Horse bettors are still basking in the excitement of last weekend’s Breeders’ Cup including Arrogate’s stunning upset over California Chrome in the Classic. One of the top events on this Saturday’s card at Churchill Downs is the Commonwealth Turf as part of a full day’s racing at one of the nation’s top horse betting tracks.
Right now five entries are listed as probable for Saturday’s race in what should be a rather deep field of turf runners given that they all come in with rating by Horse Racing Nation. The following is a look at my top betting pick to win along with a second and third choice to wheel together in a trifecta play.
2016 Commonwealth Turf- Churchill Downs
The Commonwealth Turf is a Grade 3 major stakes race open to three-year-old thoroughbreds. It will be contested on the turf track at Churchill over a distance of 1 1/16 miles and the total prize purse for this year’s race has been set at $100,000.
The field for this race may be small, but there are some quality turf horses in the lineup led by trainer Mike Maker’s Sir Dudley Digges. He is the only horse in the probable field that is ranked by Horse Racing Nation at No. 218. His current HRN rating stands at 7.49 following a strong second-place finish in the non-graded Breeder’s Stakes at Woodbine on Aug. 21 over a distance of 1½ miles.
This three-year-old Canadian-bred colt has finished in the money in six of his previous seven events this season. Earlier this summer, he won the non-graded Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine at a distance of 1¼ miles after finishing third in the Plate Trial Stakes at that same track across 1 1/8 miles of turf.
My second choice for this race would be trainer Bernard Flint’s One Mean Man. This three-year-old Kentucky-bred colt is coming off a victory in the non-graded Jefferson Cup at Churchill on Oct 1 over a distance of 1 1/8 miles as part of a run that boasts four victories in a five-race span. His biggest win of the year came in the Grade 3 American Derby at Arlington Park on July 9 over a distance of 1 1/8 miles. He finished just outside the money in fourth place this year’s Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington in a strong field that included American Patriot and Beach Patrol.
This has been one of the more active three-year-olds this season with nine races under his belt. Another victory you can add to the list was in the non-graded Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury Park in last August. His HRN rating comes in at 6.12.
Moving down the list of probable’s for Saturday’s Commonwealth; I am going with Zapperini as my third choice to round out a trifecta play. Trained by Greg Foley, this three-year-old Kentucky-bred colt comes into this race fresh off an impressive second-place run in the Jefferson Cup. I also like the fact that he is very familiar with this track having run at Churchill three times over the course of his racing career.
Earlier in the season, he placed fifth in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds before fading to 11th in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland as part of the Kentucky Derby prep season. His HRN rating coming into this race is 6.39.