Weekend Stakes Preview 10/15

Million Dollar Canadian International tops huge Woodbine Sunday 

All eyes will be on Woodbine Sunday as the Toronto area track will present one of the biggest days of the season. The $1,000,000 Canadian International and the $500,000 EP Taylor top a huge card that kicks off at 1pm EST. A field of eleven will go in the International and many of the runners are coming out of the Grade 1 Northern Dancer at Woodbine, a race won by Interpol. Interpol was 10/1 that day and prior to that race had won the Grade 2 Dance Smartly at Woodbine at 21/1. Habibi and Triple Threat were 2nd and 3rd in the Northern Dancer and both figure to be big contenders in the International. Sheikhzayedroad returns to Woodbine where he won the Grade 1 Northern Dancer back in 2014. He’s failed to get a win since then but has been keeping very good company in Europe and the Middle East in those races. Up With the Birds returns to Woodbine and for good reason as he’s 2 for 2 over the course. He hasn’t made much of an impression in any of his 2015 starts though so a wake up call will be needed if he wants to contend.

The EP Taylor also drew a big field and it will be Strut the Course who has the local advantage. She’s won the Grade 2 Dance Smartly and the Grade 2 Canadian this season and her deep closing style is suited to the long stretch at Woodbine. Patrick Husbands lands on Euro shipper Devonshire who brings a strong resume into this race. She’s coming off a stakes win in Ireland and drawing Husbands to ride speaks to her ability. Eastern Belle comes up from New York where she’s had 4 consecutive second place finishes, the last three of which were in graded company. She also likes to fly from the back so getting a pace to run into and having clear traffic will be important.

The Grade 2 Nearctic kicks off the stakes action at Woodbine on Sunday and features Sweet Luca who just won the $300,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash last out. Ten fillies and mares will sprint in the Ontario Fashion Stakes which is race 6. First race gets underway Sunday at Woodbine at 1pm EST. Selections for the Canadian International

  1. Habibi
  2. Power Pad
  3. Sheikhzayedroad

Longshot: Reporting Star Selections for the EP Taylor

  1. Curvy
  2. Devonshire
  3. Strut the Course

Longshot: Lacy Selections for the Ontario Fashion Stakes

  1. Tahnee
  2. Cactus Kris
  3. Endless Light

Longshot: Ancient Goddess Selections for the Nearctic

  1. Summation Time
  2. Bye Bye Bernie
  3. Excaper

Longshot: Cylogenesis

Raven Run Stakes is Keeneland Saturday feature

The $250,000 Raven Run Stakes is the feature for the third Saturday of the Keeneland meet as we lead up to the Breeders’ Cup. Eleven three year old fillies will sprint seven furlongs in what should be a fantastic feature. Grade 2 winner Miss Ella returns to Keeneland after winning a $100,000 stake event at Belmont Park in her last start. She won the Grade 2 Beaumont here at Keeneland this spring in what was just her second career start and that was her only start at this seven furlong distance. Trevor McCarthy will get the ride for trainer Graham Motion in the Raven Run. Sarah Sis will look to rebound from a poor performance in the Charles Town Oaks last time out. She didn’t get to the lead in that effort and a return to her normal speed puts her back into the mix in this spot. Chide is coming off a fast closing second in the Grade 3 Dogwood at Churchill Downs in her last start. She was tenth in mid-stretch and flew late to get up for second and just miss. Bar of Gold is another who should be a contender. She was second in the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga two back and followed that up with a second place finish in the Grade 2 Prioress. She lost both those starts to Cavorting who isn’t in this race, so a respite from that filly could be all she needs. Selections for the Raven Run

  1. Sarah Sis
  2. Chide
  3. Bar of Gold

Longshot: Ahh Chocolate

Saturday is Maryland Millions Day at Laurel Park

Laurel Park will be celebrating the Maryland bred on Saturday with the annual Maryland Millions Day card. Seven stakes events are on the card with the $150,000 Maryland Millions Classic as the feature. The Classic drew a field of eleven including last year’s Maryland Millions Turf winner Talk Show Man. Talk Show Man drew the far outside post and is switching back to the main track after four straight off the board turf finishes. He has been good on the main track though so the surface isn’t as much a question as his general form is. Not Abroad won this race in 2012 and then retired shortly after that. But he was brought back into training and finished a well beaten fourth last time out in his first start in nearly three years. He’s a talented horse but it will take some accomplishment for him to win here.

