2017 Clark Handicap Picks
Clark Handicap Preview and Odds
In a very competitive Clark Handicap field, New York-bred Diversify has been made the lukewarm morning line favorite for the Clark at odds of 5-2. Going for trainer Richard Violette, he comes in on a three-race winning streak, and last out made his graded-stakes debut a successful one when he went wire-to-wire to capture the (G1) Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park in early October.
Prior to that he had won a pair of lower-level stakes over the summer, the last of those by more than 11 lengths. He gets a cut back in distance here from the Jockey Club race which should serve him well, but he's drawn a tough outside post and co-high weight in the field, giving up as much as 9 pounds to some of his rivals.
Speedy Honorable Duty Needs a Return to Form
Breaking from his inside, Honorable Duty (5-1) will be looking to bounce back from a poor effort in his last, when he finished sixth in the (G2) Hagyard Fayette Stakes at Keeneland as the favorite, albeit on a wet track. Prior to that he had been in excellent form, with a win two starts back in the (G3) Lukas Classic at Churchill, and preceeded that with a pair of runner-up finishes in graded-stakes also at Churchill, one of those in the (G1) Stephen Foster Handicap where he was the best of the rest behind eventual Breeders' Cup Classic winner Gun Runner.
Down on the inside #1 post is trainer Bob Baffert's veteran runner Hoppertunity, the second choice in the morning line at 3-1. This will be his fourth run in the Clark Handicap, where he ran fourth last year after finishing second in 2015 and winning the race in 2014. Although the six-year-old might not be quite as fast as he once was, he does have a graded-stakes win on the year, and his late-running style may enable him to get up for part of the prize money in a race that on paper shows a lot of early speed.
At double-digits and worth consideration in exotic bets is Todd Pletcher's Destin (10-1) the runner-up in the 2016 Belmont Stakes. Although he has been somewhat erratic since then, and may actually prefer a bit more distance, he has a win last out in the (G2) Marathon Stakes at Del Mar on Breeders' Cup day. He stumbled at the start of the Jockey Club Gold Cup two starts back and never really recovered, but prior to that did pick up a win in an allowance race at Saratoga at the Clark Handicap distance of 1 1/8 miles.
The Clark Handicap goes Friday, November 24 from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Expected post time is 5:56 PM Eastern. You can bet the Clark Handicap or the full Churchill card with an account at any top-rated online racebook.
Entries w/ Morning Line Odds
- Hoppertunity (3-1)
- Seeking The Soul (6-1)
- Good Samaritan (8-1)
- Destin (10-1)
- Goats Town (30-1)
- Mo Town (20-1)
- The Player (6-1)
- Honorable Duty (5-1)
- Diversify (5-2)
Clark Handicap Picks
- #8 - Honorable Duty
- #9 - Diversify
- #1 - Hoppertunity
- #4 - Destin
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