Weekend Stakes Preview 1/21

Holy Bull Stakes starts the march to the Florida Derby

The Grade 2 $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes on Saturday starts the Florida Derby trail at Gulfstream Park. Ten three year olds will compete in the mile and one sixteenth event including the season debut of Upstart. Upstart was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last season and was second in the Champagne Stakes, both Grade 1 events. He is trained Rick Violette and Jose Ortiz will once again be on board. Upstart did draw towards the outside and with the quick run to the first turn and the short stretch, he’ll need to avoid losing too much ground. Bluegrass Singer figures to be right on the lead in the early going and is coming off two huge wire to wire scores, both at Gulfstream Park. Last time out in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes he cruised to an easy win, but this will be his first time trying two turns on the main track. Kiaran McLaughlin will send out Frosted, who drew the inside post position. Frosted ran a very good second in the Grade 2 Remsen in his last start, a race that was run at a mile and one eighth, so the cutback should be right up his alley. He has good tactical speed which is always important at Gulfstream Park and he figures to be a major player in the Holy Bull.

The Grade 2 Forward Gal for 3 year old fillies tops the undercard with a really talented group signed on. Grade 1 winner By The Moon will look to get back to her winning ways that saw her take home the Grade 1 Frizette last season. Ekati’s Phaeton just won the Grade 3 Old Hat at Gulfstream sprinting and her connections will see if she can stretch out a bit in the Forward Gal. Todd Pletcher sends out the lightly raced Enchantress who looks like she could be a very talented runner and is coming off a big allowance win last time out. She has speed and should be part of the mix up front.

Bluegrass Swinger is cross-entered in the Hutcheson Stakes which is a seven furlong sprint and if he goes there he figures to be tough. Richard The Great could be his main competition as he is 2 for 2 at Gulfstream, both sprint races. The Grade 3 Sweetest Chant is for three year old fillies on the grass and drew a field of ten including recent stakes winner Consumer Credit. The Chad Brown trainee has been lights out in her last two turf races and if she keeps improving they’re all running for second money. Mark Casse will send out Ol’ Fashion Gal who has two straight wins including a recent score in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante at Del Mar. She’ll ship cross country for the Sweetest Chant with Jose Lezcano signed on to ride. The three year old boys will be on the grass in the Kitten’s Joy Stakes and it could be one of his offspring, Chief Kitten, who is the logical play. The deep closer got up to win the Pulpit Stakes last start, but will need some pace to run at. The Bill Mott trained Courtier could be the speed of the speed and if nobody goes with him he’ll be the one they gotta catch. Selections for the Holy Bull

  1. Frosted
  2. Upstart
  3. High Noon Rider

Longshot: Dom The Bomb Selections for the Forward Gal

  1. Enchantress
  2. Momameamaria
  3. Seduire

Longshot: Skipalute Selections for the Hutcheson

  1. Bluegrass Singer
  2. Richard The Great
  3. Barbados

Longshot: XY Jet Selections for the Sweetest Chant Stakes

  1. Ol Fashion Gal
  2. Consumer Credit
  3. Miss Temple City

Longshot: Loon River Selections for the Kitten’s Joy

  1. Dubai Sky
  2. Courtier
  3. Chief Kitten

Longshot: Dr. No

Saturday is Houston Ladies Classic night at Sam Houston

Sam Houston is getting ready for the biggest night of the season, as Saturday features the $400,000 Houston Ladies Stakes and the Grade 3 $200,000 John Connally Stakes. The Houston Ladies drew a field of eight and the two fillies on the outside could be the two main players. Cassatt drew post eight and is coming off two big victories, the Zia Park Distaff and the Tiffany Lass Stakes. She’s 6/1 on the morning line but will likely be a much shorter price come race time as she’s put up those big speed figures as of late. Right to her inside is Shanon Nicole who was third in the Zia Park Oaks behind Cassatt last time out. Prior to that she won the Indiana Grand Oaks and the Remington Park Oaks. She should enjoy the long Sam Houston stretch as she likes to run from off the pace. Rose To Gold won this race last year but hasn’t hit the board since then. She obviously likes the course but will need a drastic reversal in form.

The Grade 3 John Connally Stakes on the grass drew nine runners and Bim Bam on the far outside has been assigned the morning line favorite role. Bim Bam had three wins in a row before running off the board in his last two, so he’ll have to turn it around. Coalport on the other hand comes into this race hot as a pistol with three straight wins, two of them stakes events.

