Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Canadian International in Pictures

Sunday was Canadian International Day at Woodbine.  The day’s racing action featured four graded stakes races: the Canadian International (G1) for open company at a mile and a half on grass, the E. P. Taylor (G1) for fillies going a mile and a quarter on the turf, the six-furlong Nearctic Stakes (G2) for turf sprinters, and the Ontario Derby (G3), the day’s lone Tapeta stakes race, a mile and an eighth for sophomores.  NN spent a long weekend in Toronto to enjoy the lead-up, visit the horses, and cover the races.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, and see what made last weekend at Woodbine a time to remember!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Canadian International Day Stakes Preview

For the second year in a row, Picks and Ponderings is on site at the Canadian International, so make sure to follow us on Twitter for live news and notes from Woodbine!

Sunday’s card at Woodbine features four graded stakes races, anchored by the Grade 1, mile and a half Canadian International, one of Woodbine’s three flagship races.  Put the mphasis on the flag part, as ERUPT’s victory last year means a banner of his Flaxman Holdings silks flies alongside ones representing the Queen’s Plate winner HOLY HELENA (a competitor in Sunday’s Ontario Derby) and Woodbine Mile winner World Approval.

The card also features another Grade 1 race, the E. P. Taylor, for older turf route fillies and mares going a mile and a quarter.  Turf sprinters get their due in the six-furlong Nearctic (G2).  Finally, one Tapeta-track race completes the stakes portion of the card: the Ontario Derby (G3), which features sophomores going a mile and an eighth on the main.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the four graded stakes on Canadian International Day, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Woodford Stakes Preview and Weekend Keeneland Stakes Selections

Opening weekend at Keeneland, with its stakes-laden Fall Stars cards, takes place this weekend.

We will have picks for all nine graded races at Keeneland Friday through Sunday, and detailed analysis of the Woodford Stakes (G2).  The Woodford is as classy a turf sprint as you’ll see in the United States outside the Breeders’ Cup.  Particularly since the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint will be a more traditional turf dash and not a gallop down the Santa Anita hill, it should be a key prep.

Last year’s edition of the Woodford featured an exacta of Chicago mainstays: 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner MONGOLIAN SATURDAY held off the late run of old warrior HOGY.  Both of them are part of this year’s nine-horse field.  Also among the Chicago locals in this year’s edition is the 2014 Woodford runner-up MONGOL BULL, still with owner/trainer Bradlee Rainwater, and trying to do three years ago one better.

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


Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Preview

With five weeks until the Breeders’ Cup, many of the marquee prospects for our sport’s biggest weekend have penciled in their final prep races for this weekend.  Thanks to that, Saturday’s cards at both Belmont and Santa Anita are chock full of graded stakes.

This piece features a full preview of the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at Belmont, a Win and You’re In for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).  The contentious field of eleven includes Arlington Million (G1) exacta Beach Patrol and Fanciful Angel, three-year-old dynamo and Secretariat Stakes (G1) winner Oscar Nominated, and the American debut of globetrotter The Grey Gatsby.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, and check back later this week for my selections for Saturday’s other major Breeders’ Cup preps at Belmont and Santa Anita!

A Day At the Races: Presque Isle Downs is the Cheers of racetracks

Of course, the sport on people’s minds was horse racing, not baseball. Deep, stained wood lined saddling stalls, not a bar. People sat in lawn chairs or at picnic tables, not stools. But, just like a cozy corner watering hole, the apron at Presque Isle Downs was where people went to catch up with friends and see the horses run after work. Whether you’ve been coming for years or for days, everyone knows your name, and they’re glad you came.

And, it’s the best kind of local haunt: close-knit, but excited to welcome new faces.

In my latest piece at Brisnet, read why Presque Isle Downs is the Cheers of racetracks!

Picks and Ponderings: CAMMACK, DADDY’S BOO Annex Closing Day Features at Arlington

On another unseasonably hot September day, the Arlington meet drew to a close.  A pair of turf mile stakes anchored the card: the Les Ahrens Memorial Stakes for  open company, and the Steve Morgan Memorial Stakes, the fillies’ and mares’ complement.

In the Les Ahrens Memorial Stakes, consistent Illinois-bred gelding Cammack found his winning ways once more.  The Team Block homebred, for trainer Chris Block and rider Jose Lopez, kicked clear in the final furlong to tally his first victory of the Arlington summer meet in three tries.

Fittingly, the final stakes race of the meet went to the meet’s leading jockey, owner, and trainer.  Daddy’s Boo, ridden by Jose Valdivia, took the Steve Morgan Memorial Stakes in gate-to-wire fashion for trainer Larry Rivelli and owner Patricia’s Hope LLC.  Daddy’s Boo was a major part of that; her victory was her fourth of the summer at Arlington, all of which she achieved for that trio.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, take a look back at the closing day features, and let me know your favourite moments of the Arlington racing meet in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: Arlington Closing Day – Pick 6 Carryover Sequence

If you love carryovers and turf racing, you need to play Arlington’s closing day Pick 6.

The Pick 6 has a $0.20 minimum bet, and it covers the last six races (races 7-12).  Every race in the sequence is a grass race, and none drew a field smaller than eleven horses.  So, it will be competitive, and it will pay if you’re right.  And, the pot is sweetened: there’s a $64,381 carryover leading into the final day, and there’s a mandatory payout since it’s closing day.

Here are my thoughts on the sequence, as well as my A/B/C/X chart.  Good luck, and let’s get a piece of that carryover!

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my take on Arlington’s closing day Pick 6 sequence, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Les Ahrens Memorial Stakes and Steve Morgan Memorial Stakes Preview

Arlington’s summer meet draws to a close on Saturday with a twelve-race card.  Set your clocks a little early if you’re planning to come out to the track; to make sure everyone crosses the wire before sunset, first post will be at 12:25pm, an hour earlier than usual.  Co-anchoring the card are two $65,000 overnight stakes races for older turf milers.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Saturday’s pair of closing day stakes races at Arlington, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: Chicago Racing Review – September 14-16, 2017

We draw ever closer to the end of the Arlington summer meet.  But, before the final weekend, let’s take a look back at last week.  Of course, Picks and Ponderings has already discussed Saturday’s pair of stakes races, the Richard Scherer Memorial (won by Puntsville) and the Jeff Lynn Memorial (won by Good Bye Greg).

But, let’s visit the highlights of the rest of the week’s action!

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, catch up on the highlights from last week at Arlington, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!