Thanksgiving Weekend is one of the last times this year that we will see top class horses running before they take a break for the winter. The Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs brings some of the best classic horses in the country back for a half a million dollar under the Twin Spires. It looks to be a competitive race, with last year’s one-two, Effinex and Hoppertunity, both returning. Here are my top choices:
9- Hoppertunity: Last year’s runner up, this Baffert runner has improved greatly over last year and is using this race as a stepping stone to the Pegasus World Cup. Coming off of a decent fourth place finish in the Classic, the Jockey Club Gold Cup winner has been in it in most of his races against this class this year. There looks to be a lot of speed for him to close in against and enjoys CD, finishing in the money in all three races here. He took this race two years ago and tries to make himself only the fourth 2-time winner of the race, and give Baffert is record fourth win in the Clark.
6- Noble Bird: A Kentucky local, Noble Bird for the hot Mark Casse stable has been putting his best foot forward in Kentucky. He has been running against much better this year and finally gets a nice break here, returning to the site of his best win in the Stephen Foster Handicap in 2015. He won the Lukas Classic earlier this year and followed it up with a runaway win in the Fayette. Very dangerous horse here at Churchill Downs.
4- Shaman Ghost: In a prep for the Pegasus World Cup, Frank Stronach sends his classic horse here. After scratching in the Classic, Shaman Ghost hopes to show that his Woodward win was not a fluke, looking to take a win here. I think this race sets up very well for him, with a good amount of speed up front that he can stalk behind. Might not be the most consistent runner, but a very good horse who is live off of a layoff.
The Clark Handicap looks to be a good race tonight at Churchill Downs. Watch and wager on one of the last dirt Grade One’s this year!