that in the first win for Done Deal since a 4-length impressive triumph in the Iowa Sprint Handicap at Prairie Meadows on July 6, 2018. Landeros is back for his second straight mount today for trainer Ian Wilkes.

PICKS: 5-8-4-3

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By Lou Monaco


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