Dan’s Double: Stakes Picks at Churchill Downs

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Dan’s Double of the week, featuring handicapping analysis from America's Best Racing's New York correspondent Dan Tordjman, is brought to you by Horseplayers.com, the official online qualifying site of the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). Horseplayers.com offers low-cost feeders every day and BCBC and NHC qualifiers every weekend, and it’s the only site where you can qualify for the $1 million BCBC. It’s free to sign up – click here to get information about registering and how to enter contests.

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Each Week, Tordjman will provide readers with his two best bets of the weekend and strategies for how to bet them. Tordjman will keep track of his return on investment (ROI) throughout the year and, as a bonus, he will also provide picks for a selection of the key races on the Triple Crown trail and the road to the Breeders’ Cup. Dan was able to manage a positive ROI for his plays in 2016 but was in the red for 2017. How will he do in 2018? To find out and to play along, come back every week and be sure to follow Tordjman on Twitter.

Saturday, June 16

Churchill Downs, Race 7, $200,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap, 9:05 p.m. ET 

#2 Mopotism: It generally feels like this filly is in over her head. After all, she has regularly run up against the likes of Unique Bella and Abel Tasman over the past year. Neither of those two spectacular fillies is entered here and I think it’s safe to say that Mopotism has kept some of the best company of any of those running in the Fleur de Lis. You’ll have to toss Mopotism’s most recent race last month — it wasn’t a good effort but it was over the turf. It looks like that was nothing more than an experiment, as they move her back to the dirt here where she’s run 17 of her 18 races. Jockey Mario Gutierrez has the option of keeping her close to the pace or taking back, which he might want to do given the presence of speedsters Farrell, Apologynotaccepted, and to a lesser degree, Blue Prize and Awestruck. I’d look for a nice ground-saving trip from Mopotism with a move around the turn that should have her in front inside the eighth pole.

$10 Budget
$2 win, place, and show on #2 Mopotism ($6)
$1 exacta 2,5 with 1,2,5 ($4)

$25 Budget
$4 win, place, and show on #2 Mopotism ($12)
$1 exacta box 1,2,5 ($6)
$1 trifecta box 1,2,5 ($6)

$50 Budget
$10 win, place, and show on #2 Mopotism ($30)
$2 exacta box 1,2,5 ($12)
$1 trifecta box 1,2,5 ($6)

Churchill Downs, Race 8, $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap, 9:39 p.m. ET

#6 Backyard Heaven: For a Grade 1 race, this choice seems overly obvious to me. In Backyard Heaven, I think we saw the birth of a star on Derby weekend when he was up with a sizzling pace and still drew off to romp in the Alysheba. In fairness, it was Hawaakom back in second and Good Samaritan in third, the latter of whom came back to finish seventh in the Met Mile last weekend. Backyard Heaven’s Equibase Speed Figure of 116 in the Alysheba was better than the 112 posted by #8 Irish War Cry in the Pimlico Special — and Beyer Speed Figures for Backyard Heaven are significantly higher than most of these, as well. There doesn’t appear to be a whole of speed in this race but I can see #1 Honorable Duty being sent from the rail. Backyard Heaven will either be on the lead or sit just off. I can’t see anyone sticking with him when he’s asked for run.

$10 Budget
$5 to win on #6 Backyard Heaven ($5)
$2 exacta box 1,6 ($4)

$25 Budget
$10 to win on #6 Backyard Heaven ($10)
$4 exacta box 1,6 ($8)
$1 trifecta box 1,6,9 ($6)

$50 Budget
$20 to win on #6 Backyard Heaven ($20)
$8 exacta box 1,6 ($16)
$2 trifecta box 1,6,9 ($12)

2018 ROI: -$739.70

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