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.
Welcome to the TwinSpires Blog. Our contributors will be continually updating posts to offer commentary, insight, advice and expert opinions on horse racing and wagering. The goal is to help you win more and become a better all around horse player.
TwinSpires' horse racing author, handicapper, and podcast host, Derek Simon of Denver, Colo. offers his insightful, humorous and sometimes controversial take on the horse racing industry. He even publishes the ROI on the picks he gives out.
TwinSpires' harness racing expert, Frank Cotolo follows all of the big North American circuits throughout the year, providing the best value picks and latest news from the sulky.
The Director of Marketing for Bloodstock Research Information Services (BRIS) and a lifelong Thoroughbred racing enthusiast and astute handicapper, Ed joined Churchill Downs Inc. following nine years as a writer and editor with Thoroughbred Times.
A writer and editor who has been following horse racing for fifteen years. Peter has written books for the Daily Racing Form Press; Crown; and Simon and Schuster; among other publishers, and regular features in The Horseplayer Magazine.
A television racing analyst for Churchill Downs, Jill has earned acclaim and a loyal audience throughout Thoroughbred racing.