Falls City Handicap (Churchill Downs) Predictions, Odds & Picks
If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Bonny South (8/5)
Post Position and Odds – Falls City Handicap
Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs!
|B Hernandez Jr.||K McPeek|
|R Santana Jr.||S Asmussen|
|F Geroux||B Cox|
|4||SMOOTH WITH A KICK||5/1|
|T Gaffalione||C Brown|
|5||OUR SUPER FREAK||9/2|
|G Saez||C Devaux|
|E Morales||G Arnold|
|C Lanerie||V Oliver|
|R Bejarano||V Oliver|
|C Landeros||I Wilkes|
Best Bets for the Falls City Handicap
Here are my plays ($50 in total)
$20 Exacta Bonny South over Envoutante = $30
$10 Exacta part wheel Bonny South over Our Super Freak and Market Rumor = $20
Bonny South (8/5)
Fair Grounds Oaks winner Bonny South tops a Thanksgiving Day field of nine fillies and mares set to go in Thursday’s Grade 2 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs.
The daughter of Munnings comes into the 1 1/8-mile Falls City off a fast-closing second in the Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan on Preakness weekend at Pimlico. Before that Bonny South finished a rallying runner-up behind likely Eclipse Award winner Swiss Skydiver in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga. The Falls City will be her first attempt against older horses.
Chief among her rivals will be another 3-year-old filly she has already faced twice before in Envoutante. Third, one place ahead of Bonny South in the Grade 1 Ashland, and fourth when behind her in Alabama, the Kenny McPeek-trained filly enters the Falls City off an easy win last in the Grade 3 Remington Park Oaks in Oklahoma.
Of the older mares, Our Super Freak and Smooth With a Kick should be the ones vying for the third choice on Thursday. The former has been knocking heads with good older females all year, with a second in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher and a third in the Grade 3 Shuvee being the best of her 2020 results. While the latter comes in off a sharp allowance win last month at Keeneland for trainer Chad Brown.
How to Watch the Falls City Handicap
|Falls City Handicap Race Information|
|What||Falls City Handicap (Grade 2)|
|When||Thursday, November 26 — 3:53pm Eastern time|
|How to Watch||Fox Sports 2|
When she won the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks back in March, she did it with an impressive sweeping rally for trainer Brad Cox which instantly made her one of the more talked about sophomore fillies in the land. A brief layoff followed and when she came back, she was unable to uncoil her strong late run when fourth in the Grade 1 Ashland. Since then, though, she has been very good in pair of second-place finishes in Alabama and the Black-Eyed Susan. In fact, with any racing luck, she would have won last time at Pimlico. On the negative, she might not get a strong pace to run at, but I suspect there will be enough for her to handle this group. Stabled at Churchill, I like her chances to earn a second graded stakes score on Saturday. She is the top pick.
While she is not a true speed horse, this 3-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo has shown the ability to be effective when going right to the lead before. I don’t think she beat much last time in winning the Remington Park Oaks, but it was still a smart win, and she has shown her class before running decently in back-to-back Grade 1 races. Breaking from the rail, rider Brian Hernandez should have her sitting first or second early and from there it will be just a matter of whether or not she can hold off Bonny South. She is clearly the biggest threat to the top pick.
Our Super Freak
The daughter of Mineshaft may have the earliest speed in the race and has been running against good horses of late. She couldn’t get it done against Grade 1 company in the Spinster last time, but her previous two starts were very competitive and against good horses. The 9 furlongs on Thursday may be her undoing, but if she can get an easy lead on a slow pace, she certainly has the class to be there all the way to the end. Of the potential speed horses, I do like Evoutante a little better, but she clearly merits respect.
Smooth With a Kick
On the bright side, this well-bred daughter of Candy Ride does seem to be on the improvement of late, but she has certainly burned a lot of money on the way. Her latest, an easy allowance win at Keeneland may have been her best yet, but to me, she will have to prove herself against stakes company, as she’s already failed against lesser many times in her career. This is not a particularly strong edition of the Falls City, so perhaps a repeat of her last puts her in with a shot, but I suspect she will not be worth her odds once again.
This 5-year-old Include mare has kept a strong company the past few years but has found little success while doing it, having not won since early last year. Perhaps a break from stakes racing would do her good, but in here she found another difficult spot. She is changing barns from Todd Pletcher to Steve Asmussen, so maybe that gives her a boost. Still, it’s hard to get excited about a horse who has been beaten in 12 straight races.
Unraced at 2, this daughter of Afleet Alex has made steady improvements for trainer Ian Wilkes in her nine starts this year. In her last race, she was afforded the lead in a paceless race and made the most of her opportunity, going wire to wire over the same track and distance as she will see on Thursday. She won’t get an easy lead this time around, but I like the way she showed good tactical speed in that one. Things obviously get tougher in here, but she might have improved enough to make some noise in her third stakes attempt.
One of two from the barn on Vicky Oliver, she finished a non-threatening fifth in this race last year and is one of several in here who have just not been winning. Having said that, she does have more class than several, and despite spending much of her time on turf recently, her last two dirt races, both against graded stakes company, were good enough to believe she could compete in here on her best. I like her better than her stablemate, but she still looks like a deserving longshot.
The other Vicky Oliver entrant has not actually finished first in a race in quite some time. There are some stakes tries in there, but she generally has been well beaten against stakes company. Her last two races, both allowance races at Churchill Downs, were good enough to give some hope, but it’s hard not to like most others better in here.
She’s only won once in eight tries on dirt and that came last time when she earned the victory through disqualification. Now she’ll try much tougher on Thursday and frankly looks a little overmatched. The last time she tried graded stakes company she finished the last of eleven on the turf. She is hard to recommend.
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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.
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