06/15/2006 11:00PM

Churchill Pick-4 preview for Saturday

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Churchill Downs $250,000 Guaranteed Pick-4

Churchill Downs - Race 8

1 1/8 Miles (Turf)

Regret (Grade 3)

3-year-old fillies.

Purse $200,000. There are two ways that handicappers can attack the first leg of the Pick-4. One option is to single logical favorite Lady of Venice, an impressive winner of her United States debut at Keeneland. Another possibility is to search for value by loading up the ticket with solid second-tier contenders. Fiery Dancer ran pretty well in the key race Edgewood on Churchill sod two starts ago. She pressed the pace set by Beau Dare before willingly taking over in the stretch. She looked to have the race won in midstretch, but succumbed to Magnificent Song's late rally in the final yards. She returned from that race to beat several of the foes she'll face today in an off-the-turf allowance win on May 29, and projects for a good stalking trip under Rafael Bejarano.

Magnificent Song tripped out nicely en route to beating Fiery Dancer in the Edgewood. She found a great spot going into the first turn, angled out for room in the stretch, and got up in time despite changing back to her wrong lead nearing the wire. The lightly-raced filly goes out for top connections, and will make the important third start of the form cycle. A fast pace would likely work to her advantage.

Consistent May Night has been knocking on the door in recent races, and she was only beaten a little more than a length in the Edgewood. This late-runner should appreciate the expected pace help, and she acts like the extra distance won't be a problem.

Beau Dare's best races come when she's on the front, and she can get a bit ornery if she doesn't get her way. It will interesting to see if she gets an easy lead with Red Cherries Spin entered, but could prove dangerous if allowed to relax on the front.

Salty Response won her turf debut in nice fashion and seems to have some upside potential. She draws a tough post, and steps up in class, but shouldn't be ignored if the price is square.

Lady of Venice was visually impressive at Keeneland, and looms a deserving favorite, but her numbers aren't much better than those of her main competition, and she'll likely be an underlay. She could be any kind.

Churchill Downs - Race 9

1 1/8 Miles

Fleur De Lis Handicap (Grade 2)

Fillies and mares

3-year-olds and upward

Purse $300,000. Grade 1 winner Happy Ticket is a pair of necks away from being undefeated this season, and while she had no visible excuses for her two defeats at Oaklawn this spring, a repeat of those Beyer Speed Figures would make her tough to beat in the Fleur De Lis. A mare with excellent tactical speed, she should be right there when they turn for home, and may be a better price than Todd Pletcher's Oonagh Maccool.

Oonagh Maccool has won her last three races by open lengths, but she seemed to lose her focus for a few strides during the stretch run of the Louisville Breeders' Cup on May 5. With the race well in hand, she changed back to her wrong lead in midstretch before righting herself on her way to victory. She loves this distance, and is strictly the one to beat.

Pletcher's "other" entrant, La Reason, owns four victories over the Churchill strip, and would benefit if the top two selections knock heads in the early stages.

Churchill Downs - Race 10

1 1/8 Miles

Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade 1)

3-year-olds and upward

Purse $750,000. With seven graded stakes winners in the lineup, this looks like an excellent matchup. Love of Money earned a huge 114 Beyer Speed Figure dominating optional claimers three back, then returned off the layoff last time to post a 110 number in the Grade 3 Westchester. He did all the running that day while on the lead only to be run down late by the in-form Sir Greeley. Love of Money will likely have to work a bit to grab the early lead from his far outside post, but he won the Pennsylvania Derby at this distance, and should be prominent when the field turns for home.

Brass Hat looked good rallying from off the pace to win the Grade 2 New Orleans and Grade 1 Donn Handicaps earlier this year. He ran well to be second in the Dubai World Cup before being disqualified for a medication positive. He loves this distance, and should get plenty of pace to attack in the stretch, but it will be interesting to see if he has any adverse reactions from the Dubai excursion.

Buzzards Bay has really returned to form in his last two starts, and part of that improvement is because he's been allowed to stay close to the lead. He won a key Oaklawn Handicap last time out in gate-to-wire fashion, and should be in the mix from the get-go in the Stephen Foster.

