Weekend Stakes Preview 1/15

Oaklawn Park opens on Thursday

After cancelling opening weekend due to chilly temperatures, Oaklawn Park in Hot Spring, Arkansas will kick off the annual winter/spring meeting on Thursday afternoon. Great racing and full fields are what players can expect every Thursday thru Sunday throughout the season, which runs until Saturday April 11th. Closing day also happens to be Arkansas Derby Day, which is the day all the three year olds are pointing to. The Arkansas Derby is the feature day of the year but big days will also go on Monday February 16th when the Presidents’ Day holiday card includes the $300,000 Southwest Stakes for three year olds. The $750,000 Rebel Stakes will go to post on Saturday March 14th and is the final prep for the Arkansas Derby.

The stakes season at Oaklawn kicks off Thursday with the $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes for three year old fillies and on Friday with the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes for older runners. The Dixie Belle Stakes drew eleven runners to go six furlongs including the undefeated Promise Me Silver. Promise Me Silver has won four races on four different tracks and generally stalks the leaders from just off the pace. She should have plenty of pace to track including Toutsie Rules who is 2 for 2 and has won both races on the engine. Toutsie Rules drew the rail and expect jockey James Graham to try and send for the early lead. Sarah Sis is another who has good early foot and won impressively in her first start on the dirt last time out.

The $100,000 Fifth Season on Saturday features eight older runners going a route of ground. Zee Bros. is coming off a big in the DeFrancis Dash, a sprint race that he was 29/1 in. He’s won two straight for D. Wayne Lukas and looks to be easily the controlling speed. The question for him is whether or not he can keep it going. Carve will return to Oaklawn for the Fifth Season, a track he’s relished in the past with 3 wins from 6 starts. He’s drawn the rail and will once again be ridden by Jesus Castanon for the Fifth Season. Serendip will be coming form off the pace but could be a price play to look for as he jumps in class for this one. Selections for the Dixie Belle (Thursday)

  1. Toutsie Rolls
  2. Promise Me Silver
  3. Lil Super Bear

Longshot: Super Saks Selections for the Fifth Season (Friday)

  1. Zee Bros
  2. Code West
  3. Carve

Longshot: Serendip Selections for the Pippin Stakes (Saturday)

  1. Honey’s Ryan
  2. Haunted Heroine
  3. Lady Haddassah

Longshot: Mufajaah

Saturday is Sunshine Millions Day at Gulfstream Park

Florida-bred runners will take center stage on Saturday at Gulfstream Park as Florida Sunshine Millions Day will be run in South Florida. The $250,000 Sunshine Millions Classic is the headliner and East Hall comes into the race off his two best career performances. He won the Grade 2 Indiana Derby two starts back and then won the prep for this race catching Wildcat Red late to win by two lengths. Both those wins have been with Luis Saez aboard and he’s once again in the irons for the Classic. Wildcat Red returns to his beloved Gulfstream Park where he’s 5 for 8 including a win in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth last year. Transparent will drop in class as he is coming out of the Grade 1 Cigar Mile, a race he finished eighth in. He seems to be a bit of an all or nothing type, either wins big, or loses big. But if he gets some pace to run at he could be a player.

Awesome Flower could be the one to beat in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf. She’s coming off a win on the polytrack at Turfway Park last time out and has been running mostly over synthetic in recent starts. She does own a win on grass and comes into this race in career form. Speed Seeker on the other hand has raced exclusively on the grass and is 3 for 6 in her career. She’s got some tremendous upside and can win on the lead or off the pace. The Sunshine Millions Distaff came up very tough with numerous runners who have been keeping graded stakes company. Dame Dorothy won the Turn Back the Alarm Stakes two back and followed that up with a good third in the Grade 3 Comely. She’s drawn in the 11 hole and has big time speedsters like Devil’s Cave and Swingers Party to her outside, so if she let’s them clear and then stalks, she could sit a good trip.

