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!

Picks and Ponderings: Puntsville, Good Bye Greg Win Stakes Honoring Local Trainers

Chicago horse racing lost two of its own earlier this year, trainers Richard Scherer and Jeffrey Lynn.  In their memories, Arlington ran a pair of main-track sprint stakes today: chances for the Chicago-area racing community to get together, celebrate their memories, and enjoy the sport to which both devoted so much of their lives.

In both races, heavily favoured frontrunners ruled the day.  Good Bye Greg took the Jeff Lynn Memorial gate-to-wire.  Two races later, Puntsville annexed the Richard Scherer Memorial in similarly easy fashion.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, and read my looks back at the Richard Scherer Memorial Stakes and the Jeff Lynn Memorial Stakes!

Picks and Ponderings: Arlington Early Pick 4 Carryover

When a Brave ‘n Away baby is the shortest-priced winner in a Pick 4 sequence, you may have a big payout afoot.  Or, in Thursday’s case, when Away She Glows ($13.00) was followed by Wayaway ($24.40), Time For Parading ($23.80), and class-jumping Americanperfection ($35.80), it’s a recipe for a $14,977 carryover in Friday’s early Pick 4.

The wager covers races 1-4, and carryover pays out as long as there are any winning tickets.  So, it’s time to get handicapping and planning that ticket!  Brisnet offers free past performances, as they do for every day during the Arlington meet, they’re right here if you’d like to sharpen your pencil and try your hand at handicapping the sequence.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my analysis of today’s early Pick 4 at Arlington, and take a shot at getting your share of the carryover!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Arlington-Washington Futurity Day Stakes Preview

Saturday’s ten-race card at Arlington features a trio of stakes races; this piece takes a look at all of them.  As planned all meet, the card features a pair of $75,000 listed stakes for two-year-olds: the Arlington-Washington Futurity and the Arlington-Washington Lassie.  Both of the races drew well-subscribed fields of two-year-olds: ten males in the Futurity, and a full gate of fourteen fillies for the Lassie.  A late addition to Saturday’s card is the Avers Wexler Memorial Stakes, an overnight stakes race for older fillies and mares, traversing two turns on the main track at Arlington.  Despite the short notice, the race drew a healthy field of nine to compete for the $65,000 purse.

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

Picks and Ponderings: Rolling Meadows Stakes: Special filly Babybluesbdancing comes home, proves best

Babybluesbdancing has carried the legacy of Lizabeth and Terrel Gore’s farm — and of her six-time stakes-winning dam Bluesbdancing — as well as anyone could have dreamed.  She marked herself at the top of her two-year-old class with a resounding victory in last year’s Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante at Hawthorne.  She continued her dominance of the division this year, easily winning this year’s Purple Violet Stakes.  Babybluesbdancing then proved able to hold her own outside the land of Lincoln.  She achieved something Bluesbdancing never did, a graded stakes placing, when she ran second in the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks.  In her most recent start, on August 12, she finished fourth in the Monmouth Oaks (G3).

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, catch up on Babybluesbdancing’s victory in today’s Rolling Meadows Stakes, and learn more about Illinois’s star sophomore filly!

Picks and Ponderings: Arlington Heights Stakes: Undefeated Devileye Wins the Clash of Illinois’s Sophomore Titans

Horse racing has a way of coming full circle, even after an eventful year.

On August 19 of last year, SMOKE ‘N GLOAT went off the favourite in an Illinois-bred maiden special weight at Arlington.  A longshot, 12/1 first-time starter DEVILEYE, rode the rail to a narrow victory.  Their paths diverged from there, not to cross again until today’s Arlington Heights Stakes.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, take a look back at today’s Arlington Heights Stakes, and find out what Devileye may be looking at next!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Rolling Meadows Stakes Preview

Arlington Park hosts a special Monday card on Labor Day, September 4.  The centerpiece of the day’s action is the Rolling Meadows Stakes, a seven-furlong polytrack test for Illinois-bred sophomore fillies.  Six have passed the entry box to vie for a share of a $65,000 purse. The Rolling Meadows Stakes takes its name from the suburb that hugs the southern and western borders of the racetrack.

The other town near the track lends its name to Saturday’s stakes feature, the Arlington Heights Stakes, which features state-bred sophomore males.  Both the Rolling Meadows Stakes and the Arlington Heights stakes are among seven overnight stakes announced late in August, which enhance the final month of Arlington’s racing schedule.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Monday’s Rolling Meadows Stakes at Arlington, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!