Weekend Stakes Preview 4/24

Keeneland wraps up Friday, Churchill Downs opens up on Saturday night!


There may be no better time for racing in the Bluegrass State than the April and May, as Keeneland closes up shop this weekend on Friday and racing switches over to Churchill Downs on Saturday night.  Keeneland will wind up the racing season with the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes on the grass, while Saturday night at Churchill will feature the Grade 3 Derby Trial, the last chance for horses to get points towards a spot in the gate for the Kentucky Derby.  The Elkhorn drew eleven runners to go the marathon twelve furlong distance.  Interestingly enough, the four favorites in the race all drew the far outside post positions.  Ioya Bigtime is one of the few in this field with a good record at the distance.  He’s 2 for 5 at a mile and a half and should be forwardly placed throughout, if not on the lead.  His main competition comes from outside of him, as Pool Play, Forti dei Marmi and Al Khali drew posts 9,10 and 11.  Pool Play is a Grade 2 winner on dirt, but is 0 for 8 on the grass.  Forti Dei Marmi has all of his career wins on the grass, but has never hit the exacta in three tries at 12 furlongs.  Al Khali is 0 for 8 at 12 furlongs, but did just miss last year in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer.


The Derby Trial at Churchill will kick off a great season of racing in Louisville, which of course culminates with the Kentucky Derby next Saturday.  The Churchill Downs Saturday Night card kicks off at 6pm EST with eleven races, including the featured Derby Trial which is race 10.  The Derby Trial drew nine runners, and as it seems with every Kentucky Derby prep, Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher are sending out some bullets.  Zee Bros will represent Bob Baffert’s stable after a smashing win in his second career start.  He ran a good second behind Salutos Amigos in his career bow.  Pletcher will send out a pair including sprinter Forty Tales who should be right at home at this seven furlong distance.  Pletcher also sends out Capo Bastone who is coming off a dull ninth place finish at the Spiral Stakes, but that was over a synthetic course.


BetPTC.com Selections for the Elkhorn at Keeneland

  1. Ioya Bigtime
  2. Forti Dei Marmi
  3. Al Khali

Longshot: Al Qasr


BetPTC.com Selections for the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs

  1. Capo Bastone
  2. Zee Bros
  3. Forty Tales

Longshot: Tour Guide



Hollywood Park opens up, Gold Rush Day on Saturday


Hollywood Park will commence the Spring/Summer meet on Thursday afternoon.  Great racing from Southern California will start up on Thursday with racing each day kicking off at 4:00pm EST.  Saturday will be a great day to mark the kickoff of the big season, with California Gold Rush Day being contested on the track.  Cal-breds will compete in eight great stakes events, including the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes.  Tiz a Minister is off the Kentucky Derby trail and will compete as one of the favorites in this mile and one eighth race.  He took the $300,000 Cal Breeders’ Stakes in January and followed that up with a big third place finish in the San Felipe Stakes, a race that he was closing fast in.  He’s a stone cold closer, so he is susceptible to the pace.  Nina’s Dragon will return to California after a twelfth place finish in the Louisiana Derby.  He was second in the El Camino Real Derby and should relish the return to a synthetic surface.  Omega Star is another strong contender, who is coming off a narrow win in the Echo Eddie Stakes.


The $125,000 Tiznow and B. Thoughtful Stakes headline the undercard of stakes action.  The Tiznow is at seven and one half furlongs for the older runners and features John Scott.  John Scott was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and has been a regular on the stakes scene in California for the last year.  He comes off a win over the grass and Santa Anita and will be shortening back up to seven and a half furlongs.  The B. Thoughtful Stakes looks like it goes through Grade 1 winner Teddy’s Promise who comes into this race razor sharp.  Plus she’s 4 for 8 at Hollywood Park.  Her main competition could come from Dancingtothestars.


