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Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic at Churchill Downs!
|J Talamo||P Lobo|
|G Corrales||L Rivelli|
|I Ortiz Jr||C Brown|
|M Franco||C Brown|
|J Leparoux||I Wilkes|
|L Saez||R Attfield|
|B J Hernandez Jr||D Stewart|
|F Prat||C Brown|
|R Bejarano||V Oliver|
|T Gaffalione||B Walsh|
$20 Daily Double – Adhamo with Zandon = $20
$10 Exacta Part Wheel – Adhamo with Public Sector, Tribhuvan and Shirl’s Speight = $30
If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Adhamo (9/2)
On a three-race winning streak, Shirl’s Speight will look for his second straight Grade 1 victory when he tops a field of ten entered in the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic at Churchill Downs.
The well-bred son of Speightstown unleashed a furious late charge last month at Keeneland to get up for the win in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile for trainer Roger Attfield.
A winner of 5-of-9 lifetime, the 5-year-old will get one furlong more in the 1 ⅛-mile Turf Classic. If he is to run his winning streak to four, he will need to defeat a three-pronged assault from trainer Chad Brown.
A winner of the last three editions of this race, Brown’s trio is led by Adamo, who was a Group 3 winner last year in France.
The 4-year-old son of Intello came with a big late run but just missed Cavalry Charge in his United States debut in Grade 3 Fair Grounds Stakes eleven weeks ago.
Brown’s other two for the Turf Classic will both be making their first start of the season. The speedy Tribhuvan wired a couple of graded stakes last year, including the Grade 1 United Nation Stakes at Monmouth.
Public Sector, meanwhile, won three straight graded stakes in New York last year, before finishing the season with a rallying fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby.
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This son of Speightstown had the appearance of being a really good horse at the beginning of his career back in the summer of 2020 but missed most of last year. He now looks to be returning to his best form, coming off a thrilling win last time in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile.
Trained by Roger Attfield, he will need to prove he is as good at the 9-furlong distance of the Turf Classic, as he is at a flat mile, but given how he finished, it is not likely to be a problem.
There is plenty to like from this talented horse who could be in the middle of an excellent season, but there are plenty of interesting contenders in here primed to prevent him from winning his fourth straight.
An impressive winner of the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland in the fall of 2020 for trainer Paulo Lobo, this Brazilian-bred son of Agnes Gold was lightly raced last year. He only got in three races but closed out the season with a strong effort to rally for third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
This will be his first race since then, which was six months ago, and while he is a dangerous competitor his past performances point to him needing a race or two to be at his best. I fear him, but will not use him this time in this deep field.
With plenty of rain in the forecast for Louisville this week, this French import should be right at home over a turf course with plenty of moisture. Last year at 3, he raced against strong competition and was a Group 3 winner. He was also beaten less than five lengths in the French Derby.
Now in the barn of Chad Brown, he looks to be on the verge of a big year in America. Left with a little too much to do in his American debut, he came flying and just missed in Grade 3 Fair Grounds Stakes.
I look for him to do even better in his second start for his new barn. This is a legitimate Grade 1 field he will face on Saturday, but I believe he will become a legitimate Grade 1 horse for Brown. He is the top pick.
The second of three from the Brown barn, this son of Kingman became a very nice 3-year-old in 2021. His three consecutive graded stakes win in New York did not feature fields like this, but were not pushovers either.
Given his excellent form last year, it would be easy to see him become a Grade 1 winner in 2022. This will be a tough spot for his first race since November, but given his barn’s penchant for bringing good horses back ready to run, he is one of the obvious threats in the Turf Classic.
The speed of the race, this French-bred son of Toronado had a solid season last year, in his second in the U.S. Twice a wire-to-wire winner of graded stakes in 2021, look for him to come out with a quick burst to the lead in the early stages of the Turf Classic.
From there, it will be just a matter of how far he can carry his speed, with a host of talented turf horses chasing into the stretch. Trained by Chad Brown, l expect him to come back in good form and not relinquish the lead easily.
He’s not my top pick, but he is certainly a threat to take them all the way around.
After beginning his career with a pair of nice wins against maiden and then allowance company, this lightly raced son of Distorted Humor has transitioned nicely into graded stakes racing with three consecutive solid efforts for trainer Brendan Walsh.
None were quite good enough for the win, but all three promised that he should become a stakes winner sooner rather than later. Will it come in the race before the Kentucky Derby? Probably not, as this field is his toughest yet, but he is one to keep an eye on down the road.
After a pair of nice wins at Gulfstream Park, including the Grade 3 Canadian Turf, he tried Grade 1 company last out and was not embarrassed in the Maker’s Mark Mile at odds of 24/1. He likes to rally, but I don’t know if he has the explosive turn of foot of a few others in this race.
He’s becoming a nice turf horse, with 5 wins in 10 turf starts, but I’m not sure if he’s arrived at this level yet. The son of Noble Mission will likely be overlooked again in here, but I just cannot find enough good reasons to like his chances.
He was able to hold off the top pick at Fair Grounds as a 35/1 longshot, but I don’t expect him to do it again here. That victory came when he set a slow early pace and was able to spurt clear early in the stretch.
On Saturday, he won’t have the same luxury. Still, he’s a nice horse, who ran a decent third against good horses last time, showing that the upset win was not a total fluke. He’ll be one of the stalkers of Tribhuvan early, possibly giving him first jump if that one falters.
I like others better, but he is a longshot to consider for the exotics.
Another one who likes to come from behind, this will be the first start of the season for the Ghostzapper gelding. Last year he was able to finish in the top two six times, but his only two wins came in allowance company.
Not quite as good against stakes company, he will need to improve this year to break through against graded stakes types. Given the layoff and the depth of this race, I find him hard to recommend on Saturday.
You know it’s a deep race when a nice horse like this is listed as the longest shot on the board. He won a Grade 3 stakes race at Arlington Park last summer and comes into this one off a solid allowance win at Keeneland.
Unfortunately, I do tend to agree with the morning line, in that this appears to be a tough spot for the son of the English Channel. I wouldn’t be shocked if he runs a nice race, but there are just too many others in here that I like better.
|Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Race Information|
|What||Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (Grade 1)|
|Time||Saturday, May 7 — 5:27 pm Eastern time|
|How to Watch||TVG|
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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