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Lukas Classic Odds: Heavy Competition at Churchill Downs this Saturday

Written by: Brian Zipse
Updated September 26, 2023
12 min read

Lukas Classic Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2023 Lukas Classic at Churchill Downs!





J Graham

N Pessin




C Torres

C Summers




F Geroux

B Cox




B J Hernandez Jr

K McPeek




M Garcia

V Oliver




R Santana Jr

J Hiles




J C Ferrer

L Schultz




C Lanerie

G Forster




T Gaffalione

T Pletcher

Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.

Lukas Classic Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - Rattle N Roll over Trademark, Americanrevolution, and Whelen Springs = $30 
  • $5 Exacta Part Wheel  - Trademark and Americanrevolution over Rattle N Roll, Trademark, Americanrevolution, and Whelen Springs = $30 
  • If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Rattle N Roll (9/5).

Take a look at our Horse Racing Calculator and ensure your bets!



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Lukas Classic at Churchill Downs Predictions

A three-time graded stakes winner this season, Rattle N Roll headlines a field of nine older males entered in the Grade 2 Lukas Classic on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Kenny McPeek, the 4-year-old chestnut colt will look to bounce back from a disappointing effort last time out in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Saratoga. 

Heading into that race, the earner of $1.7 million strung together four big efforts with a trio of Grade 3 wins in the Ben Ali, Pimlico Special, and Blame Stakes before finishing a good second in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster.

Chief among his opposition in the 9-furlong Lukas Classic will be Americanrevolution. A Grade 1 winner of the Cigar Mile as a 3-year-old, the 5-year-old son of Constitution has not raced much since. 

The Todd Pletcher trainee only ran three times last year, finishing second in both the Stephen Foster and Jockey Club Gold Cup to Olympiad. In his only start in 2023, he finished fourth in the Evan Shipman for New York-breds last month.

Another to watch on Saturday could be Five Star General, who figures to be the main speed of the $400,000 race. 

Trained by Grant Forster, the 7-year-old veteran has not finished worse than second in four starts this year and comes into the race off a nice win in the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs.

Lukas Classic Predictions and Race Analysis

Rattle N Roll

This son of Connect has proven himself as one of the best older dirt males in the nation this year with a series of strong performances for trainer Kenny McPeek. 

He’s won three graded stakes races and has run well at Churchill Downs throughout his career. The last one was not great, but the slow pace while going 10 furlongs at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup hurt his chances. 

With more speed here at a track he likes going 9 furlongs, I am looking for a return to his top form. He is a deserving favorite and the top pick.


A Grade 1 winner in New York less than two years ago, it will be a matter of whether this Todd Pletcher-trained runner can once again find his best after being away for much of the past two seasons. 

Even last year, when he didn’t win, he ran solid performances to be second in a pair of big races in only three 2022 starts. His return race after a long layoff was certainly a disappointment, but not bad enough to believe that he can’t run with these again. 

There are certainly mixed signals here, but I do expect big improvement from that tightener. I believe he is a contender on Saturday.  

Five Star General

The speed of the speed in this field, this 7-year-old veteran looks to continue his good form against a very tough field on Saturday. 

With two wins and a second in stakes races around the country in his last three, he clearly is going well right now. 

The distance of 9 furlongs, however, and with plenty of horses with tactical speed in the race, have me believing that he is going to be hard-pressed to hold them off down the lane. If he is allowed to relax early, he becomes a big threat, but I expect pressure instead. 

Whelen Springs

After spending much of his early career sprinting, this son of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense has found success in stretching out to two turns of late. 

In a new barn for the last three starts, he has run three very solid races at a mile or more. The only negative is that they all came at Monmouth Park, so he still has to prove that he can produce those kinds of performances at other tracks. 

He will likely be tasked with going after Five Star General early, which could be tough, but he looks like a contender in the Lukas Classic.


Since winning a graded stakes race at Gulfstream Park against a little lesser than he will face here, this son of Brethren has been chasing good horses. 

While racing against legitimate graded stakes types in the last three, he has rallied up for a share without truly threatening the winners. 

This will be his second start for trainer Chad Summers, so improvement is a possibility. Still, of the horses that figure to be running strongly late, I simply like Rattle N Roll better.


One thing that immediately stands out about this son of Upstart is a record of four wins from five tries at Churchill Downs. 

Granted, most of them came in easier races than this, but the Vicky Oliver runner has developed into a solid stakes performer this year at 4. 

He comes in off three straight good performances and has won at the distance. Of all the horses in here with attractive odds, he is the one that appeals to me the most. He will be a must-use in my exotic tickets.


This 5-year-old Brad Cox trainee seemed to have not quite lived up to the potential he flashed earlier in his career. 

Still, he’s a millionaire and multiple-stakes winner who has been competitive in several stakes races this year. His lone stakes win in 2023 came against lesser competition while going 12 furlongs. 

Against a field of this level, he looks to be a cut below this year. I cannot completely dismiss him on class, and he has winning connections, but a win here would come as some surprise.

Happy American

A confirmed late runner, this son of Runhappy will look to get over the hump and defeat Rattle N Roll after losing to him in his last three races. 

He can be somewhat inconsistent for trainer Neil Pessin, but his last two tries in the Blame and Stephen Foster were both solid.  

With almost no early speed, it will be a matter of how many horses he can pass in the stretch. Certainly, a threat to rally up into the exotics, I like others better for the top spots on Saturday.

Blue Devil

This son of Uncle Mo moves up to a new class level on Saturday after a pair of wins against allowance horses at Saratoga. 

The improving gelding has never tested a stakes race before, let alone a $500,000 race, but his form of late has been quite good and should be given consideration. Trained by Jeff Hiles, his two races at Saratoga are good enough to be a contender in here. 

Still, as one of many in the field with tactical speed and facing graded stakes competition for the first time, I am looking elsewhere.



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How to Watch the Lukas Classic

  • What: Lukas Classic (Grade 2) 
  • Location: Churchill Downs
  • Time: Saturday, September 30 at 5:26 pm Eastern time
  • How to Watch: FanDuel TV
  • Purse: $500,000
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Brian Zipse

292 Articles

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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