Churchill Downs Picks – Friday, October 30, 2020

| October 29, 2020 2:52 pm PDT

Churchill Downs brings us another ten-race schedule of maiden, claiming, and allowance matches on both turf and on the main track. The rain continues, and since all turf races on Thursday were moved to the main track, you can expect a similar situation to ensue for Friday. The main track, of course, is sloppy.

Read on for my Churchill Downs picks and betting tips for Friday’s richest races.

Picks for Churchill Downs Race 8

This is an allowance optional claiming race for three-year-olds and upward running a distance of 6-1/2 furlongs for a purse of $89,000.

I like the third-favored (5/1) entry here—Sir Alfred James, with Colby Hernandez in the irons. This four-year-old gelding moneyed three of his four career starts, winning two of them.

At 20/1, I’m buying a show ticket on Wild Popit, ridden by Corey Lanerie. This five-year-old finished in the money five of his ten starts.

  • Win: Sir Alfred James 5/1
  • Show: Wild Popit 20/1

Pick for Churchill Downs Race 9

This is an allowance optional claiming race for three-year-olds and upward running a distance of 1-1/8 miles for a purse of $92,000.

My money is on the third-favored (5/1) Royal Mesa, with Rafael Bejarano aboard. This four-year-old colt finished in the money nine of 15 career starts, winning three, and his 2020 record is more impressive than those of the two horses the morning line fancied more: Three money finishes in six starts, one of them a win.

The morning line says the coupled entries are the longest least likely to win in this race (15/1) and I’m inclined to agree. In fact, I don’t see either of them finishing in the money at all, so save your long-money.

  • Win: Royal Mesa 5/1

Pick for Churchill Downs Race 10

This is a maiden special weight race for two-year-old fillies running a distance of 1-1/16 miles on turf for a purse of $85,000.

I like the second-favored (4/1) entry in this race—Queen of the Green, with James Graham in the irons. This filly moneyed her single career start with a second-place at Keeneland earlier this month, and her performance in recent workouts is superior to that of her competition.

I see no long-odds entries in this race—even from among the also-eligibles/MTOs—worth risking even a show bet.

  • Win: Queen of the Green 4/1

More Friday Horse Racing Predictions

Churchill Downs was rich in underdogs although a tad sparse in value show bets, but never fear—I found plenty of both at the other two tracks I reviewed for Friday:

  • Belmont Park Picks for October 30
  • Golden Gate Fields Picks for October 30
J.W. Paine
J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at He's written for television and the printed media, and is a published novelist (as Tom Elliott).

Paine loves writing about Las Vegas nearly as much he loves living here. An experienced gambler, he's especially familiar with thoroughbred horseracing, poker, blackjack, and slots.

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