Cosmonaut was wide every step of the way in the Lone Star Park Handicap last time, and looks like an intriguing exotics prospect.

Churchill Downs - Race 11

1 1/16 Miles (Turf)

Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (Grade 3)

3-year-olds and upward. Fillies and mares

Purse $100,000. It's hard to call a Grade 2 winner of over 400K a disappointment, but My Typhoon has never really lived up to expectations. A half-sister to Galileo, My Typhoon sold for a boatload of money at auction, and has been a solid if not spectacular performer. My Typoon had a nice trip last time out in the Gallorette Handicap at Pimlico when stalking the pace in the two path. She forged to the front in upper stretch, but simply lacked the late punch needed to win the day. She projects for another good trip in the Mint Julep as Robby Albarado may have her perched just off of Ella Belle for the backstretch run. She won the Mrs. Revere over this surface and distance last year, and may go better in the second start of the year for the always-dangerous Bill Mott stable.

If My Typhoon falters, then Rich in Spirit may be the one to directly benefit. A sharp winner of her last start over this course, Rich in Spirit is already a proven graded stakes commodity, and may be rounding into her best form. The pace should be solid on Saturday, and Rich in Spirit figures to be rallying powerfully.

More Than Promised was bogged down inside behind a slow pace in her first start of the year in the Distaff Turf Mile. She is 4-5 at this distance, should be sharper with that last race under her belt, and the pace scenario will be kinder.

Louve Royale and Sky High Flyer may be overbet. The former may want to go a bit longer while Sky High Flyer will get a class test stepping up from a 'N1X' allowance win.

Possible Pick-4 Ticket

Leg A - Magnificent Song (no. 3), Beau Dare (no. 5), Fiery Dancer (no. 9), May Night (no. 10), and Salty Response (no. 11).

Leg B - Happy Ticket (no. 2)

Leg C - Brass Hat (no. 9), and Love of Money (no. 10)

Leg D - My Typhoon (no. 5).Churchill Downs $250,000 Guaranteed Pick-4

Churchill Downs - Race 8

1 1/8 Miles (Turf)

Regret (Grade 3)

3-year-old fillies.

Purse $200,000. There are two ways that handicappers can attack the first leg of the Pick-4. One option is to single logical favorite Lady of Venice, an impressive winner of her United States debut at Keeneland. Another possibility is to search for value by loading up the ticket with solid second-tier contenders. Fiery Dancer ran pretty well in the key race Edgewood on Churchill sod two starts ago. She pressed the pace set by Beau Dare before willingly taking over in the stretch. She looked to have the race won in midstretch, but succumbed to Magnificent Song's late rally in the final yards. She returned from that race to beat several of the foes she'll face today in an off-the-turf allowance win on May 29, and projects for a good stalking trip under Rafael Bejarano.

Magnificent Song tripped out nicely en route to beating Fiery Dancer in the Edgewood. She found a great spot going into the first turn, angled out for room in the stretch, and got up in time despite changing back to her wrong lead nearing the wire. The lightly-raced filly goes out for top connections, and will make the important third start of the form cycle. A fast pace would likely work to her advantage.

Consistent May Night has been knocking on the door in recent races, and she was only beaten a little more than a length in the Edgewood. This late-runner should appreciate the expected pace help, and she acts like the extra distance won't be a problem.

Beau Dare's best races come when she's on the front, and she can get a bit ornery if she doesn't get her way. It will interesting to see if she gets an easy lead with Red Cherries Spin entered, but could prove dangerous if allowed to relax on the front.

Salty Response won her turf debut in nice fashion and seems to have some upside potential. She draws a tough post, and steps up in class, but shouldn't be ignored if the price is square.

Lady of Venice was visually impressive at Keeneland, and looms a deserving favorite, but her numbers aren't much better than those of her main competition, and she'll likely be an underlay. She could be any kind.

