Weekend Stakes Preview 11/13

DeFrancis Dash tops huge Laurel Saturday card

The $350,000 DeFrancis Dash tops a six stakes card on Saturday at Laurel Park. Annually one of the biggest sprints on the east coast, the DeFrancis Dash came up very tough this year with ten solid runners in the field including 5/2 morning line favorite Dads Caps. Dads Caps is a Grade 1 winner as he took home this year’s Carter Handicap at Aqueduct back in April. He hasn’t won since then however his last start was a very good second in the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont behind Private Zone. The talented filly La Verdad will try her hand against the boys in the DeFrancis Dash as she likes to get out front and take them as far as she can. She’s a Grade 2 winner and is coming off a big stakes win at Belmont last time out. Her lone try at Laurel Park was a solid second place finish in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap. Laurel Park mainstay Ben’s Cat will try his hand on the dirt, a course he’s 3 for 5 over at Laurel Park. He’s generally been best on the turf but he’s 6 for 7 at six furlongs and can never be counted out in any race on any surface. Happy My Way drew the rail and will likely be part of the early mix as well. He led the Grade 1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga in deep stretch before finishing second, so he can clearly keep up with top class sprinters.

The Laurel Stakes action gets underway on Saturday in the first race with two year old fillies competing in the Smart Halo Stakes. Impressive maiden breaker Overprepared will be sent out for the Todd Pletcher barn and will take on E Dubai’s Humor who is an impressive 2 for 2 out of the box. Golden Years will put his 2 for 2 record up in the James Lewis Stakes for two year old boys as he takes on twelve rivals. A full field of fourteen three year old fillies will sprint against one another in the $100,000 City of Laurel Stakes including graded stakes winner In Trouble. In Trouble was a top two year old last year but has just one race since running fourth in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and that was a disastrous 10th place finish at Belmont in June.

A full field of fourteen in the Safely Kept Stakes and thirteen runners in the Dickie Small Stakes finish out what should be an amazing day of racing at Laurel Park that gets underway Saturday at 12:35pm EST. Selections for the DeFrancis Dash

  1. Happy My Way
  2. Dads Caps
  3. Mico Margarita

Longshot: Favorite Tale Selections for the Smart Halo Stakes

  1. Overprepared
  2. E Dubai’s Humor
  3. Morning Tale

Longshot: Lake Sebago Selections for the James Lewis Stakes

  1. Cinco Charlie
  2. Golden Years
  3. Majestic Affair

Longshot: Joe Franklin Selections for the City of Laurel Stakes

  1. Lynx
  2. Eye Luv Lulu
  3. Amelia’s Wild Ride

Longshot: Monkey’s Medal Selections for the Safely Kept

  1. Vero Amore
  2. Who’s in Town
  3. True Romance

Longshot: Cherie’s AP Selections for the Richard Small

  1. Stormin Monarcho
  2. Sioux
  3. Plainview

Longshot: Cerro

Red Smith Handicap tops Aqueduct Saturday

The $250,000 Red Smith Stakes drew a very talented pool of runners to contest the mile and three eighths event. The race reads much more like a Grade 1 or Grade 2 event with Grade 1 winners like Big Blue Kitten in the mix. He and Dynamic Sky are both coming out of the $1,000,000 Canadian International, a race they ran second and third in respectively. Big Blue Kitten has never raced at Aqueduct but he’s a confirmed deep closer that seems to put a big move in almost every time he runs. Dynamic Sky hasn’t scored a victory in quite a while but he’s hit the board in a number of prestigious Grade 1 or Grade 2 grass races at Woodbine against top class competition. He gets jockey Cornelio Velasquez on board for the Red Smith and should be rolling home late as well. The speed will likely come from down on the inside where Red Rifle is drawn. He just about went all the way in the Grade 3 Sycamore last time out, getting caught late and finishing second. Villandry came out of that race to win a graded stakes at Churchill last week so it could be a live event. Legendary is a horse who has been on the upswing as of late as he’s won four of his last five including the Grade 3 Knickerbocker last time out. He should be close up early on and should get first run on the deep closers like Big Blue Kitten. Selections for the Red Smith

