Clark Handicap Preview Thanksgiving Weekend  

Churchill Downs has 6 Graded Stakes on Holiday Weekend Headlined by $500,000 Clark Handicap

Six graded stakes races highlight the Thanksgiving weekend at Churchill Downs, headlined by the $500,000 Clark Handicap (G1) on Friday, Nov. 24. Racing fans can watch and wager on familiar colts and names such as Hoppertunity, Good Samaritan and Destin. But it’s Diversify (5-2) from the outside No. 9 post that is the top betting choice and one to beat going 1 1/8 miles. He makes his first start outside of New York following his wire-to-wire win in his last race at Belmont in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He’s own 7-of-10 lifetime races and is the controlling speed in this race.

Hoppertunity (3-1) breaks from the rail as a top contender for trainer Bob Baffert. The 6-year-old colt won this race in 2014 and finished 4th behind Gun Runner last year. Hoppertunity is making his fourth appearance in the Clark Handicap.

“I’ll never forget when he won the 2014 Clark,” Baffert said. “He’s always been right there all the time. He’s made $4 million by being right there and has always been a barn favorite. It sounds like it will be a tough Clark, so it won’t be a walk in the park by any means.”

Next to him in post No. 2 is Seeking the Soul (6-1). No. 3 Good Samaritan (8-1), the only 3-year-old in the field, won the Jim Dandy (G2) from off the pace and Destin (10-1) breaks from the No. 4 post for trainer Todd Pletcher, this year’s Kentucky Derby-winning trainer. Recall Destin finished 6th in the 2016 Kentucky Derby. Honorable Duty (5-1) has a pair of graded stakes runner-up finishes this year at Churchill Downs. The Player (6-1), on top of his game off his first stakes win, is the other contender listed at less than 10-1. Mo Tom (20-1) is a long shot in the Clark, and he finished 8th in the 2016 Kentucky Derby.

The Clark Handicap was run for the first time in 1875 as part of the inaugural meet at Churchill Downs. The Clark, Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks have been run each year without interruption since their debuts.

Other graded stakes at Churchill Downs Thanksgiving weekend.

  • Thur, Nov. 23 – $200,000 Falls City Handicap – 1 1/8 miles, Fillies & Mares 3&up
  • Thur, Nov. 23 – $100,000 River City Stakes – 1 1/8 miles on turf, 3&up
  • Fri, Nov. 24 – $200,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes – 1 1/16 miles on turf, 3-year-old fillies
  • Sat, Nov. 25 – $200,000 Golden Rod Stakes – 1 1/16 miles, 2-year-old fillies
  • Sat, Nov. 25 – $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club – 1 1/16 miles, 2-year-olds

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