Weekend Stakes Preview 12/4

Gulfstream Championship Meet opens up Saturday

Saturday is not just opening day for the Gulfstream Park Championship Meet, it’s also the annual Claiming Crown event. Some of the top horses who have competed for claiming prices across the country will convene in huge fields on Saturday to run for huge purses. The $200,000 Claiming Crown Jewel is the premier event and is for horses who have started for a claiming price of $35,000 since January 1, 2013. Page McKenney and Dawly both come into this race off of good tries against stakes company. They were second and third respectively in the Mountaineer Mile and then Page McKenney finished second in the $100,000 Richard Small Stakes at Laurel on Maryland Million Day. Viramundo is coming into this race off a 9 month layoff but was Grade 1 placed here at Gulfstream last year when he was third in the Donn Handicap. Cerro drew the rail in the Jewel and is coming into this race in great form with three straight wins. He’ll likely be the pacesetter and if he’s able to relax he could be long gone when they turn for home.

The Claiming Crown Emerald is on the grass course for older runners and drew a field of 16. Mike Maker has been very tough in the claiming crown over the last few years and he brings Saffron Hall into this race off two very nice grass wins in Kentucky. He’s a win machine and should be prominent throughout this race. Rose Briar could be a good closer to look for in the Emerald as he owns a solid record at the distance and can either stalk or close from far back.

The Claiming Crown events kick off in the third race with the Iron Horse. Lots of talented starter allowance types are in here including JB’s Unc who has two wins at Gulfstream and has been competing well at Parx and Monmouth this summer. Frontier Warrior could be the main thread to Ribo Bobo trying to defend his title in the Claiming Crown Express. Ribo Bobo has slipped in form a bit as of late and Frontier Warrior comes into this race off five straight wins. He’s proven he can be on the lead or stalk so his versatility could come into play. Mike Maker will send out Wild Swava who looks like a big player in the Tiara. She’s won 7 of 10 this year and was second in the other three. Marty Wolfson claimed Best Behavior for $62,500 two starts back likely pointing towards the Glass Slipper. She’s going to have to best Rebecca’s Surprise who comes into the Glass Slipper with 11 wins in 26 career starts. Selections for the Claiming Crown Jewel

  1. Cerro
  2. Page McKenney
  3. Dawly

Longshot: Cease Selections for the Claiming Crown Emerald

  1. Saffron Hall
  2. Rose Briar
  3. Saylor’s Creek

Longshot: Midnight Notes Selections for the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit

  1. Box Office
  2. Stallwalkin Dude
  3. Grande Shores

Longshot: Put It Forward Selections for the Canterbury Stakes

  1. Buster Rose
  2. Mongolian Saturday
  3. Didn’t Take It

Longshot: Thomas Hill Selections for the Glass Slipper

  1. Best Behavior
  2. Don’tcallmecharley
  3. Winning For Sarah

Longshot: Annelle Selections for the Tiara

  1. Wild Swava
  2. Flamingo Lane
  3. Dreamlicious

Longshot: Rock On Baby Selections for the Express

  1. Frontier Warrior
  2. Disarm
  3. Ribo Bobo

Longshot: Loverbil Selections for the Iron Horse

  1. JB’s Unc
  2. Gimmeadrink
  3. Sir Leslie

Longshot: Double Judge

Los Alamitos opens for Thoroughbred meet

Los Alamitos will run a short 12 day Thoroughbred meet that gets underway Thursday in Southern California. Racing will be run Thursday through Sunday with first post time at 3:30pm EST. Many of the old stakes from Hollywood Park will shift to Los Alamitos including the Grade 1 Starlet on December 13th and the Grade 1 Cashcall Futurity on December 20th. This Saturday’s feature event is the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap which drew just a field of six. Tiz Midnight was sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff last time out and should appreciate the class drop in here. Yahilwa has won two straight including the Treasure Chest Stakes last time out at Delta Downs. Selections for the Bayakoa

  1. Yahilwa
  2. Tiz Midnight
  3. Valiant Emilia

Longshot: Warren’s Veneda

Stakes Double Saturday at Tampa Bay 

Tampa Bay Downs meet just got under way and Saturday the stakes action gets into swing as the $100,000 Inaugural and the $100,000 Sandpiper headline a big card of racing. The Inaugural drew 9 two year old boys while the Sandpiper drew eleven juvenile fillies and both races could be early predictors for who ends up in the Tampa Bay Derby and the Florida Oaks. Supreme Justice should be one of the favorites in the Inaugural as he’s already a stakes winner at Indiana Downs. He finished a decent fourth last time out in the Indiana Futurity but that was at two turns and now he cuts back to seven furlongs. Got Winged is a maiden after three starts but oddly enough could be one of the toughest horses in here. He’s been keeping tough company in New York and tries Tampa for the first time, but his speed figures put him right in the mix. Catalina Red is also a 3 start maiden but his races also make him a contender in this spot.

