Race 9 at Churchill Downs | Saturday, May 23 | Post Time 5:12 PM Eastern Time
Blame Stakes| Purse $100,000 | One Mile | Four Year Olds and Upward
If I’m even close to being right about either of the top two contenders, this could be a very profitable race. One of the reasons is the morning line favorite is Owendale (8), who I will use in second on exacta tickets but who I think is a very bad favorite. The reason he opens at 3/1 is he finished second in the Grade 1 Clark Stakes over the track in his most recent start. HOWEVER, that start was six months ago, AND he’s a deep closer who can be subject to traffic trouble. His three wins last year all came versus three year olds only, in the Ohio Derby, Oklahoma Derby and Lexington Stakes. Those are all Grade 3 races and none had the best three year olds in the division. In short, Owendale doesn’t have nearly the 25% probability to win suggested by those odds.
Extraordinary Jerry (9) will be my top choice, opening at 12/1. A lightly raced (12 starts) five year old who has run on grass in 11 of his 17 races, Extraordinary Jerry has proven to be a MUCH better horse on dirt where his record is three-for-six, including all three of his dirt starts last year from May through September before a layoff. The first of the two wins came at Saratoga at nine furlongs and by eight lengths and the second came in a $150K stakes race at the same one-turn mile trip as this race. His other win last year came in a one-turn mile as well, and those three wins earned 108, 105 and 101 Equibase figures which stack up very well in this field particularly against Owendale, who earned a 108 figure when second in the Clark for which he’s been made the starting favorite. Extraordinary Jerry has been in training for the end of March in Florida and changed hands since his last race in September, to the competent hands of Dermot Magner. Javier Castellano taking the call is icing on the cake for this dirt-loving mile-loving horse to post the upset.
Alwaysmining (4) is the other horse I’ll absolutely have to bet to win here, as he opens at 20/1. With nine wins in 19 dirt races, Alwaysmining is another who has proven he loves the one-turn mile, where he’s a perfect three-for-three. He won the Jennings Stakes in January at the trip and the Miracle Wood Stakes in March of 2019 as well. Having banked more than a half-million, while winning nine of 20 overall and two of three this year, Always Mining has earned 117, 113 and 105 figures in three of his last four races and certainly checks every box I can think of so he is a strong contender as well.
Silver Dust (7) and Global Campaign (3) are two more that deserve respect to some extent as win contenders, and then there are five others who might be second or third. In this 14 horse field, opening up the wallet a bit is okay because the reward could be well worth the risk. Silver Dust missed by a neck over the track in the Lukas Classic last September then won both the G3 Louisiana Stakes and G3 Mineshaft Stakes this winter. He’s been working well and his 113 figure from the Lukas Classic stacks up well here if repeated. Global Campaign may get bet below his 9/2 starting odds as he comes in of a strong win at Gulfstream following nine months off. He won the Peter Pan Stakes a year ago this month and the 109 figure earned last month can be repeated or improved upon.
For the exotics I’ll use Backyard Heaven (6), Owendale (8), Snapper Sinclair (10), American Anthem (11) and Diamond King (14).
Win Bets: Extraordinary Jerry (9) AND Alwaysmining (4) to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.
For smaller bets, consider Silver Dust (7) and Global Campaign (3) at odds of 9/2 or more.
Box Extraordinary Jerry (9), Alwaysmining (4), Silver Dust (7) and Global Campaign (3).
Another exacta, which if played also includes the combinations above (so you don’t necessarily have to play both), is:
Extraordinary Jerry (9), Alwaysmining (4), Silver Dust (7) and Global Campaign (3) over Extraordinary Jerry (9), Alwaysmining (4), Silver Dust (7) and Global Campaign (3), Backyard Heaven (6), Owendale (8), Snapper Sinclair (10), American Anthem (11) and Diamond King (14).