Churchill Downs' Clark 2019: Post positions, odds and more

November 29, 2019 08:45am
As is tradition, Churchill Downs will contest the Grade 1, $600,000 Clark on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. But one thing has changed: This is no longer a handicap, but rather runs under allowance conditions, with all but a couple of contenders carrying 121 pounds.

One exception is Seeking the Soul, a previous Grade 1 winner of this event in 2017 who will tote 123 pounds. The other is Owendale, the lone 3-year-old in the field assigned 118. Both exit off-the-board finishes in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Tom's d'Etat, meanwhile, remained east to win Keeneland's Fayette (G2) and sizes up as the favorite in a Clark field of 12. Here's a look at post positions and odds:

1. Draft Pick (Joe Talamo, Peter Eurton, 12-1)
2. Tom’s
 d’Etat (Joel Rosario, Stall, 8-5)
3. Mocito Rojo (Filemon Rodriguez, Shane Wilson, 15-1)
4. Major Cabbie
 (Paco Lopez, Peter Miller, 10-1)
5. Snapper Sinclair (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen, 8-1)
6. Fact Finding (Corey Lanerie, Charlie LoPresti, 8-1)
7. Mr. Buff (Junior Alvarado, John Kimmel, 5-1)
8. Owendale (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox, 15-1)
9. Mr Freeze (Robby Albarado, Dale Romans, 15-1)
10. Bravazo (Saez, Lukas, 30-1)
11. Seeking the Soul (Brian Hernandez Jr., Dallas Stewart, 12-1)
12. Pioneer Spirit (David Cohen, Robertino Diodoro, 12-1)

TimeformUS' Pace Projector anticipates plenty of early speed and, perhaps, some of it cheap. The New York-bred Mr. Buff, who will receive a bit of a class test here, could be challenged on the front end by Major Cabbie and Mr Freeze. Pioneer Spirit is anticipated to be near the lead, too.

Most of the top choices then trail on the Pace Projector, looking to get the right setup for a run down the long Churchill stretch.

The Clark on TV

TVG will carry live coverage of the Clark, which goes as Race 11 at 5:56 p.m. ET, as well as the Mrs. Revere (G2) for 3-year-old fillies as Race 9 at 4:57 p.m. Advanced deposit wagering services such as NYRABets also live stream track feeds for account holders.

Clark handicapping

• Clark odds and analysis

• Free past performances

• Clark expert picks

• Two must-use horses

Race Preview

Via Churchill Downs publicity...

G M B Racing’s multiple graded stakes winner Tom’s d’Etat is set to bid for Grade 1 glory in Friday’s $600,000 Clark against Charles Fipke's 2017 race winner Seeking the Soul and 10 others in a competitive 145th renewal of the 1 1/8-mile premiere event at the Churchill Downs Fall Meet.

Like the Kentucky Derby Presented and the
 Longines Kentucky Oaks, the Clark was run for the first time in 1875’s inaugural racing meet at Churchill Downs, which was then known as the Louisville Jockey Club. The Clark, the Derby and the Oaks have been run each year without interruption since their debuts.

 d’Etat (15: 8-2-1—$886,892), trained by veteran horseman Al Stall Jr., won the Fayette on closing day of Keeneland’s Fall Meet, a race that is traditionally used as a prep race for the Clark. The 6-year-old son of Smart Strike has been in top form since a nonplused ninth-place effort in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) in late January at Gulfstream Park. Tom’s d’Etat’s 2019 campaign included a victory in the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga, a runner-up effort in the Alysheba (G2) and a third-place finish in the Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs.

“He definitely deserves a Grade 1,” Stall said. “(The
 Clark) was the perfect race to go to after the Fayette. He is stabled here and handles Churchill very well.”

Joel Rosario
, one of the nation’s leading riders, will ride Tom’s d’Etat who drew post position No. 2.

Among Tom’s
 d’Etat’s rivals in the Clark is 2017 hero Seeking the Soul (30: 7-6-7—$3,414,153), who will attempt to become only the fourth horse to win multiple runnings of the Clark. Trained by Dallas Stewart, Seeking the Soul had an unsuccessful journey to California for his last three starts with off-the-board finishes in the Pacific Classic (G1), Awesome Again (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

“We’re back at Churchill where we know he likes to win,” Stewart said. “He looks like he did when he was preparing for the 2017
 Clark. We’re very excited to get him in the gate Friday.”

Brian Hernandez Jr
. will be reunited with Seeking the Soul from post 11.

Seeking the Soul and Tom’s
 d’Etat are familiar foes and have faced one another three times over the last year with Seeking the Soul getting the best of Tom’s d’Etat twice: a runner-up effort in the Pegasus World Cup and victory in the Stephen Foster.

Another rival to Tom’s
 d’Etat and Seeking the Soul in the Clark is Calumet Farm’s homebred Bravazo (17: 3-4-3—$2,003,528), who will be making his first start in 10 months after he finished fourth in the Pegasus World Cup. Bravazo, a 4-year-old colt by Awesome Again, danced in nearly every dance during his 3-year-old campaign, including a narrow runner-up effort behind eventual Triple Crown winner Justify in the Preakness and a neck defeat in last year’s Clark.

Trained by Hall of Famer
 D. Wayne Lukas, Luis Saez has the mount in the Clark and will break from post 10.

Another Clark notable is Rupp Racing’s up-and-coming 3-year-old colt Owendale (13: 5-1-2—$958,725), who continued to improve throughout his 2019 campaign with a trio of Grade 3 victories. Owendale tested Grade 1 waters in the Breeders’ Cup Classic but finished a disappointing 10th. Conditioned by Brad Cox, Owendale will get the riding services of Florent Geroux out of post 8. Cox will defend his title in the Clark after winning last year’s event with Leofric.

Mocito Rojo won the Lukas Classic (G3) in his last Churchill Downs start, while trainer Peter Eurton has Draft Pick in from the west coast for the Clark.


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