Weekend Stakes Preview 10/22

Saturday is Empire Showcase Day at Belmont 

The New York bred will be on display on Saturday at Belmont Park as eight stakes events for NY-breds will make up Empire Showcase Day. The $300,000 feature is the Empire Classic for older runners and features a group of nine runners. Royal Posse has been sensational since being claimed by Rudy Rodriguez four starts back. That improvement culminated last time out in the Shipman Stakes at Saratoga when Royal Posse got up to beat Saratoga Snacks in the final jump. Saratoga Snacks also shows up here and is a NY bred stakes winner. He was fourth in this race last year but his record at Belmont is a sensational 5 for 9. The speed in the Empire Classic should come from the far outside with Warrioroftheroses. Warrioroftheroses blitzed a group of optional claiming runners last time out at Delaware Park and returns to Belmont where he does have a win. For him, how fast he goes early will have a big say on how far he stays in front.

The $250,000 Empire Distaff drew a very talented feature and is slated in the feature race spot on the card. Wonder Gal only has one win to her credit but she’s multiple Grade 1 placed. She was well beaten in the Test Stakes though last time sprinting so the return to a longer distance as well as the class relief should make her a big contender. Temper Mint Patty was just second in the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks and returns to Belmont where she’s already a stakes winner. Discreet Marq figures to be a heavy favorite in the final race of the day, the $200,000 Ticonderoga. Even though she lost to The Tea Cups last time out in the Yaddo Stakes, she’s a multiple Grade 1 placed runner and has kept some of the top competition around.

She’s Al Ready leads the charge in the Maid of the Mist Stakes for two year old fillies. She has two wins and was third in the Grade 1 Frizette and owns a big speed edge. But with two year olds, any of these could jump up and improve and make it a race. La Verdad is a total standout in the Iroquois Stakes for sprinters as she’s been beating up on Grade 2 level runners consistently. Multiple Grade 1 winner Palace will look to get back into his winning ways as it’s been over a year since he last won. He’ll have to beat Captain Serious who doesn’t have the class of Palace but is very speedy and likes to win races. Selections for the Empire Classic

  1. Royal Posse
  2. Warrioroftheroses
  3. Saratoga Snacks

Longshot: Empire Dreams Selections for the Empire Distaff

  1. Hot Stones
  2. Wonder Gal
  3. Temper Mint Patty

Longshot: Star Grazing Selections for the Ticonderoga

  1. Discreet Marq
  2. The Tea Cups
  3. Neck of the Moon

Longshot: Selenite Selections for the Maid of the Mist

  1. She’s All Ready
  2. Super Surprise
  3. Melodic

Longshot: Lemon Liqueur Selections for the Mohawk

  1. Kharafa
  2. Lubash
  3. With Exultation

Longshot: Orino Selections for the Iroquois Stakes

  1. La Verdad
  2. Isabelle
  3. Hot City Girl

Longshot: Atlantic’s Smile Selections for the Hudson Handicap

  1. Captain Serious
  2. Palace
  3. Ostralenka

Longshot: John’s Island Selections for the Sleepy Hollow Stakes

  1. Get Jets
  2. Sudden Surprise
  3. Fish Trappe Road

Longshot: Spin Cycle 

Valley View is Keeneland Saturday feature

With just over a week to the Breeders’ Cup, Keeneland is gearing up for the big event. This Saturday’s feature is the $150,000 Valley View for three year old fillies on the lawn and drew a field of fourteen runners. Include Betty is a Grade 1 winner on dirt and will try the grass for the just the second time in her career. She’s coming off a good win in the $200,000 Remington Park Oaks and as a deep closer the race will have some pace for her to run into. Her only grass start did see her finish fifth, but it was against a tough group. Mrs. McDougal drew a tough post out in the 13 hole. She’s a Grade 2 winner but is coming off a rough trip in the Grade 2 Sands Point where she was parked out very wide at Belmont.

