Experts pick today’s Colonial Downs stakes

Colonial Downs has four $150,000 stakes on its Tuesday card, and all four are part of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series. All four are for older horses, with two for boys (long on the turf, sprinting on the dirt) and two for fillies and mares in the same divisions.

With just this card and one more left in the series, these races will go a long way towards determining the series outcome. More importantly, these are exciting races, and difficult handicapping challenges, in their own right.

Our experts’ picks:


Race 4, fillies and mares, 7 furlongs

The Seeking the Pearl is down to an eight-horse field after the vet scratch of MATCH division leader Kaylasaurus, but what a field it is. Among the runners: the undefeated Carribean Caper, Grade 1 winner Kalypso, defending champ Cheetara, two-time stakes winner Fille d’Esprit, and last-out Regret winner Edie Meeny Miny Mo.

Look for a pace on the lively side, as a number of these runners like to be inovlved from the jump.

Nick HahnDerby Bill WatsonFrank Vespe
19 – Carribean Caper (5-2)6 – Kalypso (6-1)1 – Fille d’Esprit (8-1)
27 – Kaylasaurus (9-2)9 – Carribean Caper (5-2)9 – Carribean Caper (5-2)
32 – Edie Meenie Miny Mo (8-1)2 – Edie Meenie Miny Mo (8-1)6 – Kalypso (6-1)


Race 6, fillies and mares, 1 1/16 miles turf

It’s a pretty diverse field that will line up in the Old Nelson, with horses here having made their most recent prior start at seven different tracks, from Belmont Park to Canterbury. At the same time, though, there are plenty of familiar faces, as five of these faced off in the Big Dreyfus at Laurel last out, and four tangled in the Neshaminy prior to that. And three of these won at Colonial Downs in their last start.

Does experience over the track matter much? This race will provide some evidence one way or the other.

Nick HahnDerby Bill WatsonFrank Vespe
110 – Didia (9-2)9 – Deciding Vote (10-1)1 – Cheermeister (7-2)
212 – She Can’t Sing (6-1)8 – Market Rumor (5-1)9 – Deciding Vote (10-1)
38 – Market Rumor (5-1)1 – Cheermeister (7-2)10 – Didia (9-2)


Race 7, 1 1/18 miles turf

Three from the Prince George’s County at Laurel last month are entered in this one, and those three comprise the top pair in both that event (Eons and English Tavern) and the Bensalem at Parx prior (Eons and Beacon Hill). Beacon Hill was the beaten favorite in both.

Not sure of those? There are plenty of other ways to go, including Militarist, Derby Bill’s longshot pick; last-out Colonial Downs allowance winner Eamonn, who gets Nick’s nod; and 2019 Kentucky Derby entrant Roadster, who’s a half to a Grade 1 winner on turf and gets Frank’s backing.

Nick HahnDerby Bill WatsonFrank Vespe
110 – Eamonn (5-1)8 – Militarist (15-1)7 – Roadster (8-1)
29 – Eons (4-1)9 – Eons (4-1)1 – English Tavern (6-1)
37 – Roadster (8-1)1 – English Tavern (6-1)9 – Eons (4-1)


Race 8, 6 furlongs

Five scratches make this field a more manageable nine horses, and it’s another good group. Defending champ Just Might returns for trainer Michelle Lovell and will go over $1 million in career earnings with a win.

But it won’t be easy. Necker Island, a 2020 Kentucky Derby entrant now finding new life as a sprinter, arrives off a stakes win on the main track. Mucho owns six wins at the trip. And Jalen Journey, winner of last year’s G3 De Francis Dash (via DQ) arrives in search of remdemption after several so-so outings while making his first start in the Norman Cash barn.

Nick HahnDerby Bill WatsonFrank Vespe
18 – Mucho (8-1)9 – Necker Island (9-2)13 – Just Might (4-1)
213 – Just Might (4-1)13 – Just Might (4-1)8 – Mucho (8-1)
33 – Jalen Journey8 – Mucho (8-1)9 – Necker Island (9-2)