• Multi-race bonanza tonight at Churchill

    POSTED Jun 16, 2012
    As if the Stephen Foster Handicap and three other stakes weren't enough to attract my attention to tonight's Downs After Dark program at Churchill Downs, the Louisville track has made the card even more appealing by adding a Pick 5 and Pick 4 to the proceedings.

    Races 4 and 7 kick off each of the Pick 5s with Pick 4s starting in races 1, 3, 5, and 8. Add rolling Pick 3s and doubles to the mix, and it's a multi-race player's dream especially since the Pick 3s, 4s, and 5s each have a $.50 minimum. TwinSpires.com has gotten in on the act, too, offering a 1-million points bonus on each of the four Pick 4s.

    It's enough horizontal action to make Jenna Jameson jealous, and it also means some races are more important than others. In this case, all eyes will be on the Stephen Foster not only because of its $400,000 purse and likelihood of determining the leader of the older male division but also because it is part of both Pick 5s and two Pick 4s (the Fleur de Lis is also part of both Pick 5s but only one Pick 4).

    The big question when dealing with both Pick 5s and the middle Pick 4 is what to do with Royal Delta whose best makes her the most likely winner of the Fleur de Lis, but we haven't seen her best this year, and she is almost a certain underlay in all wagering pools.

    Sterling Madame is my top pick, as I think she can have it all her own way under a sweetheart weight assignment of 115 (eight less than Royal Delta's impost and five off what she toted three weeks ago at Prairie Meadows).

    I like a couple prices enough in races 4 & 5 that if I beat the favorites there I'd feel silly not having Royal Delta on those tickets, so she's not a complete toss, but between Centre Court and Wise Dan, Royal Delta is the one I most want to play against especially since she's the shortest morning line price of that trio at 4-to-5.
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