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Check out our predictions and odds for the Chilukki Stakes at Churchill Downs!
R Santana Jr
SHE CAN’T SING
B J Hernandez Jr
LIBERTY M D
*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.
$5 Exacta Box - Mariah’s Princess, Liberty M D and Coach = $30
$5 Exacta Box - Mariah’s Princess, Liberty M D and Center Aisle = $30
If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Mariah’s Princess (9/2).
The stakes experienced Coach will be after her first career graded stakes victory when she headlines a competitive field of seven fillies and mares entered in Saturday’s $300,000 Chilukki Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Brad Cox, Coach was a stakes winner at the Louisville oval as a 2-year-old and added the Pippin Stakes at Oaklawn Park early this year and in between competed in a number of graded stakes.
Away for almost eight months, the Grade 3 Chilukki will be her second start back after finishing second in the Twixt Stakes last month at Laurel.
Chief among Coach’s rivals in the one-mile Chilukki is Center Aisle. Trained by Paulo Lobo, the Into Mischief mare won the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl late last year at Gulfstream Park over the classy Frank’s Rockette.
She could not handle Grade 1 competition earlier this year, but Center Aisle returned from a layoff to defeat allowance competition last month at Keeneland.
Another who should get plenty of attention on Saturday is the stakes-winning Mariah’s Princess. Also recently brought back from a layoff, she returned three weeks ago to finish second in an allowance event at Keeneland.
Trained by Brad Cox, this 4-year-old Commissioner filly has the most stakes experience in the field and looks like a legitimate favorite on Saturday. A two-time stakes winner, she earned her first stakes score at Churchill Downs two seasons ago in the Rags to Riches.
Ninth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks in 2021, she returned from that effort to prove herself at this type of level. After a solid winter, she returned from a layoff to run a good second last out in the Twixt Stakes at Laurel.
This one is a little tougher, but she should show improvement second time back. She is the one to beat, but far from a sure thing in this wide open field.
This daughter of Into Mischief earned her first career graded stakes win late last year in the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl at Gulfstream over the classy Frank’s Rockette. Unfortunately, she was not able to run with that success, failing badly in a pair of Grade 1 races to begin this season.
Given a freshening by trainer Paulo Lobo, she returned to win a Keeneland allowance race in game fashion. A winner at Churchill Downs last year at 6 1/2-furlongs, both of her wins this year came at the six furlong distance.
I am not convinced that she will be as good as she stretches out to a flat mile, but given her class and recent win, she is a must use in the exotics.
This Ghostzapper filly has only seven career starts in her three-season career, but when she has run, she has been good. A winner of two straight late last year, she earned her first stakes victory at Oaklawn Park eleven months ago.
Off for an extended period, she returned three weeks ago at Keeneland and made a sharp move before weakening late to finish second in an allowance race. Off the prep, she should be ready for this stakes test.
It’s a big ask, in only her second start of the year, but I think she has the talent to take home her first graded stakes victory on Saturday. She is the top pick.
The first thing that jumps off the page with this 5-year-old daughter of Constitution is her career record at Churchill Downs. She has four wins and a second-place finish in five career starts at the Louisville oval for trainer Ian Wilkes.
She has tried graded stakes before and failed, but both came against tougher fields than this and away from Churchill. Two starts back she was a sharp winner over a good allowance field locally.
I think the stretch out to a flat mile will not be a problem. With her tactical speed and ability to finish strongly, I like her chances in a race in which she should offer solid value.
The only 3-year-old in the field, this John Ortiz-trained filly returned from a layoff to run two very solid allowance races in the last two months.
A daughter of Super Saver, she finished second to the classy Secret Oath in the Grade 3 Honeybee before the layoff. Looking good since her return and never having run a bad race in her short career, she merits respect in this test.
She should be mature enough now to handle the assignment of older stakes females, but class will be the question on Saturday. She could prove up to the task, but I like a couple of others better.
Primarily a turf horse of late, this daughter of Bernardini comes back to the main track after eight consecutive starts on the grass. She actually had solid success on the turf, with three stakes wins in her last six starts.
None of them were graded, but they were good enough to believe that she can compete here if she can move that same form to the dirt. Previously, she has run some good races on the dirt, without being a stakes winner on the surface.
A threat if she has become a better horse than she once was, I will wait and see here, in a race where she finished well back in last season.
A 4-year-old daughter of Empire Maker, this mare from the barn of Jonathan Wong comes in off one of the best races of her career when third in the Grade 2 Zenyatta last month at Santa Anita.
In fact, she has proven that she belongs with four pretty solid efforts since moving to stakes company. Having said that, it is still a little hard to know how she will fit in with this group while leaving the West for the first time.
Like everyone in the field, she cannot be eliminated, but I do like others better on Saturday.
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Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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