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Ed joined Churchill Downs Inc. in July 2011 following nine years as a writer and editor with Thoroughbred Times. He grew up in Cleveland and learned to love horse racing while going to Thistledown with his grandfather. Before 2015, Ed had never seen a Triple Crown winner; he still hasn't seen an Indians World Championship. Ed's favorite horses are Real Quiet, Ghostzapper, Rachel Alexandra, Unique Bella, and Sistercharlie.

September 30 2021

Double-check listed numbers against program numbers before wagering.
Selections subject to change on race day due to scratches, off the turf, etc. For the most up-to-the minute information, tune in to "Churchill Downs Today" presented by TwinSpires one hour before first post each racing day (e.g. noon ET when 1st post is 1 p.m.), watch the pre-race paddock shows, and follow Ed on Twitter @EJXD2.
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Race 1

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7 Escape Fund

Back to claiming third off the layoff after unable to punch winner’s circle against alw types at Belterra. Has local win

3 Nostalgia

Cutback for a horse who showed speed on the turf at Turfway. Barn has struggled second-off the claim but should get OK trip behind our top pick

5 Sapphire Royalty

Selections: 7-3-5

Race 2

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7 Per Diem

Trainer Lynn Cash 3/17 off the claim. He stretches this one out second-off layoff after showing speed in all sprints so front-end threat

5 Carmichael

Two-turn dirt debut for gelding who’s ran against better on turf. Has an off-the-turf effort that blows this group away

6 Royal Tryst

Selections: 7-5-6

Race 3

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5 Chicks For Free

Trying another former Fairmount Park shipper, as this one has decent form, and the stretch to 7f intrigues w/ Bet Mitch Get Rich getting aboard

3 Press Snooze

Won’t sleep on this Tomlinson trainee who made a big wide move going this trip last out after being taken off the pace, which is atypical.

7 Cold As Hell

Selections: 5-3-7

Race 4

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6 Royal Blue Boy

New gelding tries the bottom level here. Hoping the zip stays and the focus returns following that procedure. Triple digit E2 brisnet pace ratings could put this field away

3 Ceeky

2 wins at 6f and 2 wins at CD gives confidence this one fits this group off a win and brief freshening

8 Lover Boy

Selections: 6-3-8

Race 5

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6 Auburn Hills

1-turn mile interesting for this one after getting leg weary going longer at Saratoga. Those were his best races by far since joining Maker barn.

5 Treasury

Likes the lead but pace ratings say slower than Auburn Hills early. If Bet Mitch Get Rich has this one run to its numbers can stalk and pounce

7 Brew Crew

Selections: 6-5-7

Race 6

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5 Markitoff

Another Lynn Cash claim showing up here and somehow--being by Giant's Causeway out of a Ghostzapper mare--making his fast track debut. E8 run style via Brisnet suggests this one can go gate to wire

7 Pit Boss

Returns from Colonial where was slow to go last out in a long sprint. Now gets back out to two turns for first time in barn. Won at this trip last time when claimed.

2 Lord Dragon

Selections: 5-7-2

Race 7

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2 Latte Dolce

Turf to dirt unlocked this one’s speed with gate to wire effort last out at Canterbury. That was a lifetime best effort and at 8-to-1 ML will play right back to win again

5 Toccata

New horse since the debut. Trainer Sharp likely thrilled with not losing this one after the drop and pop and right back with even better performance next out.

3 Flash Magic

Selections: 2-5-3

Race 8

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3 Beautiful Empire

Connections of sire Classic Empire join here for debut of filly who cost $320,000 at the Keeneland September sale last year. Classic Empire is 19% with his debut runners while the dam is a half sister to Grade 1 winner and star freshman sire in his own right Practical Joke

7 Famed

Half sister to champion Essential Quality carries some high hopes on debut.

1 Mommasgottarun

Selections: 3-7-1

Race 9

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5 Spa City

Two of the best to play the claiming game plucked this one for $40k 6 ½ weeks ago at Indiana Grand. If Amoss can find some speed since then this gelding is dangerous at the distance

6 Royal Mesa

Trainer adds blinkers after gelding had look of one that didn’t like to pass horses throughout the race. Colby returning is interesting

2 Fact Finding

Selections: 5-6-2

Race 10

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10 Upandcomingstar

Speed and fade against in first two attempts and now cuts back to 6 furlongs. Was on the rail for both starts previously and outside may be more comfortable for her

12 Sarah Harper

Fast track after muddy debut is a positive but 5-2 ML price a little light against this full field

6 Smarmy

Selections: 10-12-6

Selections are for the 2021 September meeting beginning Sept. 16

Races Wins 2nd 3rd Win % WPS % $2 ROI*
78 20 11 5 25.64% 46.15% $1.771

*ROI is the return on investment of a $2 win bet of our top pick. An ROI of more than $2.00 indicates profitable selections. The average horseplayer has an ROI of $1.60.

Expert selections by:

Joe Kristufek | Ed DeRosa | Scott Shapiro