Weekend Stakes Preview 10/08

Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup highlights second weekend at Keeneland

Keeneland is back for another great weekend of racing and the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup is the feature on Saturday. A field of nine will go to post including Senterio Italia who has drawn the far outside. Senterio Italia is looking for her first Grade 1 win in this race, but she’s crushed her opponents in her last pair of races, both Grade 2 wins. She’s beaten several of the rivals she’ll see in the QEII in those wins and she figures to be a solid betting favorite on Saturday. Prize Exhibit and Her Emmynency both ship over from the west coast and both could be very live challengers to Senterio Italia. Prize Exhibit is a Grade 2 winner and is Grade 1 placed. This will be her second time shipping East and the first try was one of her poorer starts, a 5th place finish in the Penn Oaks at Penn National. Her Emmynency led the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks in mid-stretch before losing by three quarters of a length to Sharla Rae. She also missed in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante by a neck last year, so she’s proven she can keep top level company. She gets the services of Florent Geroux for the QEII who replaces Rafael Bejarano. Geroux rode her to an allowance win at Arlington Park earlier this summer.

Miss Temple City picks up first time Lasix for the QEII, a move trainer Graham Motion hits at 25% with. She tends to do her best work from up near the lead, so she should be sitting just off of Feathered early on who looks like the controlling speed. Blond Me is an intriguing runner as she finished second behind Senterio Italia last time out in the Grade 2 Sands Point. That was her first start in the US and with that under her belt she should be set for a big effort on Saturday. Selections for the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup

  1. Senterio Italia
  2. Her Emmynency
  3. Blond Me

Longshot: Olorda

Saturday Night is West Virginia Breeders’ Classic Night at Charles Town

The West Virginia bred will be on display at Charles Town on Saturday night as all nine races are added money events for WV breds. The feature is the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders’ Classic which drew a field of ten and features one of the best rivalries in the sport. Lucy’s Bob Boy and Russell Road will meet once again, as they have numerous times. Russell Road won this race last year with Lucy’s Bob Boy finishing second. They met in a stakes race at Charles Town in August and it was Lucy’s Bob Boy who got the win that time. A top three finish would send Russell Road over $2,000,000 in career earnings while Lucy’s Bob Boy is just $30,000 shy of becoming a millionaire. They both have good speed, but the speed of the speed could come from their outside in the form of Hidden Canyon. Hidden Canyon is 9 for 13 lifetime and finished second behind Lucy’s Bob Boy in that August 15th stake event. This race being at a mile and one eighth though, the distance is the big question mark with Hidden Canyon, as seven furlongs has been his max.

The West Virginia Breeders’ Classic night card features nine stakes events for West Virginia Breds and gets underway at 7:05pm EST on Saturday night. Selections for the WV Breeders’ Classic

  1. Russell Road
  2. Lucy’s Bob Boy
  3. Airspeed

Longshot: Prince of Windsor

Knickerbocker Stakes is Belmont Saturday feature

Eleven horses will take to the turf on Saturday for the $200,000 Knickerbocker Stakes at Belmont Park. It’s an intriguing mix of styles and should be a good betting race. Defending champ Legendary is 0 for 6 since winning the Knickerbocker Stakes last season, but did finish a good second in the Commonwealth Cup last time out behind Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker drew the #9 hole in the Knickerbocker and along with winning the Commonwealth Cup last time out, he returns to Belmont Park where he’s 3 for 7 in his career on the lawn. War Dancer has yet to win on the Belmont lawn but he’s been a big contender in Grade 1 races before, including missing by a neck in the Grade 1 Man O’War here earlier this season.

VE Day hasn’t had a strong 2015 so his connections will try him on the turf, where he started his career at. He does own a win on the grass, and it was at Belmont Park just before winning the Travers. Former Grade 2 winner Blingo returns off a year and a half layoff in the Knickerbocker. He’s 2 for 5 on the turf and will be ridden by Fernando Jara, who is off to an 0 for 26 start at Belmont this meet. Selections for the Knickerbocker

  1. Speaker
  2. All Included
  3. Cage Fighter

Longshot: Legendary

Stakes Double at Santa Anita on Saturday

A pair of $100,000 stakes events for two year olds on the grass will highlight the Saturday program at Santa Anita. The $100,000 Zuma Beach Stakes is for the two year old boys while the $100,000 Surfer Girl Stakes is for the two year old fillies. A field of ten will go in the Zuma Beach including I’malreadythere who finished third in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf in his last start. There are no stakes winners in the field, but with plenty of good maiden breakers the competition is good. Bully Pulpit has two wins and was claimed by Craig Lewis two starts back for $50,000. He finished third in the $75,000 Contender Stakes last time out and will try the grass and two turns for the first time.

The Surfer Girl Stakes drew eleven two year old fillies including Del Mar Juvenile Filly Turf stakes winner Jakaby Jake. She’s won two races and that stakes win at Del Mar was her United States debut for trainer Doug O’Neill. She beat One Last Shot that day who is back to take her on in the Surfer Girl. Stays in Vegas will look to rebound from a fifth place effort in the Del Mar Debutante. She’s won a pair of stakes so far in her career and will try the lawn for the first time in the Surfer Girl. Selections for the Zuma Beach

  1. Lucky Brian
  2. I’malreadythere
  3. Go Long

Longshot: Mighty Moses Selections for the Surfer Girl Stakes

  1. One Last Shot
  2. Jackaby Jake
  3. Stays in Vegas

Longshot: Lucky Folie

Saturday Stakes Action at

Belmont Park

Race 9                  Knickerbocker Stakes                         5:19pm EST

Charles Town

Race 1                  WV Breeders’ Classic Distaff                 7:05pm EST

Race 2                  WV Division of Tourism Classic              7:38pm EST

Race 3                  Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Classic        8:10pm EST

Race 4                  WV Crown Nutrition Classic Stakes       8:39pm EST

Race 5                  WV Dash for Cash Classic Stakes          9:09pm EST

Race 6                  WV Onion Juice Classic                       9:40pm EST

Race 7                  WV Cavada Classic                             10:10pm EST

Race 8                  WV Breeders’ Classic                          10:48pm EST

Race 9                  WV Lottery Classic                             11:17pm EST


Race 3                  Fresno Dash                                      4:15pm EST


Race 9                  Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup                  5:30pm EST

Northlands Park

Race 7                  Duchess of York Handicap                   6:00pm EST


Race 10             Plum Pretty Stakes                            4:58pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 5                  Zuma Beach Stakes                            6:00pm EST

Race 7                  Surfer Girl Stakes                               7:00pm EST


Race 8                  Victorian Queen Stakes                      4:25pm EST

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