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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Churchill Turf Stakes

- I like the Churchill Downs Pick 4 better than the national one, preferring the two turf stakes over the Phipps, which I find baffling despite there being only 5 entrants, and the Californian, which is too hard. The Grade 3 Regret is for 3 yo fillies at 9f on the grass; I love that kind of race. The top four finishers from the Edgewood Stakes at 8 1/2f at CD on Oaks day return for the Regret. Sweet Talker benefited from an inside trip and took that race, and has since beaten a couple other of these in an allowance. Out of the horses from the Edgewood, I like the second place finisher Rich in Spirit. She was 7 wide in closing from last and missing by less than a length in her second off a layoff, and should like the extra distance in her third. She just loves the turf, having never been beaten by more than 1 3/4 lengths in her 6 starts (3 wins). But for a price, I like Classy Charm (Silver Charm) for John Kimmel. She gets tested for class, having won an entry-level allowance in her last, her second turf try. She returned from a layoff at Keeneland and was live on the board despite the outside post. The blinkers were removed, and she changed tactics, rallying from off the pace 5 wide into swift closing fractions for the win. She’s been off for almost two months, but has worked steadily, gets Prado, and is listed at 8-1 morning line.

The final leg at Churchill is the 11th race, the Opening Verse at 1/1/16 mile, 3 yo and up. GP Fleet and Senor Swinger figure to vie for favoritism. It’s GP Fleet’s third off a layoff, and he gained a narrow win over Senor Swinger in an allowance, the last for both. GP Fleet seems to have taken a bit worse of the trips, going 8 wide for the win; and he draws the outside 8 post here. Senor Swinger gets the rail, and is also making his third start off a layoff, and won this race last year. He figures to be overbet, so I’m going to check out Seeking Answers. This 4 yo, trained by Charles Simon, has suddenly thrown in two huge turf wins after having been 1-11 on the surface, his last with a 103 Beyer. He’s had six weeks off to recover and also gets Prado. Silver Traffic is usually close for Frankel, and depending on what the versatile GP Fleet does out of the gate, he could find himself alone on the lead.