Weekend Preview 9/18

California Chrome returns in the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness hero California Chrome will make his return to the races on Saturday in the $1,000,000 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing. California Chrome has drawn the rail and is the even money favorite for the nine furlong event. He’ll be making his first start since his fourth place finish in the Belmont Stakes and has been training well back at Los Alamitos for his return. Victor Espinoza will once again be on board and they’ll have to reel in Bayern who very well could be loose on the lead early. Bayern is very strong when he gets the lead early like he did in the Haskell Stakes. The question for him is whether he can sustain that early pace as he folded early in the Travers Stakes last time out. But the shortening in the distance could very well play to his advantage. His only real pace rival appears to be CJ’s Awesome who is coming off an impressive allowance win at Saratoga and taking a huge jump in class. Tapiture looms a big chance as well as he’s coming into this race off a hard fought win in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby last time out. He had some traffic trouble late but Rosie Napravnik was still able to get him up for the win.

The $1,000,000 Cotillion Stakes for the three year old fillies drew some of the top gals in the land, including the great Untapable. Untapable ran four of the best races of the year including a win in the Kentucky Oaks before running a disappointing 5th last time out in the Haskell Stakes against the boys. She’ll be making her first career start at Parx and will once again be ridden by Rosie Napravnik. Right to her outside in the Cotillion is Stopchargingmaria who is currently on a three race win streak. She won both the two big Grade 1’s at Saratoga, the CCA Oaks and the Alabama. She didn’t get huge figures for either win but her consistency and her gutsiness are definitely attributes. Sweet Reason has two Grade 1 wins in a row, but both at one turn. She’ll try two turns in the Cotillion, something that hasn’t been her strongest suit.

The Grade 3 Gallant Bob Stakes and the Alphabet Soup complete a huge card of racing at Parx that gets underway at 11:25am EST. Selections for the Pennsylvania Derby

  1. Tapiture
  2. California Chrome
  3. Bayern

Longshot: Noble Moon Selections for the Cotillion

  1. Untapable
  2. Jojo Warrior
  3. Stopchargingmaria

Longshot: Little Alexis Selections for the Gallant Bob

  1. Pure Sensation
  2. Fast Anna
  3. Favorite Tale

Longshot: Good Bye Greg Selections for the Alphabet Soup Stakes

  1. Atlantic Seaboard
  2. Roadhog
  3. Traffic Light

Longshot: Starry Moon

$500,000 Charles Town Oaks tops huge night in West Virginia

Charles Town Races will be having a huge stakes filled card on Saturday night that gets underway at 5:00pm EST and is headlined by the $500,000 Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks. It’s unique race as it’s a 7 furlong sprint but requires going two turns. Miss Behaviour comes off a second place finish behind Stonetastic who kind of freaked when winning the Prioress at Saratoga last time out by almost nine lengths. Prior to that Miss Behaviour was second at seven furlongs in the Grade 1 Test Stakes, so she definitely has a class advantage over many of the rivals she’ll see Saturday Night. Grade 3 Iowa Oaks winner Size will look to rebound off a disappointing effort in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes last time out. She has early speed so expect her to be close up in this race. However there is tons of pace, so who can workout the trip could be of utmost importance. Kiss To Remember is one of those speedy types and did win a nice allowance/optional claiming race at Churchill Downs at seven furlongs. She just got nailed at the wire at seven and a half furlongs on the grass, so maybe the slight cutback and experience at two turns could benefit her.

The Charles Town card gets underway on Saturday at 5:00pm EST and features ten total stakes races, ranging from $30,000 to $100,000, plus of course the $500,000 Charles Town Oaks which is carded as Race 11. Selections for the Charles Town Oaks

  1. Miss Behaviour
  2. Kiss To Remember
  3. Size

Longshot: Stormy Novel

Grade 2 Gallant Bloom is Belmont Saturday feature

Some top female sprinters will clash in the Saturday feature at Belmont Park, the Grade 2 $300,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap. Artemis Agrotera is coming off a simply sensational Grade 1 win in the Ballerina at Saratoga last month. She’s had two monstrous wins in her last pair and she’s proven herself a top class sprinter that will be tough to beat in this spot. La Verdad set the pace in the Ballerina and faded to fifth behind Artemis Agrotera that day. La Verdad will have to battle early on with Bridgehampton as both possess very quick early foot. Artemis Agrotera should be third or fourth early on as Merry Meadow also has very strong tactical speed. Merry Meadow has been in the exacta in 7 of 8 career starts at Belmont Park and is 2 for 6 at the distance. If she gets the right trip and possibly gets the jump on Artemis Agrotera she could be a big threat. Willet will be the closer to watch if the pace really boils over as she has turned in some big closing kicks in her day. She finished third in the Ballerina but was never going to catch Artemis Agrotera. Selections for the Gallant Bloom Handicap

  1. Artemis Agrotera
  2. Merry Meadow
  3. Willet

Longshot: Bridgehampton

Dogwood Stakes is Churchill Downs weekend feature 

The Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes for three year old fillies drew a solid field of ten and will be the showcase on the Saturday program at Churchill Downs. Fiftyshadesofgold is one of the likely favorites as she’s a perfect two for two at Churchill Downs, with both those starts being stakes wins. Three starts back she took the 8 Belles Stakes on Kentucky Oaks Day. Her last two tries were against Grade 1 company and she held her own, finishing fourth in both those efforts, so she’ll definitely appreciate the class relief in the Dogwood. Maggi Moss and Tom Amoss will send over Kiss To Remember for the Dogwood. She’s been second in a pair of races up at Indiana Downs and will return to Churchill Downs where she won an allowance/optional claiming event three starts back. That race was also her lone start at seven furlongs, so clearly this trip was one she liked. Honey’s Ryan is stepping up in class off a huge allowance win at Thistledown. She’s turned in some really big performances at smaller tracks like Remington and Thistledown. She’s a $1,500 auction purchase, but she’s extremely fast and if she brings her A game she could be a long shot hope. Selections for the Dogwood Stakes

  1. Milam
  2. Fiftyshadesofgold
  3. A Kiss To Remember

Longshot: Honey’s Ryan

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 8         Gallant Bloom Handicap                       4:45pm EST

Charles Town

Race 1         Dr. Ernest Benner Handicap                5:00pm EST

Race 2          Rachel’s Turn Stakes                          5:30pm EST

Race 3           Roger Ramey Handicap                       6:01pm EST

Race 4           Harry Buch Memorial                           6:33pm EST

Race 5          Henry Mercer Memorial                       7:04pm EST

Race 7          It’s Only Money Stakes                       8:09pm EST

Race 8          Ann Hilton Stakes                              8:41pm EST

Race 9          Wild and Wonderful Stakes               9:13pm EST

Race 10       Pink Ribbon Stakes                            9:45pm EST

Race 11       Charles Town Oaks                            10:30pm EST

Churchill Downs

Race 9          Dogwood Stakes                               4:55pm EST

Delaware Park

Race 5           Kent Stakes                                      3:07pm EST


Race 10       Musical Romance                               6:04pm EST

Los Alamitos

Race 8            Katella Stakes                                   5:30pm EST


Race 9         Alphabet Soup Stakes                        3:25pm EST

Race 10       Gallant Bob Stakes                             4:00pm EST

Race 11       Cotillion Stakes                                  4:45pm EST

Race 12       Pennsylvania Stakes                            5:40pm EST


Race 6                  Avowal Stakes                                  3:31pm EST

Race 8                  Overskate Stakes                              4:35pm EST


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