  1. Legendary
  2. Big Blue Kitten
  3. Dynamic Sky

Longshot: Margano

Mrs. Revere and Commonwealth Turf are stakes double at Churchill

The Mrs. Revere drew an overflow field for Saturday’s edition of the $200,000 event with fourteen runners and two also-eligibles contesting the mile and a sixteenth on the Churchill Downs lawn. Testa Rossi will be returning to the grass, a surface she has 5 wins from 8 career starts over. She was last seen running fourth in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland and went to the sidelines after that. But her trainer Chad Brown hits at 29% off extended layoffs so that shouldn’t be a big concern. She did draw the rail though and as a deep closer she’ll have to work out a trip. Lady Lara made her United States debut last time out with a sensational win in the Pebbles Stakes at Belmont, besting a few of the rivals she’ll face Saturday including Distored Beauty and Walk Close who were second and third that day.

The Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf drew a field of thirteen boys to go a mile and one sixteenth on the grass. Heart to Heart comes into this race off a nice triumph in the Jefferson Cup at Churchill, his first start at the Louisville oval. Wallyanna won the Grade 2 Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga this summer but has been well beaten in two subsequent starts. He’ll look to find his groove again as he tries the Churchill Downs turf for the first time on Saturday. Bashart drew a tough spot way out on the outside and is coming off a nice performance in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes, a race he finished second beaten just three quarters of a length. Selections for the Mrs. Revere

  1. Walk Close
  2. Distorted Beauty
  3. Lady Lara

Longshot: Speed Seeker Selections for the Commonwealth Turf

  1. Captain Dixie
  2. Heart To Heart
  3. Afortable

Longshot: Bashart

Bob Hope Stakes is Del Mar Saturday feature

The Del Mar November meet goes into week two and the $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes for two year olds is the top billing race on Saturday. A field of nine juveniles will compete at seven furlongs. The race is primarily made up of maiden breakers with the exception of a few. Prime Engine ships down from Emerald Downs after crushing maidens in his debut and then winning the two turn Gottstein Futurity. He’ll be taking on some Southern California runners like Alright Alright who got a big speed figure in his debut win at Santa Anita last month. Diamond Majesty won big coming down the hill at Santa Anita and the switching over to synthetic surface might give him a bit of an advantage over those who have been competing over dirt. All Indians is the only runner in the field with a win at Del Mar but he followed that up with a real clunker against stakes runners at Santa Anita. Maybe the return to the polytrack will help him be a price play in this spot. Selections for the Bob Hope Stakes

  1. Diamond Majesty
  2. Prime Engine
  3. All Indians

Longshot: Sebastian’s Heart 

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 7                  Red Smith Handicap                   3:14pm EST

Charles Town

Race 8                  My Sister Pearl Stakes               10:11pm EST

Churchill Downs

Race 7                  Commonwealth Turf Stakes       3:37pm EST

Race 9                  Mrs. Revere Stakes                   4:36pm EST

Del Mar

Race 8                  Bob Hope Stakes                      7:00pm EST

Golden Gate

Race 7                  Oakland Stakes                        6:45pm EST


Race 6                  Bucks Boy Handicap                  5:20pm EST

Race 8                  Illini Princess Handicap               6:20pm EST

Laurel Park

Race 1                  Smart Halo Stakes                    12:35pm EST

Race 3                  James F. Lewis Stakes               1:31pm EST

Race 4                  City of Laurel Stakes                 1:59pm EST

Race 5                  Safely Kept Stakes                    2:29pm EST

Race 6                  Richard Small Stakes                  2:57pm EST

Race 8                  DeFrancis Dash                         3:55pm EST

Turf Paradise

Race 3                  Caballo Del Sol Stakes                4:55pm EST

Race 5                  City of Phoenix Stakes               5:55pm EST


Race 8                  South Ocean Stakes                   4:23pm EST



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