Get informed before you make your picks at the betting window on Derby day!
Oddsmaker Mike Battaglia sets his picks for Thursday’s races at Churchill Downs. First post is at 1 p.m.
STELLA NOVA has won five of her eight races and moves up in class Thursday. She figures to be on or near the lead and looks best with Corey Lanerie picking up the mount. CRACK YOUR WHIP drops a notch in class and will be running at the end. BIG RED SEVEN drops in class after a dull effort but likes this track and is capable of better.
ALL SHACKED UP was a beaten favorite last out but may not have cared for the slop at Keeneland. He is a perfect 2 for 2 at Churchill and was claimed last out by Mike Maker. Look for him to rebound with a win Thursday afternoon. CRAWFORD looked good winning his last race at Keeneland and figures to be tough in here. HARDLY A SECRET prefers more distance but is a contender.
SAHARA BREEZE moves to the dirt after two races on grass. Ian Wilkes’ horses usually improve with racing and this one is capable of handling the surface switch. MISS KATIE BUG ran well here in September in her debut for Dale Romans and is the one to beat. LESSONS FROM AVERY went evenly at Keeneland and Robby Albarado rides for Charlie Lopresti.
FUTILE stretched out to Thursday’s distance last out at Keeneland and came away with an impressive win. Maker moves him up the ladder Thursday and he will have to deal with more early speed but he looks capable of the repeat score. BIG KICK likes this track and will be running at the end. His best makes him dangerous. ALLLIDOISDREAMOFYOU gets in light and can run well at decent odds.
MAJESTIC BOLD drops in for a tag for the first time after a decent race at Ellis back in August. She has the speed to be in contention throughout for Steve Asmussen and looks best at this level. CHANNEL NINE went evenly in her debut in Indiana and should move forward off of that one. SECRET SPENDER is a contender.
PUT DA BLAME ON ME has been idle since a sixth-place finish in the Groupie Doll at Ellis but won back to back races over this track prior to that. She posted a recent bullet work in preparation for her comeback and will be tough to beat Thursday. DREAMIN didn’t take to the grass in her last two races and will like the move back to the main track. She is the one to beat. DURANGO has been off since May but likes this track.
HUMOR just missed last out at Belterra and broke his maiden over the Churchill lawn last year. He drops in for a tag and rates the edge with Chris Hartman with Alex Canchari riding. SNAG has been off since August but drops back in for a tag for his return and figures to run well at this level. YOUNG AMERICAN can run well here.
BEHAVIORAL BIAS was a beaten favorite in his last race here in September but Al Stall figures to have him ready to go and he can make amends with a win Thursday. SPECTRE BOND won his career debut at Belmont back in June for Mark Casse. He got a big number in that one and is definitely the one to beat. FACTION CAT will be running at the end.
WAR BOND has won four races and has very good form since being claimed by Maker back in July. He can handle the distance and has the tactical speed to be in contention throughout. He gets the slight edge with Julien Leparoux picking up the mount. HONOVI just missed at Keeneland going a mile and half. He will be tough with a repeat of that one. ZAPPERINI is a definite contender in a well-matched turf race.
SILVER SOIREE drops in for a tag for the first time and figures to make the lead from the inside post. She could be tough to catch in here. AIKENETTA has been off since February but ran well in both of her races and is capable of solid effort despite the layoff. CANDY STRIPER is a contender.