Sunset Glow has been keeping very tough company in Grade 1’s and 2’s but she hasn’t scored a win since her win in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante as a two year old. She consistently takes a lot of money on the win end and burns most of it. Osalia figures to get lots of support based off her connections and European form. Her fifth place finish in the Sands Point brings up some questions about her running here in the US. Selections for the Valley View

  1. McDougal
  2. Stormy Regatta
  3. Tiger Ride

Longshot: Gap Year

Twilight Derby tops Santa Anita Stakes double

The Grade 2 Twilight Derby is the feature event on Saturday at Santa Anita on a card that features two stakes races. The Twilight Derby drew ten runners including Del Mar Derby winner Om. Om is the type of runner who likes to run on the lead and went gate to wire in the Del Mar Derby in his last start. Royal Albert Hall was second to him in that race and even though he has just one win, he has a good ability to get himself into the exotic picture and should be used in that capacity. Verraco on the outside could be an interesting price play. He won his comeback start last out off the layoff and has some back class that shows he can contend at this level. His lone turf run was a good second and he could very well be an upset special.

The Big Bear Stakes sees the return of Santa Anita Derby winner Dortmund who has been off since a disappointing fourth place finish in the Preakness Stakes last May. Bob Baffert has indicated that he’s using this as a prep for the Clark Handicap at Churchill next month. Jerry Hollendorfer sends out Point Piper who is coming off a fifth place finish in the Grade 1 Awesome Again last time out. Prior to that he had won at the overnight stakes level that he returns to here. He should find these waters much friendlier, with the exception of Dortmund. Selections for the Twilight Derby

  1. Soul Driver
  2. Verraco
  3. Om

Longshot: Hunt Selections for the Big Bear

  1. Dortmund
  2. Point Piper
  3. Motown Man

Longshot: Soi Phet

Jean Laffite Stakes is final local prep for the Delta Jackpot

The $1,000,000 Delta Jackpot is just around the corner so local Delta Downs runners will be prepping on Saturday in the $200,000 Jean Laffite Stakes. The Jean Laffite has produced Jackpot winners including most recently Rise Up in 2014 who won both races. This year 9 runners will line up including Harlan Punch who is the 5/2 morning line favorite. Harlan Punch owns just a maiden win at Ellis Park on his resume, but he did it in impressive fashion and came from off the pace to do so. Steve Asmussen sends out Twenty and Four who was an impressive debut maiden winner at Churchill. Asmussen is always dangerous shipping to Delta and he won the Jackpot back in 2011. Icy Gentleman drew the rail but is already a state bred stakes winner from Louisiana Downs. Selections for the Jean Laffite Stakes

  1. Zackaroony
  2. Icy Gentleman
  3. Harlan Punch

Longshot: Tiz Cherry Wine

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 2                  Sleepy Hollow Stakes                         12:55pm EST

Race 3                  Hudson Handicap                               1:28pm EST

Race 4                  Iroquois Stakes                                 2:01pm EST

Race 5                  Empire Classic Handicap                      2:34pm EST

Race 7                  Mohawk Stakes                                 3:40pm EST

Race 9                  Maid of the Mist Stakes                      4:46pm EST

Race 10               Empire Distaff Handicap                      5:19pm EST

Race 11              Ticonderoga Stakes                                    5:52pm EST

Delta Downs

Race 9                  Jean Laffitte Stakes                                    10:20pm EST

Gulfstream West

Race 5                  Little Miss Magic Stakes                       3:27pm EST


Race 6                  Stickney Handicap                             5:40pm EST

Race 8                  Cicero Handicap                                 6:40pm EST

Indiana Grand

Race 3                  QHRAI Derby Final                             7:01pm EST

Race 4                  Sterlie Bertram Memorial                     7:29pm EST

Race 5                  Governor’s Stakes                              7:57pm EST

Race 7                  Indiana Championship Stakes               8:53pm EST


Race 9                  Valley View Stakes                             5:30pm EST

Northlands Park

Race 10            Canadian Juvenile                              7:30pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 7                  Twilight Derby                                  7:00pm EST

Race 8                  Big Bear Stakes                                 7:30pm EST

Turf Paradise

Race 6                  Princess of Palms Stakes                     6:36pm EST


Race 6                  River Memories Stakes                        3:26pm EST




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