Picks and Ponderings: Get Your Piece of Wednesday’s Superfecta Carryover at Hawthorne

…more surprising was that no one who played the superfecta even had Silver Saver, Starship Brooklyn, Waddle, and Midnite In Miami in that order.  So, there’s a $9,693 carryover in the superfecta pool.  It goes right into the superfecta pool for Wednesday’s opener, and any and all players with a winning ticket can reap the benefits.

Wednesday’s opener is a turf dash for open $10,000 claimers.  This analysis is focused on the turf, since the weather is slated to be clear until late in the week, perfect for this Wednesday race to stay on the grass.

Read on at Picks and Ponderings, get to know the players in Wednesday’s opener, and get ready to hit the superfecta!

Picks and Ponderings: Jean Elizabeth Overcomes Bad Break, Remains Perfect in Pretty Jenny

For a race in which she so easily towered on paper once her stablemate scratched, the start of the 2018 Pretty Jenny Stakes could hardly have been more difficult for Jean Elizabeth.

Unraced since a tour de force victory in an allowance optional claiming race at Hawthorne last October, she was fractious in her long-awaited return to a starting gate on race day.  “The gate guy was trying to get her head pointed straight ahead,” recalled jockey Julio Felix, “but when he got her straight she lunged and hit her head, hard, on the gate.”

From there, things went far better for the Larry Rivelli trainee.

Read on at Picks and Ponderings.

Picks and Ponderings: 2018 Pretty Jenny Stakes Preview

The stakes portion of the Hawthorne meet begins this weekend — and, for the first time since 2015, Hawthorne has scheduled three-year-old stakes races for Illinois-breds.  Though the Land of Lincoln was not carded for lack of nominations, the Pretty Jenny Stakes did draw enough runners and will be contested on Saturday.

Previously known as the Lady Hallie Stakes, the race has been restricted to Illinois-bred sophomore fillies since its 2004 running, and has taken Pretty Jenny’s name since its 2009 running.  Pretty Jenny, herself the Lady Hallie winner in 2005, was a 12-time winner in 32 starts between ages three and six.  She dominated the local filly and mare sprint circuit and also won stakes races at Churchill Downs and Prairie Meadows as an older horse.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the 2018 Pretty Jenny Stakes, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

preliminary Kentucky Derby musings

And, just like that, the Kentucky Derby prep season is over.

I’ll admit, I don’t have my Derby Horse yet. I rarely do, before Derby week…then again, that’s normal for me. The only time I had my Derby Horse before the week of the race, before the last few works, before the draw, was when I zoomed in on Keen Ice the previous fall.

The strongest opinions I have just about three weeks out are over who I will use underneath.

Continue reading “preliminary Kentucky Derby musings”

America’s Best Racing: Big Race Showdown, Arkansas Derby and Lexington Stakes

This is week eleven of Big Race Showdown at America’s Best Racing: where I clash heads with six awesome handicappers (Emily GulliksonCandice HareDan TordjmanBrian ZipseEric Bialek, and Mark DiLorenzo) to see who can stay the hottest through Derby prep season.

After a solid week last week, I’m leading in terms of bankroll!  Let’s see if I can keep it up this week, or if another handicapper is going to catch me with a nice exacta or trifecta.  We tackle both the Arkansas Derby (G1) and the Lexington Stakes (G3), the final two Derby points preps!

Picks and Ponderings: 2018 Lexington Stakes Preview

Keeneland already had its 100-point prep last week, the Blue Grass (G2), but it also offers one final 20-8-4-2 point prep this Saturday for horses on the bubble who want to make one final bid to get in the field.  That race, the Lexington Stakes (G3), forms the focus of this piece.

Though no Illinois-breds have won this race, its winners have included a pair of graded stakes winners at Arlington: 1991 winner Hansel had won the Arlington-Washington Futurity (G2) the year before, and 2006 winner Showing Up showed up to Arlington and annexed the Secretariat Stakes (G1).  Back in its Calumet Purse days, it also produced a graded stakes winner at Hawthorne: Sensitive Prince went on to win the 1978 Hawthorne Derby (G3).

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the Lexington Stakes, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: 2018 Arkansas Derby Preview

Oaklawn’s meet draws to a close with the Arkansas Derby — a $1,000,000, Grade 1 affair that is the final 100-40-20-10 point prep of the season.  Inaugurated in 1936 and run every year since except for 1945, it has always been run at nine furlongs.  It has vacillated between a Grade 1 and a Grade 2 since 1976, but held firm at a Grade 1 since 2010.  It does not look to be losing its top grade anytime soon, as its recent form has held well come Classic season.  Though last year’s winner Classic Empire finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby, he rebounded with a second-place finish in the Preakness.  2016’s winner, Creator, won the Belmont.  2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah won Hot Springs’s richest race before going to Kentucky.  2014’s longshot winner, Danza, franked that form by finishing third behind California Chrome in the Run for the Roses.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the Arkansas Derby, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!