Churchill Downs Picks – Saturday, September 5, 2020

| September 4, 2020 11:54 pm PDT

It is finally Derby Day in Louisville, Kentucky, and Churchill Downs presents not only the Kentucky Derby but six other graded stakes races on its 14-race card for the day.

More than $6 million in purse money is up for grabs in the stakes races, including a record-breaking $3 million purse for the Kentucky Derby.

As far as weather is concerned, suffice it to say that it’s a little drier in Louisville.

I’ve got a lot to cover here with these seven races, so let’s get to it. Here are my Churchill Downs picks and betting tips for Saturday.

Picks for Race 8 – American Turf Stakes

This is a Grade II stakes race for three-year-olds running a distance of 1-1/16 miles on turf for a purse of $500,000.

I’m going with the morning line on this one and buying a win ticket on the 8/5 favorite, Smooth Like Strait, with John R. Velazquez in the irons. This colt finished in the money six of his eight career starts and won four of them.

At 12/1, I like American Butterfly’s chances of paying off on a show ticket, especially with jockey Joseph Talamo aboard. This colt moneyed ten of his 15 career starts, winning two of them.

  • Win: Smooth Like Strait 8/5
  • Show: American Butterfly 12/1

Picks for Race 9 – Pat Day Mile Stakes

This is a Grade II stakes race for three-year-olds running a distance of one mile for a purse of $500,000.

I like the second-favored (7/2) Echo Town with Ricardo Santana, Jr. aboard. This colt moneyed all seven of his career starts, winning four of them.

I think the 20/1 morning line odds highlights a value bet on Sonneman, ridden by Mannie Franco. This colt moneyed four of his six starts and won two of them. Show ticket only.

  • Win: Echo Town 7/2
  • Show: Sonneman 20/1

Pick for Race 10 – Iroquois Stakes

This is a Grade III stakes race for two-year-olds running a distance of one mile for a purse of $200,000.

I’m agreeing with the morning line on this race and going with the 7/5 heavy favorite, Therideofalifetime, with Florent Geroux aboard. This colt moneyed in both of all three of his career starts, winning one of them.

This is not quite as unpredictable as the usual race for two-year-olds, but there are four entries in this race with odds at 15/1 or longer. If you have to bet on a longshot to show, pick one of those.

  • Win: Therideofalifetime 7/5

Pick for Race 11 – Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes

This is a Grade II stakes race for fillies and mares four years old and upward running a distance of one mile on turf for a purse of $500,000.

I have to agree with the morning line in this race, as well—I like the heavy (4/5) favorite, Newspaperofrecord, with Javier Castellano in the irons. This four-year-old filly finished in the money for seven of her eight career starts and won five of them.

Sorry, but none of the long-odds entries in this race look like a payday to me, so let’s save our longshot money.

  • Win: Newspaperofrecord 4/5

Picks for Race 12 – Derby City Distaff Stakes

This is the Grade I stakes race for fillies and mares four years old and upward running a distance of seven furlongs for a purse of $500,000.

Of the four-morning line choices in this race, I like the 3/1 Ce Ce, with John R. Velazquez in the irons, the best. This four-year-old filly moneyed seven of her eight starts, winning four of them.

At 50/1, Crazy Sexy Munny is irresistible for a show bet. True, her jockey, Crystal Conning, is newer to the racing game than her fellow jockeys. Still, this four-year-old filly finished in the money for 15 of her 21 career starts—and won ten of them. I’m not so sure that an across-the-board bet here would be out of line.

  • Win: Ce Ce 3/1
  • Show/Across the Board: Crazy Sexy Munny 50/1

Picks for Race 13 – Turf Classic Stakes

This is the Grade I stakes race for four-year-olds and upward running a distance of 1-1/8 miles on turf for a purse of $1,000,000.

I’m going with the 6/1 Sacred Life, with Paco Lopez in the irons. This five-year-old finished in the money 12 of his 15 career starts and won six of them. Also, Lopez is the winningest jockey in this race.

At 15/1, Dontblamerocket, with Julien Leparoux aboard, is a good show ticket investment. This six-year-old gelding finished in the money 13 of his 18 career starts, winning seven of them.

  • Win: Sacred Life 6/1
  • Show: Don’tblamerocket 15/1

Pick for Race 14 – Kentucky Derby

This is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-olds running a distance of 1-1/4 miles for a purse of $3,000,000.

And at long last, here we are at the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby. Everyone, including the morning line, expects Tiz the Law to capture a second jewel before he goes on next month to clinch (presumably) the Triple Crown at the Preakness.

I’m not so sure. All but three of the horses breaking from the gate today have double-digit odds against them—the fourth-favored Thousand Words is at 15/1, for crying out loud.

Incidentally, this was going to be an 18-horse race, but late scratches have eliminated King Guillermo and Finnick the Fierce from the roster, so fans lose two of their favorite longshots. Don’t worry, there are still plenty of longshots available.

Okay, so here’s my call: the 3/5 favorite Tiz the Law wins this one. Sorry, but math doesn’t care what your heart wants.

Thirteen of the 16 starters in this race are long odds, and the vast majority of them are outright longshots. I don’t see any of them finishing in the money here, but if you still want to bet long, pick the longest odds you like to show.

  • Win: Tiz the Law 3/5

More Saturday Racing Tips

Amazing as it may seem, horse races are going on at other tracks today, and I found some good wagering opportunities at these two tracks.

J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at GamblingSites.com. 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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