Premier horse racing returns to Churchill Downs with a spate of stakes races on Saturday, including the Audubon and Shawnee Stakes.
All the big races are worth $200,000, so there is plenty at stake and horse racing odds are available.
We look at two of the biggest races on the card and feature the best winning chances.
American Turf Form Stacks Up
We’re looking at the American Turf Stakes as the main lead-up for the Audubon Stakes.
Red Run and Smokin’ T come out of the Churchill Downs feature, which was taken out by Stolen Base.
Smokin’ T finished fourth and the 3-year-old colt has shown enough ability throughout his career, including a win at Gulfstream Park in February.
The son of War Front followed it up with a third placing in the Cutler Bay before running in the highly-rated Grade II American Turf, so that form should stack up nicely.
Finishing sixth in the same race was Red Run, who is rated higher than Smokin’ T. Red Run has mixed form since winning his debut at Churchill Downs but the ability is there.
The 3-year-old colt by Gun Runner couldn’t find his best form when running 10th in the Saratoga Special before taking out the Texas Turf Mile to kick off 2022, so that was a step in the right direction.
It’s tough to overlook that sort of form and we expect Red Run to be right around the mark in the Audubon Stakes.
Grand Sonata is the biggest threat to the pair following a second placing in the Grade III Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland. It was a tidy effort behind Sy Dog, which followed consecutive wins at Gulfstream Park.
His wins came in the Dania Beach and Kitten’s Joy. The Kitten’s Joy is a highly-rated race for this level of racing so Grand Sonata is a top winning hope in the Audubon Stakes.
Pauline’s Pearl Returns in Shawnee Stakes
The Shawnee Stakes has attracted a small but exciting field.
We’re excited to see the return of Pauline’s Pearl, who won the Grade I La Troienne at Churchill Downs last start. It was a terrific victory and she’s looking to back it up with another top-class victory.
“She was a nice filly early that continuously competed and got better,” trainer Steven Asmussen said.
“She came back a [better] 4-year-old. All four races this year have been tremendous. It is so satisfying for her to come back and get her first Grade I on Oaks Day. She did her best last year in the Oaks. You can see the improvement one year has made in her.”
The 4-year-old filly by Tapit has more experience than many fillies going around, including wins in the Fantasy Stakes and Houston Ladies Classic.
Her biggest rival is Ava’s Grace, who finished third in the La Troienne. The daughter of Laoban had won an allowance-level race prior, so it was a massive rise in class and she handled the pressure well.
Betting online markets have Pauline’s Pearl favored to beat Ava’s Grace again, but there won’t be much between them on the line.