Churchill Downs Picks – Friday, September 18, 2020

| September 18, 2020 12:05 am PDT

Thoroughbred racing at Churchill Downs kicks off the weekend with a ten-race card featuring maiden, starter, and claiming races. I find three of the richest purses and take a close look at the competitors, the underdogs, and the value bets.

Read on for my picks and predictions for Friday’s richest races at Churchill Downs.

Picks for Churchill Downs Race 5

This is a maiden special weight race for three-year-olds and upward running a distance of 1-1/16 miles on turf for a purse of $75,000.

Regardless of whether the 2/1 also-eligible Lake Nimrod makes it into the race, I like the 5/2 Ten Flat, with Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, for the win here. This three-year-old colt posted second-place wins in two of his three career starts.

There are three entries here at 10/1, and I think one of them—Vedder, piloted by Florent Geroux, stands the best chance of a money finish. This four-year-old gelding finished in the money two of his four career starts at Woodbine, where he placed fourth and fifth in the two no-money finishes. Those were all in 2019, however, so this is a little more chancy than I like, so feel free to ignore my show bet recommendation.

  • Win: Ten Flat 5/2
  • Show: Vedder 10/1

Picks for Churchill Downs Race 7

This is a maiden special weight race for two-year-olds running a distance of 6-1/2 furlongs for a purse of $75,000.

I like the second-favored (3/1) Stayin’ Out Late, with Ricardo Santana, Jr., aboard. This colt has no starts on record but has shown performance in recent workouts superior to the morning line favorite.

At 15/1, Coastal Waters, with Shaun Bridgmohan in the irons, could be a value show bet. This colt finished fourth in his sole career start but has shown good performance in the longer distances during recent workouts at Canterbury Park.

  • Win: Stayin’ Out Late 3/1
  • Show: Coastal Waters 15/1

Picks for Churchill Downs Race 9

This is an allowance race for three-year-olds and upward running a distance of 1-1/8 miles for a purse of $77,000.

I’m sticking with the 2/1 morning line favorite here—Communicator, with Florent Geroux in the irons. This four-year-old gelding moneyed two of his four career starts, winning one of them.

At 12/1, I like Glory Road, with Tyler Gaffalione aboard, for a show ticket. This three-year-old gelding moneyed one of his two career starts (he finished fourth in the other one), and his recent workouts show he has what it takes for a money finish here.

  • Win: Communicator 2/1
  • Show: Glory Road 12/1

More Racing Tips for Today

Churchill Downs had plenty of value bets today, and I found even more at these other two tracks I put under the microscope:

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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