Expert picks: Clark Stakes 2019 predictions, longshots

November 28, 2019 01:16pm
Expert picks: Clark Stakes 2019 predictions, longshots
Photo: Derbe Glass/NYRA

Friday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Clark Stakes — a race no longer run under handicap conditions — has brought together a field of 12 at Churchill Downs, where they’ll go 1 1/8 miles in the Fall Meet feature under the Twin Spires.

While this event is absent Eclipse Award implications and, for the most part, star power in an older male division that’s been thin in 2019, it does make for a nice betting race. Tom’s d’Etat is an 8-5 favorite off a victory in Keeneland’s Fayette Stakes (G2), while there’s value in a number of familiar names, such as Owendale at 15-1 exiting the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Here’s how Horse Racing Nation contributors have pegged the Clark ahead of post time at 5:56 p.m. ET. Also check out free past performances when forming your own opinions.

Nick Costa

Winner: #11 Seeking the Soul

On the board: #2 Tom's d'Etat, #8 Owendale

Longshot I like: #1 Draft Pick

Analysis: Seeking the Soul returns to Churchill, where he's performed best. The 6-year old sports a record of 12: 4-2-4 over the track. The company he faced in his last three starts out west was top-notch, so this assignment may not be as demanding. Toms d'Etat drew away in the Fayette Stakes last race over an off track at Keeneland. He's in good form and should be prominent stalking the pace from the outset. He's another runner who enjoys the Louisville oval. Owendale, the lone 3-year old, is a multiple Grade 3 stakes winner who beat half the field in the Travers Stakes (G1). Disregard his effort in the Classic, as he suffered a rough trip and is capable of much better.

Ryan Dickey

Winner: #8 Owendale

On the board: #2 Tom's d'Etat, #9 Mr Freeze

Longshot I like: #7 Mr. Buff

Analysis: I'm pretty confident in Owendale in the top spot. I think there will be some cheap early speed, which could lead to an open door for a closer. Mr. Buff may sit just off the early pace, and I expect a solid race from him shipping in from New York. I won't fall asleep on Pioneer Spirit, who was claimed for $150,000 last out. I think other bettors will disregard, but he fits on figures. The only horse I think that could upset Owendale is Mr Freeze, who should be forwardly placed throughout. But Owendale should be motoring home late in the stretch given the right setup.

Jarrod Horak

Winner: #11 Seeking the Soul

On the board: #8 Owendale, #2 Tom's d'Etat

Longshot I like: #3 Mocito Rojo

Analysis: Seeking the Soul does some of his best work at Churchill Downs and should get pace to chase. He fired a local bullet on Nov. 21. Owendale is 2-for-2 at nine furlongs and is another with the right patient style. Tom's d'Etat is a sharp, versatile, early-pressing type. He likes this course and distance. Mocito Rojo won the Lukas Classic (G3) at this course/distance on Sept. 28. He should save ground stalking the pace.

My wagers: #11 to win; exacta box 8-11; exacta 8-11/2-3

Reinier Macatangay

Winner: #2 Tom's d'Etat

On the board: #11 Seeking the Soul, #10 Bravazo

Longshot I like: #8 Owendale

Analysis: Tom's d'Etat's best speed figures are good enough to take a "mild" Grade 1 event, and this race is the definition of an average Grade 1. Owendale and Seeking the Soul fit as contenders, too, as their Breeders' Cup Classic off-the-board efforts are forgivable given the odd dirt surface and high difficulty level of the race. Bravazo is capable of competing at this level, but his will to win is questionable.

Mary Dixon Reynolds

Winner: #2 Tom's d'Etat

On the board: #11 Seeking the Soul, #5 Snapper Sinclair

Longshot I like: #10 Bravazo

Analysis: I feel Al Stall Jr. trainee Tom's d’Etat is the horse to beat in the Clark. The son of Smart Strike likes the Churchill dirt, as does my second pick. I’ll feature fellow house horse Seeking the Soul prominently in my wagers as well in hopes they’ll outclass the rest.

Victor Ryan

Winner: #8 Owendale

On the board: #3 Mocito Rojo, #2 Tom's d'Etat

Longshot I like: #3 Mocito Rojo

Analysis: Owendale ran a sneaky good race in the Classic after encountering a fair amount of trouble. Additionally, his stalking style should play well with all the speed signed up. I'll bet him to win and place and key him in first and second in exotics.

My wagers: exacta 8/2,3,11; exacta 2,3,11/8; superfecta 8/2,3,9,11/2,3,9,11/2,3,9,11; superfecta 2,3,9,11/8/2,3,9,11/2,3,9,11


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