Weekend Stakes Preview 1/16

Mucho Macho Man returns on Saturday for Sunshine Millions Day at Gulfstream Park

Mucho Macho Man, the hero of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic will make his return to the races on Saturday as he headlines the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic.  Mucho Macho Man will be looking to avenge his performance in last year’s Sunshine Millions Classic when he was pulled up on the far turn and didn’t finish the race.  He came back to win a pair of Grade 1 races to end the season at Santa Anita.  He has had success at Gulfstream Park as he won the 2012 Sunshine Millions Classic over this oval.  Gary Stevens will once again have the mount and they figure to be huge favorites in this spot.  Bernie the Maestro and Gourmet Dinner look like the only runners who could give Mucho Macho Man a run for his money as both have shown the ability to run big races in stakes company, albeit no where near what Mucho Macho Man has done.  Bernie The Maestro took home the Schaefer Memorial at Indiana Downs two starts back before finishing sixth in the Claiming Crown Jewel at Gulfstream Park. Gourmet Dinner could be a player underneath if he runs his best race, but he’s 0 for 6 career at Gulfstream Park.

The red-hot Ribo Bobo will headline the Sunshine Millions Sprint as he’s coming off an unbelievable 2013.  He won 10 of 11 starts during the year and finished with a huge win in the Claiming Crown Express at Gulfstream Park.  Fort Loudon and Star Harbour are both coming out of strong efforts in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector where they ran 2nd and 3rd respectively.  Bad Debt and Old Time Hockey both look like they are contenders in the Sunshine Millions Turf as they both have class and speed figure advantages over their rivals.  The Filly and Mare Sprint came up very tough even though it’s a smallish field.  My Pal Chrissy is Grade 1 placed and could sit a perfect trip behind speed balls R Free Roll and Ullapool.

Paranda won the Sunshine Filly and Mare Turf prep at Gulfstream Park and came back a month later to run a good third in the Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap.  My Pal Chrisy is also entered in the Sunshine Millions Distaff so it will be interesting to see which race she goes in.  Devils Cave is coming off a huge win last time out and will get the riding services of Joel Rosario. Selections for the Sunshine Millions Classic

  1. Mucho Macho Man
  2. Bernie The Maestro
  3. Gourmet Dinner

Longshot: Joshua’s Comprise Selections for the Sunshine Millions Sprint

  1. Ribo Bobo
  2. Fort Loudon
  3. Star Harbour

Longshot: Apriority Selections for the Sunshine Millions Turf

  1. Old Time Hockey
  2. Bad Debt
  3. Hobbs

Longshot: Star Channel Selections for the Sunshine Millions Filly Mare Sprint

  1. My Pal Chrisy
  2. R Free Roll
  3. Sweet N Discreet

Longshot: Salamera Selections for the Sunshine Milliions Filly Mare Turf

  1. EB Ryder
  2. Paranda
  3. Wishing Gate

Longshot: Millenia Selections for the Sunshine Millions Distaff

  1. My Pal Chrisy
  2. Devil’s Cave
  3. Toasting

Longshot: Sweet N Discreet

Field of nine slated for the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds

The Lecomte Stakes is the first Kentucky Derby points race of the season at Fair Grounds with ten points going to whoever can score in the Grade 3 $200,000 event.  The race is made up of maiden breakers and horses looking to stamp their ticket to the Kentucky Derby trail.  Smarty’s Echo is already Grade 1 placed by virtue of his second place finish in the Breeders’ Futurity last fall.  He proceeded to get crushed in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile after that and has been given a break ever since and shows up here at the Fair Grounds.  Gold Hawk could be an interesting choice as he’s 2 for 2 and has a win at two turns at the Fair Grounds.  Another step forward and he’s a major player.  Albano won the Sugar Bowl Stakes and has been showing well in sprints so far.  He’ll be making his first try at two turns so the distance is the big question mark for him.  Vicar’s in Trouble might get some play off of his big speed figure win last time out in a maiden event.  He goes for high profile connections and will take some serious betting.

