This weekend marks the beginning of Churchill Downs’ short September meet, and also the beginning of both the Derby trail and the Breeders’ Cup trail for the juveniles. The boys meet in the Iroquois (GIII), which features the rematch of Mr. Z and Hashtag Bourbon. The girls have the Pocahontas (GII), a race begging for the emergence of a new face on the juvenile fillies scene. Ten points good toward a trip to Kentucky on the first weekend in May, as well as a Win And You’re In berth, await the winner of each race.
Of course, we can’t leave the older horses out in the cold. The handicap division has the Ack Ack (GIII), and the dirt route fillies and mares have the Locust Grove. The Ack Ack drew light with the defection of Lea, but the Locust Grove drew surprisingly strongly, with both On Fire Baby and Don’t Tell Sophia choosing it as their return from a layoff.
Paul Mazur and I took a look at the four stakes races on their Saturday card, and our analysis is live at Picks and Ponderings! Let us know via the comment section or our Twitter (@picksponderings) if there is anything with which you really agree…or really disagree.