The Maryland Millions Turf features Road Hog who has been a big player on the Maryland circuit over the years. Road Hog was third in this race last year behind Talk Show Man (who is in the Classic) and Ben’s Cat (who is going in the Sprint), so his toughest competition could all be gone. Havelock will make his Laurel debut and while he’s been known mostly as a turf sprinter over the years, he’s proven at the mile distance with a win at the distance. Ben’s Cat will be a huge favorite in the Maryland Millions Sprint. He’s 3/5 on the morning line and towers over the field in class and speed. His last dirt start was a win in the Fabulous Strike Handicap at Penn National and he’s 7 for 10 on a fast dirt track in his career. Selections for the Maryland Million Classic

  1. Phlash Phelps
  2. Talk Show Man
  3. Titan Alexander

Longshot: I’m Mr. Blue Selections for the Maryland Millions Turf

  1. Road Hog
  2. Barrel of Love
  3. AP Elvis

Longshot: Willy D’Rocket Selections for the Maryland Millions Sprint

  1. Ben’s Cat
  2. DC Dancer
  3. Regal Soldier

Longshot: Jack’s in the Deck Selections for the Maryland Million Distaff

  1. Miss Bullistic
  2. Classy Coco
  3. Smitten By Gold

Longshot: Spotted Heart

Hawthorne Derby is Saturday evening

A full field of twelve three year-olds will take to the grass on Saturday evening in Chicago in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby. Saham is the 4/1 morning line favorite coming of his win in the Grade 3 Jefferson Cup last time out at Churchill Downs. This will be his first start at Hawthorne but he’s showed versatility in his running style which should help given the big field. Granny’s Kitten is a late closer and if he gets the right setup, he could make some noise down the lane. He was second in the $200,000 Centaur Stakes at Indiana Grand last time out and just missed in the Grade 3 Penn Mile earlier this year. One Go All Go ships in from Laurel Park after winning the Grade 2 Commonwealth Derby at 35/1 last time out. He went wire to wire that day and it appears that’s his go to style. There really isn’t another horse in the field who is a need the lead type, so expect One Go All Go to be in front early on. Selections for the Hawthorne Derby

  1. Granny’s Kitten
  2. Syntax
  3. Saham

Longshot: Nun The Less

Saturday Stakes Action at

Belmont Park

Race 3                  Futurity Stakes                         2:01pm EST

Race 9                  Athenia Stakes                         5:19pm EST

Finger Lakes

Race 5                  NY Breeders’ Futurity                3:15pm EST


Race 8                  Hawthorne Derby                     6:40pm EST


Race 9                  Raven Run Stakes                     5:30pm EST

Laurel Park

Race 2                  MD Million Lassie                       12:52pm EST

Race 4                  MD Million Sprint                       2:03pm EST

Race 6                  MD Million Nursery                     3:18pm EST

Race 7                  MD Million Ladies                       3:54pm EST

Race 8                  MD Million Distaff                       4:29pm EST

Race 9                  MD Million Turf                         5:01pm EST

Race 10            MD Million Classic                       5:37pm EST


Race 8                  Valley Forge Stakes                   4:04pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 8                  Autumn Miss Stakes                           7:30pm EST

Turf Paradise

Race 8                  Bienvenidos Stakes                       7:39pm EST


Race 8                  Ruling Angel Stakes                           4:26pm EST




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