Weekend Stakes Preview 7/31

Grade 1 Whitney headlines big Saratoga Saturday 

Palace Malice will look to cement his status as possibly the top older horse in training as he headlines a group of nine in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap.  Palace Malice will carry a co-highweight of 124 pounds along with Will Take Charge in the mile and one eighth.  Palace Malice has been spectacular this year so far with four straight wins, including a score in the Grade 1 Met Mile earlier this summer.  Palace Malice is 2 for 4 at this distance and should be employing a stalking style in the Whitney.  Will Take Charge on the other hand usually comes from far off the pace.  One of his biggest wins came here at Saratoga last year when he won the Grade 1 Travers Stakes.  Luis Saez will be back on board of Will Take Charge after being taken off in the last two starts for Gary Stevens.  Will Take Charge will have to break from the rail but with his big come from behind style, it shouldn’t effect his running style.  It’smyluckyday comes into this race on absolute fire with three straight wins, including a win last time out in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile.  He also should be close up early on behind likely pacesetter Moreno who will be going to the front.  Departing will also take some money as he always does, but he will have to show more down the lane to get the win.

The Grade 1 Test Stakes headlines the undercard and as always is one of the best betting races of the summer, with a wide open group of talented three year old fillies going seven furlongs.  Multiple Grade 1 winner Sweet Reason headlines the cast and comes in off a win over several of the rivals she’ll see on Saturday in the Acorn at Belmont.  Southern Honey is the new shooter on the scene as she’s rattled off three straight wins including the Grade 3 Winning Colors at Churchill Downs.  Fiftyshadesofgold is a Grade 3 winner and will get some action at the windows as will Princess Violet as she was just second behind Untapable in the Mother Goose Stakes.  The Grade 1 Vanderbilt drew eight sprinters including Grade 1 winner Capo Bastone.  Capo Bastone has only run at Saratoga once and what a big score it was as he took the Grade 1 Kings Bishop last year.  Palace drew the rail and won the Grade 2 True North earlier this spring at Belmont.  Happy My Way has primarily been running in the listed stakes level but he’s been putting up some big speed figure wins in her last three. Selections for the Whitney

  1. Will Take Charge
  2. Itsmyluckyday
  3. Palace Malice

Longshot: Last Gunfighter Selections for the Test

  1. Southern Honey
  2. Sweet Reason
  3. Princess Violet

Longshot: Red Velvet Selections for the Vanderbilt

  1. Capo Bastone
  2. Bakken
  3. Palace

Longshot: Falling Sky Selections for the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes

  1. Dayatthespy
  2. Pianist
  3. Ready Signal

Longshot: Baffle Me

Grade 2 West Virginia Derby tops an all-stakes card at Mountaineer

The $750,000 Grade 2 West Virginia Derby will top an all-stakes card at Mountaineer on Saturday as part of a special afternoon of racing.  First post is at 2pm EST and there are nine races, all stakes, with the West Virginia Derby the most prestigious.  Candy Boy has been installed as the 9/5 favorite coming off of a solid second place performance behind Shared Belief in the $500,000 Los Alamitos Derby.  Candy Boy looked as though he was going to really challenge Shared Belief, but Shared Belief edged away late to win by over four lengths.  Candy Boy likes to employ a stalking or closing style and he’ll have to overcome drawing the far outside post position in the nine furlong event.  Tapiture who is a multiple Grade 3 winner is coming into the West Virginia Derby off a big win in the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs.  Tapiture is trained by Steve Asmussen who has won four of the last nine West Virginia Derby’s, including for Tapiture’s owner Winchell Thoroughbreds with Zanjero.  There is a lot of long shot speed in the race but Vicar’s in Trouble could also be a horse to send, as he’s done all his best work up on the front end, including his win in the Louisiana Derby.  Alan Garcia will take the mount for the first time on Vicar’s in Trouble in the West Virginia Derby.

The $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes is the top undercard event as the other seven stakes all offer a $100,000 purse.  Recent Grade 1 winner Moonshine Mullin has quickly turned into a top older horse and he’s going after his sixth straight win.  He won the Grade 2 Alysheba two starts back and popped up with a wire to wire score in the Stephen Foster last time out.  Grade 3 Cornhusker winner Carve and Grade 1 placed Mylute are the two second choices and both should be closing late, but will have to rundown Moonshine Mullin. Selections for the West Virginia Derby

