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Churchill Showcases Gun Runner, Forever Unbridled & McCraken

by Dustin Fabian

June 17, 2017

The stars are out this Saturday night at Churchill Downs, as Gun Runner, McCraken, Forever Unbridled, Stanford and Bird Song take center stage. Action gets underway at 6PM ET, and the card is loaded with everything a bettor needs, including an All-Stakes Pick 4 (Races 6 – 9), All-Stakes Pick 5 (Races 5 – 9) and a 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot (Races 4 – 9). 

We’re getting in on the action with a 1 Million Point All-Stakes Pick 4 Split. Simply Log In and Register to play. The All-Stakes Pick 4 begins at 8:35PM ET Saturday. 

Here’s how I’m betting it: 

Race 6 (8:35PM ET) – Wise Dan Stakes (Gr II; 200k) 
The All-Stakes Pick 4 kicks off with the Grade 2 Wise Dan Stakes, and I’m looking to single right off the bat. #7 PLEUVEN (3/1) is back in top form and loves the Churchill Downs turf oval. He’s 2-for-4 under the ‘Spires and won this race last year. He won the a stakes race here on May 4 and appears to be in the best form of his career. If he runs his best race, I simply don’t see a way for #3 THATCHER STREET (4/1), #4 CHOCOLATE RIDE (5/1) or #5 KASAQUI (6/1) to spring the upset. They’re all ‘nice’ horses but PLEUVEN is simply the best of the bunch right now. 

Race 7 (9:09PM ET) – Fleur de Lis Handicap (Gr II; 200k) 
The Fleur de Lis marks the return of star mare, #1 FOREVER UNBRIDLED (4/5), who makes her first start since an exceptional third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff behind Beholder and Songbird. There isn’t much in this group that can beat her, especially if she runs her race. The only cause for concern – she’s 0-for-2 at Churchill. But one of those races was the Kentucky Oaks, which can be forgiven, and she hasn’t run here since she stepped up her game. #5 BIG WORLD (6/1) is the only other one in here I’d consider. She benefitted from a favorable trip to win the Grade 1 La Troienne on KY Oaks Day, but she is 7-for-11 in her career, with four straight wins. 

Race 8 (9:43PM ET) – Stephen Foster Handicap (Gr I; 500k) 
Another race and another heavy favorite. #3 GUN RUNNER (4/5) is in the best form of his career, having won two of his last three starts, including the Clark Handicap here last fall. The only loss in that span? The Grade 1 Dubai World Cup behind Arrogate. I think we can forgive that. Assuming he comes back fine from his trip to Dubai, he should win here. He has the right tactical speed to sit just behind #8 STANFORD (5/1) and #1 BIRD SONG (6/1) and get first run on the closers. I will use #4 HONORABLE DUTY (6/1) as a contingency plan. Javier Castellano rides him for the first time and he’s 2-for-4 at Churchill and had a 3-race winning streak snapped last out by Bird Song in the Grade 2 Alysheba on KY Oaks Day. 

Race 9 (10:15PM ET) – Regret Stakes (Gr III; 100k) 
The last leg of the Pick 4, and the one that’s most wide open, is the Grade 3 Regret. I’ll go pretty deep here. My top pick would probably be #12 CHUBBY STAR (5/1), but she couldn’t be more hindered by her outside post. She rallied to finish second last out in the James Murphy Stakes at Pimlico against the boys from a similar outside draw, but it’s not exactly easy to see her winning from out there. So I’m also using #2 SWEEPING PADDY (4/1), #3 LA MANTA GRIS (15/1), #4 PROCTOR’S LEDGE (7/2), #9 SAMEEHA (8/1) and #11 STARR BEAR (8/1). 

My Ticket 
Race 6: 7 
Race 7: 1 
Race 8: 3, 4 
Race 9: 2, 3, 4, 9, 11, 12 
Ticket Cost ($1 Base): $12.00