Weekend Stakes Preview 11/27

California Chrome tries the turf in the Hollywood Derby

Even though Hollywood Park is now gone, the legacy continues on Saturday at Del Mar as the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby tops a huge card at Del Mar. California Chrome will make his first run over the turf course as he tries for one more Grade 1 win in what has been a brilliant three year old campaign. Cal Chrome towers over this field from a class level but the question will be whether or not he takes well to the grass. He’s coming off a brilliant effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic which saw him lose by only a neck to Bayern. His main rival could be the filly Lexie Lou who comes into this race off a win in the Grade 3 Autumn Miss Stakes at Santa Anita. Prior to that win she had been the queen of Woodbine, beating the boys in the Queens Plate. On the grass she’s proven to be a solid closer, but she might have to outkick California Chrome as he has good tactical speed. Sawyer’s Hill might have the homefield advantage in this race as he’s won two of his three career races over the Del Mar grass including a second place finish in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby.

The undercard stakes include the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap and the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes. Jerry Hollendorfer will send out a pair of runners in the Native Diver including Tamarando. Tamarando will be returning to the main track after a couple of decent efforts on the turf. He’ll likely benefit from his stablemate Blueskiesnrainbows being in the race as that runner will likely set it up for the closers. Blueskiesnrainbows will likely go with Big Casanova early on who figures to be one of the favorites, so it all could set up for Tamarando to close in late. The Jimmy Durante Stakes drew a big field of eleven two year old fillies including Rainha Da Bateria who is coming out of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. She finished ninth that day but prior to that had won the Jessamine, a Grade 3 event at Keeneland.

Saturday is just one part of a huge weekend at Del Mar. Friday is the Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap and on Sunday it’s the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes that drew seven talented older fillies and mares. Selections for the Hollywood Derby

  1. California Chrome
  2. Flamboyant
  3. Talco

Longshot: Cabral Selections for the Native Diver

  1. Tamarando
  2. Avanzare
  3. Blue Tone

Longshot: Salto Del Indio Selections for the Jimmy Durante

  1. Rainha Da Bateria
  2. Bobbie Grace
  3. Jaded Glory

Longshot: Bennett Jean

Cigar Mile tops four stakes card at Aqueduct on Saturday

Some of the top sprinters in the country will take on some of the best milers as nine runners will tangle in the $500,000 Cigar Mile that tops a huge Aqueduct Saturday program. Three horses will carry the 122 pound highweight, Secret Circle, Itsmyluckyday, and Private Zone. Secret Circle and Private Zone ran second and third respectively in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, with Secret Circle just missing by half a length. He’s got a win at the mile distance and will be trying Aqueduct for the first time. Private Zone has experience at the Big A as he was second in this race last year after leading for all but the final yards. He’s extremely dangerous on the lead and is flexible enough to come from off the pace. But given the rail draw expect him to send early on. Itsmyluckyday was third in the Kelso Handicap but prior to that won the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga. He’s deadly at a mile and should be stalking from just off the early pace in this race.

The Grade 2 Remsen drew a big field of two year olds, many of them big maiden winners making their first try against stakes runners. Ostrolenka is one who does have stakes experience and has a win in a $250,000 state bred event. The Remsen will be the first try outside of state-bred runners for Ostrolenka. Grade 1 winners Condo Commando and Angela Renee will tussle in the Grade Demoiselle Stakes. Condo Commando was fourth last time in the Grade 1 Frizette but prior to that had dominated the Grade 1 Spinaway. She seems best on the early lead so look for her to send in here. Angela Renee won the Grade 1 Frontrunner Stakes before not running a jump in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last time. She’ll return to New York where she broke her maiden last summer. The Grade 3 Comely sees Dame Dorothy trying to remain undefeated as she’s coming off a big win in the Turn Back The Alarm Stakes. Selections for the Cigar Mile

