Defending Wise Dan (Grade II) champ Pleuven (FR) is the 3-1 morning line favorite to defend his title in Saturday’s 28th running of the $200,000 race for 3-year-olds up over the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs.
Owned by Nelson McMakin and trained by Phil Sims, Pleuven (FR), now age 6 with a record of 18-7-3-4—$365,672, won last year’s Wise Dan by tracking pacesetter Kasaqui (ARG) before drawing even with that rival with an eighth of mile to run and inching clear late to post a three-quarter length victory. Those two, along with third-place finisher Thatcher Street, will meet again Saturday night.
Pleuven (FR) prepped for the 1 1/16-mile Wise Dan with a comfortable 2 ½-length score in the $56,340 Opening Verse at Churchill Downs on Thurby – Thursday of Kentucky Derby Week on May 4. It was his third U.S. stakes win since coming stateside from his native France in 2013.
The competitive Wise Dan, which lured a field of eight, also attracted multiple graded stakes winner Chocolate Ride and Bondurant, who finished 1-2 in an allowance/optional claiming race over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Churchill Downs on May 18.
The Wise Dan field from the rail out (with jockeys and morning line odds): Security Risk (John Velazquez, 5-1); Bondurant (Brian Hernandez Jr., 8-1); Thatcher Street (Julien Leparoux, 4-1); Chocolate Ride (Shaun Bridgmohan, 5-1); Kasaqui (ARG) (James Graham, 6-1); Conquest Panthera (Robby Albarado, 6-1); Pleuven (FR) (Corey Lanerie, 3-1); and Blofeld (Joel Rosario, 10-1).
All horses will carry 121 pounds.
The Wise Dan will go as Race 6 at 8:35 p.m.
BREEDERS’ CUP BETTING CHALLENGE QUALIFIER ON STEPHEN FOSTER HANDICAP NIGHT – Some of the nation’s elite horseplayers will descend upon Churchill Downs on Saturday night and attempt to secure seats at the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge as they pit their handicapping skills against the best Louisville has to offer.
Churchill Downs’ Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Live Bankroll Qualifier is a “real money” handicapping tournament with a $2,000 buy-in, of which $1,500 will be used by participants to wager on Saturday night’s 11-race Stephen Foster Handicap card with the other $500 going toward the entry fee and prize pool. Wager types permitted are Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta and Daily Double only.
The top two finishers in the satellite tournament will receive $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seats for the Nov. 3-4 event at Del Mar plus a $1,000 travel voucher. The third-place finisher will receive a $2,500 partial BCBC entry and $500 travel voucher.
Saturday’s prize pool is based on 50 entries. All entry fees will be paid back to prize pool should more than 50 entries participate. Horseplayers can register by emailing Gary Palmisano at Gary.Palmisano@KyDerby.com.
Same as the qualifier, the BCBC is a “real money” handicapping challenge. Players will required to deposit $10,000, of which $7,500 will be the players’ bankroll for wagering during the tournament. Of the $10,000 buy-in, $2,500 will be placed in the prize pool. If 400 players enter the tournament, the cash prize pool paid will be $1 million.
ALL-STAKES PICK 5 TO BE OFFERED SATURDAY NIGHT – Churchill Downs will make it a special night for bettors at Saturday’s “Downs After Dark” as the track offers an all-stakes Pick 5 as part of its special wagering menu.
The all-stakes Pick 5 will cover Races 5-9 starting at 8:03 p.m., which will encompass the Matt Winn (Race 5), Wise Dan (Race 6), Fleur de Lis Handicap (Race 7), Stephen Foster Handicap (Race 8) and Regret (Race 9). There also will be an all-stakes Pick 4 on Races 6-9.
All told, there will be three Pick 5s (Races 2-6, Races 5-9 and Races 7-11) and three Pick 4s (Races 1-4, Races 6-9 and Races 8-11) on the night.
Both the Pick 4 and Pick 5 are 50-cent minimum bets.
The 20-cent minimum Single-6 Jackpot will cover Races 4-9. The jackpot carryover for a lone winning ticket was $96,299 entering Thursday’s eight-race program, which is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.