BetPTC.com Selections for the Snow Chief

  1. Omega Star
  2. Tiz a Minister
  3. Nina’s Dragon

Longshot: Alydidit


BetPTC.com Selections for the Tiznow Stakes

  1. John Scott
  2. Bailouttheminister
  3. Mel’s Game

Longshot: Planet Sunshine


BetPTC.com Selections for the B. Thoughtful

  1. Teddy’s Promise
  2. Dancingtothestars
  3. Curvy Cat

Longshot: Warren’s Amber


$200,000 up for grabs in Texas Mile at Lone Star


Lone Star Park racing is starting to heat up with the weather and this Saturday the Grade 3 $200,000 Texas Mile is the centerpiece.  Five of the six runners have never raced at Lone Star Park, and many are shipping in from the recently completed Oaklawn Park meeting.  Master Rick has been given the role of morning line favorite and comes off a big allowance win at Oaklawn.  He was however beaten handily twice in stakes at Oaklawn this meet by Donoharm who drew post six and is 6/1 on the morning line.  That price appears to be high because of his dull eighth place finish last out in the Razorback Handicap.  Majestic Harbor could be the speed of the speed and is coming out of a very salty race that was won by the monster Graydar.  Majestic Harbor set the pace to the top of the lane, but couldn’t stay with some of the top handicap runners around.


The Texas Mile is race 9 on Saturday at Lone Star Park and post time is at 6:19pm EST.

BetPTC.com Selections for the Texas Mile
1.  Majestic Harbor
2.  Donoharm
3. Prayer For Relief
Longshot: Get In Da House


Final weekend of racing at Hawthorne features six stakes’ Saturday


Hawthorne Race Course in Chicago is a favorite for BetPTC.com players because of the great value and player rewards available.  Hawthorne will wrap up the Spring season on Sunday, but Saturday will feature a day of Illinois State-bred racing action.  Racing from Chicago gets underway at 2:40pm EST and all six stakes races will feature $100,000 purses.  Contrary to many state-bred stakes days, this event at Hawthorne features not only big fields, but wide open races and in none of the six races is the morning line favorite less than 5/2.  No layovers or gimme’s, but rather great handicapping puzzles to figure out.




Saturday Stakes action at BetPTC.com


Betfair Hollywood Park

Race 1                  Warren’s Thoroughbred Stakes           4:00pm EST

Race 3                  NTRA Stakes                                       5:01pm EST

Race 4                  Melair Stakes                                       5:32pm EST

Race 5                  Tiznow Stakes                                      6:04pm EST

Race 6                  Grey Memo Stakes                              6:35pm EST

Race 8                  B. Thoughtful Stakes                           7:35pm EST

Race 9                  Snow Chief Stakes                              8:00pm EST

Race 10                Alphabet Kisses Stakes                       8:30pm EST


Calder Race Course

Race 11       Big Drama Stakes                                         5:20pm EST


Churchill Downs

Race 10       Derby Trial Stakes                                        10:43pm EST


Delta Downs

Race 9                  John Alleman Memorial Stakes             11:05pm EST


Evangeline Downs

Race 10       John Henry Stakes                                         10:25pm EST


Golden Gate Fields

Race 6                  San Francisco Mile                                 6:15pm EST



Race 4         Peach of It Handicap                                       4:14pm EST

Race 5                  Robert Molaro Handicap                         4:44pm EST

Race 6                  Third Chance Handicap                          5:14pm EST

Race 7                  Pretty Jenny Stakes                                5:46pm EST

Race 8                  Milwaukee Avenue Stakes                      6:17pm EST

Race 9                  Land Of Lincoln Stakes                           6:48pm EST


Lone Star Park

Race 9                  Texas Mile                                               6:19pm EST



Race 8                  Shine Again Stakes                                 4:50pm EST

Race 10       Federico Tesio Stakes                                      5:52pm EST


Prairie Meadows

Race 8                  Goldfinch Stakes                                     10:37pm EST


SunRay Park

Race 8                  Jack Cole Stakes                                     5:43pm EST


Turf Paradise

Race 4                  Grand Canyon Handicap                         5:25pm EST

Race 5                  Joanne Dye Stakes                                 5:56pm EST

Race 7                  Dwight Patterson Stakes                         6:59pm EST

Race 8                  Ann Owens Distaff                                   7:31pm EST


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