  1. Private Zone
  2. Itsmyluckyday
  3. Bourbon Courage

Longshot: Vyjack Selections for the Remsen

  1. Classy Class
  2. Ostrolenka
  3. Frosted

Longshot: Moonlight Bandit Selections for the Demoiselle

  1. Condo Commando
  2. Angela Renee
  3. Quezon

Longshot: Gap Year Selections for the Comely

  1. Dame Dorothy
  2. Flipcup
  3. Penwith

Longshot: Shayjolie

Clark Handicap tops holiday weekend action at Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs will showcase its top fall event as the $500,000 Clark Handicap is run on Friday afternoon. Nine runners will go the nine furlongs in the Clark including Departing who is the 3/1 morning line favorite. Departing was second in the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes last time out at Keeneland and he returns to Churchill Downs where he ran third in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster in his last local try. Departing was beaten in the Fayette by Pick of the Litter who is 9/2 on the line and has drawn the far outside. Pick of the Litter has won just one race at Churchill Downs however has finished second in three races under the Twin Spires. Look for him to run big on Saturday as he just continues to improve. Todd Pletcher will send out Constitution who was the winner of the Florida Derby this spring before heading to the sidelines. He came back with a fourth place finish in an allowance behind Easter Gift who he’ll meet in the Clark again. But he should be fitter off that layoff and could easily improve second off the layoff.

Saturday is the Stars of Tomorrow card at Churchill that features all two year old runners including the Golden Rod and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. Imperia will make his first start on the main track in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He was ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last time out. Prior to that he won the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park on the grass. He’ll have to beat Lord Nelson who is coming off a strong win in the $100,000 Speakeasy Stakes at Santa Anita. The Golden Rod drew a big field of twelve runners including Christina’s Journey who won the Grade 2 Pocahontas at Churchill in September. Her competition could come in the form of West Coast Belle who won the Rags to Riches Stakes at Churchill last out. Selections for the Clark (Friday)

  1. Constitution
  2. Pick of the Litter
  3. Easter Gift

Longshot: Protonico Selections for the Golden Rod (Saturday)

  1. West Coast Belle
  2. Ancient Goddess
  3. Christina’s Journey

Longshot: Simply Confection Selections for the KY Jockey Club (Saturday)

  1. Imperia
  2. Lord Nelson
  3. Sky Hero

Longshot: Flashaway

Saturday is opening day at Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs on the west coast of Florida will open up on Saturday for its annual Winter/Spring meet. Racing will be conducted on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the first couple months with Thursdays added to the mix in February. First post each racing day will be 12:30pm EST. The highlight of the card is the annual Tampa Bay Derby program on Saturday March 7th.

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 4                  Comely Stakes                         1:25pm EST

Race 8                  Demoiselle Stakes                     3:19pm EST

Race 9                  Remsen Stakes                        3:48pm EST

Race 10               Cigar Mile                                 4:17pm EST

Charles Town

Race 8                  West Virginia Futurity                10:11pm EST

Churchill Downs

Race 9                  Golden Rod Stakes                   4:35pm EST

Race 11               Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes     5:35pm EST

Del Mar

Race 3                  Native Diver Handicap                4:30pm EST

Race 6                  Jimmy Durante Stakes               6:00pm EST

Race 8                  Hollywood Derby                      7:00pm EST

Golden Gate

Race 5                  Golden Gate Debutante            5:45pm EST

Gulfstream Park West

Race 3                  Hut Hut Stakes                        1:33pm EST

Race 6                  Buffalo Man Stakes                   3:00pm EST

Race 7                  House Party Stakes                   3:29pm EST

Race 8                  Pulpit Stakes                            3:59pm EST

Race 9                  Smooth Air Stakes                    4:27pm EST

Race 10               Wait a While Stakes                    5:00pm EST


Race 8                  Hawthorne Gold Cup                 6:20pm EST

Mahoning Valley

Race 4                  First Lady Stakes                      2:08pm EST

Race 7                  Mahoning Valley Sprint              3:32pm EST

Turf Paradise

Race 4                  Queen of the Green Stakes          5:17pm EST

Race 7                  Walter Cluer Memorial                6:41pm EST


Race 8                  Coronation Futurity                   4:42pm EST



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