Churchill Downs - Race 9

1 1/8 Miles

Fleur De Lis Handicap (Grade 2)

Fillies and mares

3-year-olds and upward

Purse $300,000. Grade 1 winner Happy Ticket is a pair of necks away from being undefeated this season, and while she had no visible excuses for her two defeats at Oaklawn this spring, a repeat of those Beyer Speed Figures would make her tough to beat in the Fleur De Lis. A mare with excellent tactical speed, she should be right there when they turn for home, and may be a better price than Todd Pletcher's Oonagh Maccool.

Oonagh Maccool has won her last three races by open lengths, but she seemed to lose her focus for a few strides during the stretch run of the Louisville Breeders' Cup on May 5. With the race well in hand, she changed back to her wrong lead in midstretch before righting herself on her way to victory. She loves this distance, and is strictly the one to beat.

Pletcher's "other" entrant, La Reason, owns four victories over the Churchill strip, and would benefit if the top two selections knock heads in the early stages.

Churchill Downs - Race 10

1 1/8 Miles

Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade 1)

3-year-olds and upward

Purse $750,000. With seven graded stakes winners in the lineup, this looks like an excellent matchup. Love of Money earned a huge 114 Beyer Speed Figure dominating optional claimers three back, then returned off the layoff last time to post a 110 number in the Grade 3 Westchester. He did all the running that day while on the lead only to be run down late by the in-form Sir Greeley. Love of Money will likely have to work a bit to grab the early lead from his far outside post, but he won the Pennsylvania Derby at this distance, and should be prominent when the field turns for home.

Brass Hat looked good rallying from off the pace to win the Grade 2 New Orleans and Grade 1 Donn Handicaps earlier this year. He ran well to be second in the Dubai World Cup before being disqualified for a medication positive. He loves this distance, and should get plenty of pace to attack in the stretch, but it will be interesting to see if he has any adverse reactions from the Dubai excursion.

Buzzards Bay has really returned to form in his last two starts, and part of that improvement is because he's been allowed to stay close to the lead. He won a key Oaklawn Handicap last time out in gate-to-wire fashion, and should be in the mix from the get-go in the Stephen Foster.

Cosmonaut was wide every step of the way in the Lone Star Park Handicap last time, and looks like an intriguing exotics prospect.

Churchill Downs - Race 11

1 1/16 Miles (Turf)

Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (Grade 3)

3-year-olds and upward. Fillies and mares

Purse $100,000. It's hard to call a Grade 2 winner of over 400K a disappointment, but My Typhoon has never really lived up to expectations. A half-sister to Galileo, My Typhoon sold for a boatload of money at auction, and has been a solid if not spectacular performer. My Typoon had a nice trip last time out in the Gallorette Handicap at Pimlico when stalking the pace in the two path. She forged to the front in upper stretch, but simply lacked the late punch needed to win the day. She projects for another good trip in the Mint Julep as Robby Albarado may have her perched just off of Ella Belle for the backstretch run. She won the Mrs. Revere over this surface and distance last year, and may go better in the second start of the year for the always-dangerous Bill Mott stable.

If My Typhoon falters, then Rich in Spirit may be the one to directly benefit. A sharp winner of her last start over this course, Rich in Spirit is already a proven graded stakes commodity, and may be rounding into her best form. The pace should be solid on Saturday, and Rich in Spirit figures to be rallying powerfully.

More Than Promised was bogged down inside behind a slow pace in her first start of the year in the Distaff Turf Mile. She is 4-5 at this distance, should be sharper with that last race under her belt, and the pace scenario will be kinder.

Louve Royale and Sky High Flyer may be overbet. The former may want to go a bit longer while Sky High Flyer will get a class test stepping up from a 'N1X' allowance win.

Possible Pick-4 Ticket

Leg A - Magnificent Song (no. 3), Beau Dare (no. 5), Fiery Dancer (no. 9), May Night (no. 10), and Salty Response (no. 11).

Leg B - Happy Ticket (no. 2)

Leg C - Brass Hat (no. 9), and Love of Money (no. 10)

Leg D - My Typhoon (no. 5).