The card at Sam Houston gets underway Saturday night with a first post at 7:10pm EST. Selections for the Houston Ladies

  1. Shanon Nicole
  2. Cassatt
  3. Kiss To Remember

Longshot: Blue Violet Selections for the Connally Stakes

  1. Coalport
  2. Benwill
  3. Bim Bam

Longshot: Dreams Cut Short

Saturday is Cal Cup Day at Santa Anita

Santa Anita will be celebrating the California bred on Saturday with the annual Cal Cup program. Five stakes events including the $250,000 Turf Classic are on the menu. The red-hot Alert Bay is coming into the Turf Classic with four straight wins, including the most recent score in the Grade 2 Mathis Brothers Mile. Before that he won the Zia Park Derby and a pair of Grade 3’s at Hastings in Vancouver. All in all, he’s in great form for trainer Blaine Wright and should fire another big one Saturday. Awesome Return was third in the Mathis Brothers Mile but has a history of winning stakes events and should be rolling home late. Big Bane Theory is a Grade 2 winner who should enjoy getting some class relief in the Cal Cup Turf. He’s 4 for 7 career over the Santa Anita lawn and loves this distance as well.

The Cal Cup Sprint features Grade 1 winner Big Macher looking to put together back to back stakes wins. Last time out he won the Cary Grant Stakes over Rousing Sermon in a thrilling stretch drive. Rousing Sermon is back and those two figure to be the top two in the betting in the Sprint. Fourteen fillies and mares entered the downhill Turf Sprint and it looks to be a wide open dash. Heat Trap has had very good success down the hill and drew the 14 hole, which is the inside for that right hand turn going down the hill.

The undefeated Acceptance looks to be a standout in the Cal Cup Derby as he’s three for three for trainer Donald Warren. All three races have featured him stalking the leaders and then drawing away down the lane. Until someone proves they can beat him, he’ll be a huge favorite at the windows. Sheer Pleasure could be an interesting horse in the Cal Cup Oaks. She won her career debut and earned a good figure doing it and there doesn’t appear to be any monsters in the race. Heat the Rocks was second in the $200,000 Soviet Problem Stakes and off that will be a likely favorite. She just owns a maiden win but that last effort was strong. Selections for the Cal Cup Turf Classic

  1. Big Bane Theory
  2. Alert Bay
  3. Patriots Rule

Longshot: Bench Light Selections for the Cal Cup Sprint

  1. Big Macher
  2. Marino’s Wild Cat
  3. Rousing Sermon

Longshot: Frumious Selections for the Cal Cup F&M Sprint

  1. Kathleen Rose
  2. Tribal Gal
  3. Heat Trap

Longshot: Mark’s Mine Selections for the Cal Cup Derby

  1. Acceptance
  2. Mischief Clem
  3. Pulmarack

Longshot: Avanti Bello Selections for the Cal Cup Oaks

  1. Sheer Pleasure
  2. Heat The Rocks
  3. Light One

Longshot: Singing Kitty

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 3                  Rego Park Stakes                     1:42pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 7                  Hutcheson Stakes                    3:30pm EST

Race 8                  Sweetest Chant Stakes             4:02pm EST

Race 9                  Holy Bull Stakes                        4:34pm EST

Race 10               Forward Gal Stakes                   5:06pm EST

Race 11                 Kitten’s Joy Stakes                   5:38pm EST

Laurel Park

Race 6                  Frank Whitely Jr. Stakes            2:58pm EST

Race 8                  Marshua Stakes                        3:57pm EST


Race 8                  American Beauty Stakes            5:38pm EST

Sam Houston

Race 5                  Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint       9:01pm EST

Race 6                  Allen’s Landing Stakes               9:28pm EST

Race 7                  John Connally Turf Stakes          9:56pm EST

Race 8                  Houston Ladies Classic               10:25pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 5                  Cal Cup Oaks                                  5:00pm EST

Race 6                  Cal Cup Derby                                5:30pm EST

Race 7                  Sunshine Millions F&M Turf Spr.   6:00pm EST

Race 8                  Cal Cup Sprint                                6:30pm EST

Race 9                  Cal Cup Turf Classic                        7:00pm EST

Sunland Park

Race 9                  Riley Allison Futurity                    5:44pm EST

Tampa Bay Downs

Race 8                  Tampa Bay Stakes                    3:50pm EST

Race 9                  Pelican Stakes                          4:20pm EST

Race 10                Lightning City Stakes                 4:50pm EST

Turf Paradise

Race 7                  Swift Stakes                            5:44pm EST




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