  1. Tapiture
  2. Vicar’s In Trouble
  3. Candy Boy

Longshot: Divine View Selections for the WV Governor’s Stakes

  1. Moonshine Mullin
  2. Carve
  3. Falling Sky

Longshot: Voodoo Storm

So. Cal fillies tussle in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes

Seven older fillies and mares will compete on Saturday at Del Mar in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes.  Iotapa is coming off one of the biggest Grade 1 scores in recent memory as she ran off to a ten length win in the Grade 1 Vanity at Santa Anita last time out.  She rode a speed bias track and an easy lead to that victory, but she could get some early heat from Broken Sword who is a total frontrunner.  Parranda has been keeping very tough company while running on the grass in Southern California and will shift to the synthetic main track for the Clement L. Hirsch.  Parranda has never run over a synthetic surface but has been training well over the Del Mar main track that she’ll be running on Saturday.  Fiftyshadesofhay will be returning to the west coast for the Clement L. Hirsch after a successful two race trip back east that saw her win the Grade 2 Ruffian at Belmont and a third place finish at Churchill in the Grade 2 Fleur De Lis Stakes.  She’s run over a synthetic three times with one win, however her lone Del Mar start resulted in an off the board finish. Selections for the Clement L. Hirsch

  1. Parranda
  2. Iotapa
  3. More Chocolate

Longshot: Legacy 

The Hambletonian is Saturday night at Meadowlands

One of harness racing’s biggest events, the $1,000,000 Hambletonian on Saturday afternoon.  Father Patrick will put his 15 race winning steak on the line as he’s been installed as the 4/5 favorite.  He drew the number ten post position which could be tough for him to overcome, but he’s certainly still the horse to beat.  Trainer Jimmy Takter who trains Father Patrick will also send out the second and third choices in the form of Trixton and Nuncio.  The $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks looks a little more evenly matched as Designed to Be is the 2/1 favorite and has drawn the rail.  The second choice, Shake it Cerry, drew the 11 post, which in this case will break right behind Designed To Be in the second tier.  Saturday’s card at Meadowlands gets underway at 12pm EST and features fifteen races in total. Selections for the Hambletonian

  1. Datsyuk
  2. Father Patrick
  3. Nuncio

Longshot: Harper Blue Chip Selections for the Hambletonian Oaks

  1. Designed to Be
  2. Lifetime Pursuit
  3. Heaven’s Door

Longshot: Take the Money

Saturday Stakes Action at

Del Mar

Race 8                  Clement L. Hirsch Stakes                    8:30pm EST


Race 9                  Soaring Softly Stakes                         5:30pm EST

Louisiana Downs

Race 1                  La. Cup Juvenile Fillies                         3:50pm EST

Race 2                  La. Cup Filly and Mare Sprint            4:14pm EST

Race 3                  AL Erwin Stakes                                4:43pm EST

Race 4                  La. Cup Sprint                                   5:12pm EST

Race 5                  Elge Raspberry Stakes                        5:41pm EST

Race 6                  La. Cup Juvenile                                6:09pm EST

Race 7                  La. Cup Distaff                                  6:36pm EST

Race 8                  Super Derby Prelude                          7:03pm EST

Race 9                  La. Cup Turf Classic                            7:30pm EST


Race 11                My Frenchman Stakes                        5:59pm EST


Race 1                  Mountaineer Juvenile                         2:00pm EST

Race 2                  WV Legislators Chairman’s Cup          2:30pm EST

Race 3                  WV Secretary of State Stakes             3:00pm EST

Race 4                  Mountaineer Juv. Fillies Stake              3:30pm EST

Race 5                  WV Senate Presidents Cup                  4:00pm EST

Race 6                  Senator Robert Byrd Memorial           4:30pm EST

Race 7                  WV Governor’s Stakes                        5:12pm EST

Race 8                  West Virginia Derby                             5:45pm EST

Race 9                  WV House of Delegates Speaker S.      6:15pm EST

Prairie Meadows

Race 4                  Iowa Cradle Stakes                            8:51pm EST

Race 5                  Iowa Classic Sprint                             9:20pm EST

Race 6                  Iowa Sorority Stakes                          9:49pm EST

Race 7                  Iowa Breeders’ Oaks                          10:19pm EST

Race 8                  Iowa Breeders’ Derby                         10:47pm EST

Race 9                  Donna Reed Stakes                           11:16pm EST

Race 10               Ralph Hayes Stakes                            11:45pm EST

Santa Rosa

Race 9                  Robert Dupret Derby                         8:15pm EST


Race 7                  Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes       4:10pm EST

Race 8                  Vanderbilt Handicap                         4:42pm EST

Race 9                  Test Stakes                                       5:14pm EST

Race 10               Whitney Handicap                             5:46pm EST

Race 11                 Lure Stakes                                      6:20pm EST


Race 8                  Eternal Search Stakes                        4:52pm EST




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