Weekend Stakes Preview 1/1/14

Big Stakes Saturday at Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park will showcase three added money events as part of a big Saturday of racing in South Florida.  Three year old sprinters will take center stage in the $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes at six furlongs as the 10th race on the card.  Corfu won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special last summer and was second in the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont Park as well.  After a dull fifth place finish at Laurel last time he’s coming back to make his first start in South Florida for Todd Pletcher.  Corfu is a need the lead type, so whether or not he can make the lead is the big question for him.  Most of the other early speed seems to be lined up to the outside with each of the 5 through 8 posts featuring speed types.  Elusive Blueboy is drawn on the far outside and is coming off a stakes win at Calder Race Course.  His first two tries of his career were at Gulfstream where he won on debut and then ran a very good second in an allowance event that earned him a very strong speed figure.  Giancarlo has raced only at Calder and has just the maiden win, however sometimes coming over from Calder can be advantageous because it’s a deep and tiring track.

The Grade 3 Old Hat Stakes drew just a field of six three year old fillies to go six furlongs, but what the race lacks in field size it makes up for in talent.  Zensational Bunny comes down from Woodbine with a perfect 2 for 2 record and a stakes win in her pocket.  She’s drawn the number 2 post, just outside of Sweet Whiskey who was last seen running second in the Grade 2 Matron at Belmont Park.  Milam should also be a big contender as she just scored a big allowance win at Churchill Downs last time out.  The Grade 3 Marshua’s River will pit eleven older fillies and mares going a mile and a sixteenth on the grass.  Abaco comes into the race off a Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs, a race that saw him fly from way off the pace to get the win.  He was second in the Suwannee River last year at Gulfstream Park, a Grade 3 event.  Somali Lemonade will make her Gulfstream debut and she was once a head away from winning a Grade 1 race.  But her last four starts, all against graded rivals, have resulted in two 5th place and two 6th place finishes, so maybe the change of scenery will help.  Rose To Gold is intriguing as well as she’ll be making her second start over the grass.  She was 5th in the My Charmer at Calder last time out in her grass debut, a race she led in until mid-stretch. Selections for the Spectacular Bid Stakes

  1. Giancarlo
  2. Corfu
  3. Hollywood Talent

Longshot: Elusive Blueboy Selections for the Marshua’s River

  1. Angelica Zapata
  2. Abacco
  3. Deannaallen’skitten

Longshot: Somali Lemonade Selections for the Old Hat

  1. Milam
  2. Sweet Whiskey
  3. Zensational Bunny

Longshot: Side Street

Road to Tampa Bay Derby continues Saturday with the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs

Eight three year olds will go seven furlongs in Saturday’s $100,000 Pasco Stakes, which is the next stop on the road to the Tampa Bay Derby.  As with many three year old stakes at Gulfstream it’s often a battle of the local runners versus the Gulfstream shippers.  Cool Cowboy might have cemented his status as the local favorite after his dominating win last time out in the Inaugural Stakes at Tampa, his first start locally.  His three wins have all been when he gets the early lead and his two losses were when he didn’t, so it will be important to handicap the pace. Giancarlo, who is cross entered in the Spectacular Bid at Gulfstream looks like possibly the only horse who could go with Cool Cowboy early on.  Giancarlo was speedy early at Calder which could translate well for him at Tampa.  Harry’s Holiday was claimed out of his big debut win and came back with a big win in his first try at Gulfstream Park last time out.  He’s shown some potential and seems to be improving in each and every start and this will be his first try in stakes company.

The Gasparilla Stakes will be seven furlongs for the three year old fillies and drew ten runners.  Enquete and My Sweet Dove will have a rematch of the Sandpiper, a race that saw them battle, with My Sweet Dove scoring a half length win.  They were ten lengths clear of the rest of the field that day and figure to get a lot of the attention at the windows on Saturday.  Enquete had been undefeated going into the Sandpiper but had to overcome being further off the pace than usual.  My Sweet Dove figures to be close up to the lead and figures to be tough once again.  Fast Betty Blue might be the best new addition to the field as she’s coming out of a good allowance that saw her second behind Milam, who’s entered at Gulfstream in the Old Hat. Selections for the Pasco Stakes

  1. Cool Cowboy
  2. Giancarlo
  3. Early Entry

Longshot: Black Label Selections for the Gasparilla

  1. Enquete
  2. Fast Betty Blue
  3. My Sweet Dove

Longshot: Ice For The Lady

Trio of Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday

Saturday’s at Santa Anita always mean great stakes action and this Saturday will feature a trifecta of added money events.  The Grade 2 San Gabriel is easily the best race on the program, with 10 runners set to go 9 furlongs on the grass.  Jeranimo is back to defend his title in this race and Rafael Bejarano will be on board looking for his sixth straight victory in this race.  Jeranimo actually won this race in 2010 again.  He is however coming into this race off three straight poor performances.  The last was a little bit better though as he closed to finish seventh only beaten three and a half lengths in the BC Turf Sprint.  Arctic North will be shortening up to a distance that he’s a perfect 2 for 2 at.  He’s been competing in marathon events in his last two starts back east, but will be returning to So. Cal as well as returning to a mile and one eighth.  Dubai You XYZ has been a very strong force in the allowance/optional claimer events and even tried the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile earlier this year and didn’t disgrace himself.  He could be ready to step up into the graded winners category sooner than later.

The earlier stakes on the card drew very small fields with the Grade 2 Santa Ynez featuring just four runners and none of them are stakes winners.  Taste Like Candy was however second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes which certainly might give her a class edge.   A speed edge may belong to Crushed Velvet who was a big maiden breaker for Bob Baffert in her debut.  The Midnight Lute Stakes features five runners in what looks like a very evenly matched group.  Midnight Transfer will be shortening up from a pair of route races and he’s had great success sprinting before.  Anillo and Cyclometer both have lots of early speed so look for them to be battling up front early on. Selections for the San Gabriel

  1. Jeranimo
  2. Dubai You XYZ
  3. Willyconker

Longshot: Utopian Selections for the Santa Ynez

  1. Taste Like Candy
  2. Crushed Velvet
  3. Uzziel Selections for the Midnight Lute

  1. Midnight Transfer
  2. Cyclometer
  3. Anillo

 Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 8                  Chispiski Stakes                                 4:00pm EST

Delta Downs

Race 8                  Big Drama Stakes                               10:00pm EST

Fair Grounds

Race 9                  Pan Zareta Stakes                             5:55pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 3                  Old Hat Stakes                                  1:38pm EST

Race 9                  Marshua’s River Stakes                        4:33pm EST

Race 10               Spectacular Bid Stakes                       5:03pm EST

Laurel Park

Race 2                  Frank Whiteley Stakes                        1:03pm EST

Race 4                  Marshua Stakes                                 1:59pm EST

Race 6                  Nellie Morse Stakes                            2:56pm EST

Race 8                  Fire Plug Stakes                                 3:55pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 2                  Santa Ynez Stakes                             4:00pm EST

Race 3                  Midnight Lute Stakes                         4:30pm EST

Race 8                  San Gabriel Stakes                             7:00pm EST

Sunland Park

Race 4                  Shue Fly N.M. Bred Stakes                   3:30pm EST

Tampa Bay

Race 3                  Pasco Stakes                                        1:28pm EST

Race 9                  Gasparilla Stakes                                4:22pm EST


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