Reporting Star and Bad Debt will tussle with eight other rivals in the Sunshine Millions Turf. Reporting Star has been keeping some really tough company including a third place finish in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer and most recently a second place finish in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf at Gulfstream West. He’ll have to battle with Bad Debt who won the prep for this race two starts back. He followed that up with a fourth place finish behind Mshawish who just came back to win a Graded Stakes event last week at Gulfstream. Grande Shores and Happy My Way figure to be the top two choices in the Sunshine Millions Sprint. They drew the two inside posts and Happy My Way should be battling for the lead while Grande Shores should be closing late. Selections for the Sunshine Millions Classic

  1. Wildcat Red
  2. Transparent
  3. East Hall

Longshot: Sr. Quisqueyano Selections for the Sunshine Millions F&M Turf

  1. Dame Dorothy
  2. EB Ryder
  3. Speed Seeker

Longshot: Rock on Baby Selections for the Sunshine Millions Distaff

  1. Dame Dorothy
  2. Devil’s Cave
  3. Toasting

Longshot: My Pal Chrisy Selections for the Sunshine Millions Turf

  1. Reporting Star
  2. Bad Debt
  3. Manchurian High

Longshot: Saint Pierre Selections for the Sunshine Millions Sprint

  1. Happy My Way
  2. Grande Shores
  3. Yogi Berra

Longshot: Sam Sparkle

Lecomte Stakes starts the road to the Louisiana Derby

The $200,000 Lecomte Stakes starts the trail to the Louisiana Derby and possibly to the Kentucky Derby and it will be run Saturday at Fair Grounds. Eleven three year olds will go in the Lecomte, many of them looking to break through at the stakes level and prove their medal to go forward on the Derby trail. Runhappy won his maiden race at Turfway Park in dominating fashion and was flashy in doing so, so he’s built up a following based on just that effort. Eagle is a more experienced runner and drew the outside post, which is tough with the short run to the first turn. He was third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last time out behind the highly regarded El Kabeir. Todd Pletcher will send out Savoy Stomp who was third last time in a good allowance/optional claiming event and the fact that Mike Smith flies in for the mount could say something of the horse’s promise.

Top Decile headlines the Silverbulletday Stakes which is a prep on the Fair Grounds Oaks trail, which the last few years has been a monster race in terms of producing talent. Top Decile won first out and then finished second in back to back Grade 1’s, most recently the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Mike Smith will ride the Al Stall trainee and she figures to be a solid choice. She will have to beat the undefeated West Coast Belle who won the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes last time out. She’s 3 for 3 and likes to come from off the pace and it appears there is plenty of early gas in here. The $125,000 Colonel EL Bradley Stakes is a prep on the trail to the Mervin Muniz Stakes and drew nine older turf runners. String King has dominated the state-bred races over the years and will try open company here in a race he finished fourth in last year. He’ll be taking on the likes of Grand Contender who won the Diliberto Memorial last time out and will be trying the grass for the first time in his career. Selections for the Lecomte

  1. Savoy Stomp
  2. Runhappy
  3. Eagle

Longshot: Tiznow RJ Selections for the Silverbulletday

  1. West Coast Belle
  2. Top Decile
  3. Devine Dawn

Longshot: I’m a Chatterbox Selections for the Colonel EL Bradley

  1. Villandry
  2. Gentleman’s Kitten
  3. String King

Longshot: Pumpkin Rumble

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 3                  Interborough Stakes                 1:23pm EST

Delta Downs

Race 8                  Fremont Stakes                        9:45pm EST

Fair Grounds

Race 7                  Louisiana Handicap                    4:25pm EST

Race 8                  Colonel E.L. Bradley Handicap     4:55pm EST

Race 9                  Silverbulletday Stakes                5:24pm EST

Race 10                Marie Krantz Memorial                5:54pm EST

Race 11                 Lecomte Stakes                       6:25pm EST


Race 7                  California Derby                        6:45pm EST


Race 5                  Sunshine Millions Sprint            2:36pm EST

Race 6                  Sunshine Millions Turf                3:05pm EST

Race 8                  Sunshine Millions Distaff             4:04pm EST

Race 9                  Sunshine Millions F&M Turf           4:32pm EST

Race 10                Sunshine Millions Classic              5:01pm EST


Race 8                  Pippin Stakes                                 5:21pm EST

Sam Houston

Race 6                  Star of Texas Stakes                 9:25pm EST

Race 7                  Spirit of Texas Stakes                9:52pm EST

Race 8                  Groovy Stakes                          10:19pm EST

Race 9                  Richard King Stakes                   10:46pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 7                  Megahertz Stakes                     6:30pm EST

Race 8                  La Canada Stakes                     7:00pm EST

Sunland Park

Race 9                  Pepsi Cola Handicap                  5:44pm EST

Turf Paradise

Race 4                  Glendale Handicap                    4:17pm EST

Race 7                  Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile          5:43pm EST


Race 6                  Forego Stakes                          8:40pm EST




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