The undercard is stakes loaded as well with races for most major divisions.  The three year old fillies will be showcased in the Silverbulletday Stakes and even though it’s a small field, it’s loaded with talented runners.  Unbridled Forever comes off a huge maiden win, but will likely play second choice to Divine Beauty who has been magnificent in two wins.  The most recent triumph in the Letellier Memorial stamped her as a big contender going forward.  The Colonel ER Bradley on turf drew a big full field.  Daddy Nose Best is coming off a smashing win in the Diliberto Memorial and will take some attention in this spot.  String King has been a regular in the state-bred races but will try open runners in this spot.  He was second in this race last year and should be a just off the pace contender.  Grand Contender and Prayer For Relief figure to be the top names in the Louisiana Handicap. Selections for the Lecomte Stakes

  1. Vicar’s in Trouble
  2. Gold Hawk
  3. Got Shades

Longshot: Albano Selections for the Marie Krantz

  1. Starstruck
  2. Channel Lady
  3. Grandma’s Rules

Longshot: Always Kitten Selections for the Silverbulletday

  1. Divine Beauty
  2. Unbridled Forever
  3. Istanford

Longshot: Army Selections for the Colonel Bradley

  1. String King
  2. Speaking of Which
  3. Daddy Nose Best

Longshot: Pure Tactics Selections for the Louisiana Handicap

  1. Prayer For Relief
  2. Agent Di Nozzo
  3. Grand Contender

Longshot: Fordubai

Grade 2 Strub Stakes headlines Santa Anita Saturday Stakes Double 

Shakin It Up took home the Malibu Stakes and will look to add the Grade 2 Strub to his resume on Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita.  Shakin it Up was an upset winner that day and will stretch out to two turns, but he’ll be facing some tough company.  Hear The Ghost nearly put it all together last time out in the Grade 3 Native Diver and will return to Santa Anita which was the site of his biggest triumph, a win in the Grade 2 San Felipe.  Zeewat was a late charging third in the Malibu and he had some success around two turns at Golden Gate Fields so look for him to be a contender in this spot.  Govenor Charlie is making his first start back since a terrible effort in the Preakness Stakes last year.  Prior to that he looked like a real tough customer, but he’ll have to come back super sharp to contend in here.

The $75,000 Megahertz Stakes is for fillies and mares at a mile on the grass and drew a field of seven.  Gulsary drew the rail and was a nice closing third in the Grade 3 Bobby Frankel Stakes in her last start.  She should appreciate the class relief on Saturday.  Fanticola will be making her stakes debut and has rattled through her conditions winning three straight races since switching to the turf. Selections for the Strub

  1. Zeewat
  2. Hear The Ghost
  3. Dice Flavor

Longshot: Heir of Storm Selections for the Megahertz

  1. Fanticola
  2. Moone’s My Name
  3. Gulsary

Longshot: Charm the Maker

Saturday Stakes Action at

Fair Grounds

Race 5                  Louisiana Handicap                    3:25pm EST

Race 6                  Colonel ER Bradley Handicap     3:55pm EST

Race 7                  Silverbulletday Stakes                4:25pm EST

Race 8                  Marie Krantz Memorial              4:55pm EST

Race 9                  Lecomte Stakes                         5:24pm EST

Golden Gate

Race 7                  California Derby                        6:45pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 5                  Florida Sunshine Millions Distaff    2:36pm EST

Race 6                  Fl. Sunshine Millions F&M Turf     3:05pm EST

Race 7                  Fl. Sunshine Millions F&M Sprint   3:34pm EST

Race 8                  Fl. Sunshine Millions Turf            4:03pm EST

Race 9                  Fl. Sunshine Millions Sprint          4:33pm EST

Race 10                Fl. Sunshine Millions Classic 5:03pm EST

Oaklawn Park

Race 8                  Pippin Stakes                             5:38pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 5                  Megahertz Stakes                     5:30pm EST

Race 8                  San Fernando Stakes                7:00pm EST

Sunland Park

Race 10              Pepsi Cola Stakes                      6:04pm EST

Turf Paradise

Race 5                  Glendale Handicap                    4:41pm EST

Race 7                  Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile             5:42pm EST

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