Lukas Classic fair odds: This value horse can march to victory

Five Star General was already in good form before shipping to Emerald Downs for the Longacres Mile, but the Grant Forster trainee took another step forward in winning the Pacific Northwest's marquee race, and Elttaes Stable's seven-year Distorted Humor horse looks poised to win his first graded stakes in the Grade 2 Lukas Classic on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

That win will not come easy, as none of the eight other foes are throwouts by any means with fair odds on the nonet ranging from Rattle N Roll at 4-1 to Whelen Springs at 22-1.

Five Star General , at 9-2 on my fair odds, is the second most likely winner based on my handicapping but certainly the best bet of the group, as I expect him to be no less than 6-1 and maybe even as high as 10-1. If I'm right, then he is a no-brainer play given my fair odds.

This will be Five Star General's fifth track and jockey in as many starts, though Saturday's pilot Corey Lanerie has been aboard before, including a gate-to-wire win last year at Keeneland. Five Star General most commonly makes the lead, but he pressed the pace when winning the Longacres Mile last out. Given the longer distance and outside post, I expect Five Star General will try to take them all the way in the Lukas.

Of course, Five Star General might have company up front, as there are 4 other "E/P" (early presser) types in the race according to Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances and 5 others with at least 5 Quirin speed points.

That is good news for 4 Rattle N Roll , who has been rolling late in almost every start of his career, sporting a trio of consecutive triple digit late pace ratings into this. He is far back, though, and although there are several horses in this race with front-end tactics, it is possible this one will have too much to do late.

No. 1 Happy American is another deep closer, and although a win would be surprising, he is a reliable check casher, and any scenario that includes Rattle N Roll winning could easily get this one in the trifecta for a third consecutive graded stakes.


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