2023 Falls City Stakes & Cardinal Stakes Odds and Picks

An exciting Thanksgiving card at Churchill Downs will feature two Grade 3 contests, the 2023 Falls City Stakes and Cardinals Stakes. 


Set to headline the 2023 Falls City Stakes is the Philip Bauer trained Xigera. A winner of five of her nine career starts, she heads into this race following victories in the 2023 Overnight Stakes and 2023 Grade 2 Mother Goose Stakes. She will be bidding for a third straight victory. 

Seven horses are due to head down to post for the 2023 Cardinal Stakes where Saffron Moon is expected to start as the favorite. A winner of three of her four turf starts, she represents the powerful Chad Brown barn. Yet to compete at this level, she will be aiming for a first career graded prize. 

Falls City Stakes

Grade 3, 1 mile and an eighth, dirt, open to fillies & mares aged three and over. Total prize pool: $400,000

Xigera will start as the class angle of this year’s Falls City Stakes. 

A winner of four of her last five starts, she is one of the most progressive horses in training. Trained by Philip Bauer, she has a level of form that no rival in this race can match and will be bidding for a third successive victory, following wins in both the 2023 Overnight Stakes and 2023 Mother Goose Stakes.

Bauer will also saddle Skratch Kat. Boasting nowhere near the level of form as her stablemate she should be best watched on this occasion.

Looking to pull off the upset will be the Bret Calhoun trained Hidden Connection. A major player on her day, she has placed in both the 2023 Locust Grove and Doubledogdare Stakes but is now without a win in her last eight starts. 

She arrives race fit, but her connections will be hoping she will be able to bounceback from her eighth place finish in last week’s Chilukki Stakes

Likely to round out the top three in the betting is Bellamore. Making just her third start for trainer Carlos Santamaria, she will be looking for her first win for her new barn. 

Similarly to Hidden Connection she heads into this race on a long losing run, and has now gone ten starts without a win. However, her third place finish in the 2023 Spinster Stakes came at the very highest level and she could be the best value option of the race. 

Michael Maker saddles two in the race, Shezz Koldazice and Misty Veil. Of the two it is worth paying attention to Misty Veil. 

Without a win at this level, she did finish third when last seen in the 2023 Locust Grove stakes and isn’t without hope. 

Completing the lineup for this year’s Falls City Stakes are Jag Warrior and Distinctlypossible

2023 Falls City Stakes Racing Prediction

Xigera looks like one of the bankers of the day. A proven performer at this level, she should have far too much class for a field that arrives mostly out of form. 

HorseJockeyOdds from JazzSports
Hidden ConnectionFlavien Prat+300
Skratch KatFrancisco Arteta+1500
Shezz KoladiceLuis Saez+2000
Misty VeilMartin Chun+1200
Jag WarriorBrian Hernandez+3000
DistinctlypossibleTyler Gaffalione+1200
Music StreetRicardo Santana Jr+3000
XigeraJulien Leparoux-160
BellamoreMartin Garcia+800

Cardinal Stakes

Grade 3, 1 mile and an eighth, turf, open to fillies & mares aged three and over. Total prize pool $300,000

A fascinating renewal of the Cardinal Stakes awaits with several horses heading into the race holding a major chance. 

Likely to start as one of the favorites for the contest is Saffron Moon

Whilst her three turf wins have all come at lower grades, her last win at Allowance level was done in impressive fashion and she could take the step up to graded level in her stride. 

Brad Cox has had another brilliant year, and will hope to round off Thanksgiving with another graded prize. 

He saddles Juncture who was a former listed winner back in Britain. Since moving to the States she has won just one of her five starts but did claim the 2023 Ouija Board Distaff and finished third in the 2023 Grade 2 Rodeo Drive Stakes. She clearly has ability and will be a popular selection. 

Lovely Princess heads into this race without a win in her last four starts, but she has finished second in three of these contests. 

Unlucky not to have got her head in front, she could be a decent option for those looking to find a winner at a price. 

Seeking a first graded prize is Walkathon. Having won twice at Allowance level, this will be her first ever attempt at trying to land a graded race and her connections will be hopeful of a bold showing. 

Another trying to make it a career day is Joyful Applause. She heads into the race having won two of her last three starts and has performed well at this level in the past. 

A second place finish in the 2022 Mrs.Revere Stakes certainly warrants her a place in this lineup and she could be one of the best value options in the contest. 

Completing the lineup are Star Fortress and Take a Stand

Star Fortress is likely to start at a price but is one of the most interesting horses in the field. 

Making her first start for trainer Cherie DeVaux, she is a former placed performer in several British Listed races. Whilst not a regular winner, that form gives her a chance in this lineup and she can’t be dismissed despite her big price. 

Take a Stand will start as the outsider of the field. Without a win in her fourteen race career, it looks hugely unlikely that she will break her maiden in this race. 

2023 Cardinal Stakes Betting Pick

Although Saffron Moon heads into this race on the back of some decent performances, she does lack experience at this level and it could be worth siding with Juncture. She has posted several decent efforts at this grade in the past and could have the class to win this year’s Cardinal.

HorseJockeyOdds from JazzSports
Joyful ApplauseOrlando Mojica+800
Star FortressLuis Saez+1200
Lovely PrincessBrian Hernandez+300
WalkathonJulien Leparoux+400
Take a StandFernando De La Cruz+3000
JunctureFlavien Prat+250
Saffron MoonTyler Gaffalione+200

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