Yesterday I went out to Hawthorne. Before the races, I got the chance to meet trainers Angie Coleman and Rob Rittof, talk a bit about harness racing, and learn firsthand what it’s like to drive a Standardbred
The Preakness Stakes is coming up this Saturday. And, over at Picks and Ponderings, Paul Mazur and I have taken a deep dive into the ten horses who will vie for Classic glory in Baltimore.
In addition, both of us have handicapped all the stakes races on the loaded undercard. Take a look at who we like — and if you’ve got any questions, tweet us or post a comment, because we’d love to talk.
Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read our preview of the Preakness and our Saturday stakes picks, and let us know your thoughts!
We head into Preakness Week. Entries for the second jewel of the Triple Crown will not be drawn until Wednesday, but we already know the contenders for Friday’s stakes-laden card at Pimlico. Over at Picks and Ponderings, I dive into the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, the feature. In addition, both Paul Mazur and I will share our selections for the stakes on Friday’s Pimlico card.
The stakes portion of the Arlington summer meet got underway Saturday with a well-matched renewal of the Grade 3 Hanshin Cup.
When all was said and done…the winning horse came as a surprise to most, though he will be familiar to anyone who follows the Chicago circuit closely. The winning trainer, long active in Chicago, got her long-awaited first graded stakes win. Head over to Picks and Ponderings, and catch up on the first stakes race of the meet!
This Saturday’s card at Arlington is excellent — nine competitive races, including the first stakes of the season, the Grade 3 Hanshin Cup. The one-turn polytrack mile drew a field of eleven, including defending champion Trace Creek, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Hootenanny, and ultra-dependable local Valiant City. Anyone could win…but who will?
As always we go horse-by-horse, point/counterpoint. Some horses, we see fairly similarly. Others, we disagree on. As always, we’re full of both information and snark.
In addition, I share my picks — including longshots — in all the stakes races this Saturday at Churchill Downs. Though, you’ll be hard pressed to find a longer shot than my top overall pick in the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2), a runner in perfect form to try a bit of an ambitious spot (particularly if the rain in the forecast comes to fruition).
So, head over to Picks and Ponderings, get to know the Derby field, and let us know your thoughts on Saturday’s Churchill Downs action in the comments!
Kentucky Derby week is officially underway!
Friday’s card at Churchill Downs features the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, as well as five other undercard stakes races. I preview the Oaks in depth over at Picks and Ponderings, and will post my selections and longshots for the other stakes races as I finish handicapping them. As always, if you have any questions about my logic on the undercard, leave a comment or send me a tweet.
Belmont gets underway this weekend, and Saturday’s card finds its anchor in the Elusive Quality Stakes. The race is one few American tracks can hold: a one-turn, seven-furlong grass race. Belmont’s sweeping course offers that option, and a field of seven (plus two main-track only entries, though rain is unlikely) have entered to contest the race. It should be a good one to play — though the field is not large, it is sufficiently evenly matched to be a fun betting race.
Saturday was the biggest day of racing all spring at Hawthorne: the Grade 3 Illinois Derby was back, as were two stakes for older state-bred sprinters, the Third Chance Handicap and the Robert S. Molaro Handicap! The Illinois Derby marked the stakes debut of a promising — yet later-developing — three-year-old runner. The Molaro proved the exact opposite, the local return of a horse who has been a dependable stakes-quality sprinter for four seasons now. And, in the Third Chance, a mare who had been knocking on the door for a while finally annexed her first stakes.
The day’s action features three stakes races. The Grade 3 Illinois Derby, which drew a field of seven sophomores, is the day’s centerpoint. The card also includes a pair of six and a half furlong stakes races for Illinois-breds. The Robert S. Molaro Handicap, open to any Illinois-breds aged three and up, will pit Grade 3 winner Recount against eight state-bred foes. The Third Chance Handicap, its fillies’ and mares’ complement, drew a wide-open field of seven, including Illinois-bred stakes winner Go Lady Jay.
(And then, if you haven’t jumped in yet, make sure to enter the Illinois Derby Challenge for Galloping Out!)