The Sandpiper Stakes drew a big field of eleven two year old fillies and it’s a group who are looking to plant their flags as stakes contenders. R Sassy Lass is coming off a huge maiden win that earned her a big figure that many will bet her off of. Odachi was an impressive maiden breaker and followed that up with a sixth place finish on the grass against allowance runners. She’ll return to the main track for the Sandpiper and picks up the services of Rosemary Homeister Jr. Coco’s Wildcat is the lone stakes winner in the field but she’s coming off a resounding defeat last time out. She’ll have to get to the lead to get back to her winning ways. Selections for the Inaugural

  1. Supreme Justice
  2. Got Winged
  3. Catalina Red

Longshot: Duke of Luke Selections for the Sandpiper

  1. Odachi
  2. R Sassy Lass
  3. Innovative Idea

Longshot: Fond of Sarah

Sunland Park opens up on Friday

Racing in sunny New Mexico will kick off at Sunland Park this Friday as the annual winter/spring meet gets underway. Racing will be run at Sunland on a Friday through Monday with first post at 2:15pm EST through February 16th and then 2:55pm EST through the end of the meet on April 13th. The headlining event as always will be the Sunland Derby which will be run as part of a huge stakes-filled card on Sunday March 22nd.

The opening weekend feature will be run on Saturday as the $50,000 KLAQ Handicap tops the program. Wine Police is the 8/5 favorite in the race and is coming off a win in the Lea County Stakes at Zia Park. He beat Unfettered by a half length that day and figures to be coming from just off the pace. It could be Homerun Berti who gets first run though and he’s the defending champ in this race. Selections for the KLAQ Handicap

  1. Homerun Berti
  2. Unfettered
  3. Wine Police

Longshot: Forin Sea

Turfway Park opens up on Thursday

Turfway Park’s Holiday Meet will kick off on Thursday and run through the end of the calendar year. Racing will be run on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with first post at 6:15pm EST and Sundays at 1:15pm EST. The opening day feature is the $60,000 Holiday Inaugural Stakes which drew a field of twelve older fillies and mares to go six furlongs. Wesley Ward will send out Shrinking Violet who is a stakes winner and is graded stakes placed. She’s run well over a synthetic track before and was last seen running in the Grade 3 Shakertown at Keeneland last spring. Multiple stakes winner Sweet Cassiopeia will try Turfway Park for the first time in the Inaugural and she’s been a big player in listed stakes events over the last year or so. She’s earned over $650,000 in her career and certainly has a class advantage over many of her foes. Selections for the Holiday Inaugural

  1. Battlefield Angel
  2. Shrinking Violet
  3. In a Jif

Longshot: She’s Offlee Good 

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 8                  Garland of Roses Stakes                      3:43pm EST

Golden Gate

Race 7                  Gold Rush Stakes                               6:45pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 3                  Iron Horse Stakes                              1:33pm EST

Race 4                  Express Stakes                                  2:02pm EST

Race 5                  Tiara Stakes                                      2:31pm EST

Race 6                  Glass Slipper  Stakes                        3:00pm EST

Race 7                  Canterbury Stakes                             3:29pm EST

Race 8                  Rapid Transit Stakes                           3:58pm EST

Race 9                  Emerald Stakes                                 4:27pm EST

Race 10               Jewel Stakes                                         4:57pm EST


Race 4                  Gin Talking Stakes                             1:59pm EST

Race 6                  Marylander Stakes                              2:57pm EST

Race 7                  Willa On The Move Stakes                 3:26pm EST

Race 8                  Jennings Handicap                             3:55pm EST

Los Alamitos T-breds

Race 7                  Bayakoa Stakes                                 6:30pm EST

Mahoning Valley

Race 5                  Ruff/Kirchberg Handicap                     2:56pm EST

Parx Racing

Race 8                  Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes                3:34pm EST

Sunland Park

Race 4                  Jess Burner Memorial Handicap        3:31pm EST

Race 9                  KLAQ Handicap                                 5:44pm EST

Tampa Bay Downs

Race 8                  Inaugural Stakes                                3:49pm EST

Race 9                  Sandpiper Stakes                               4:18pm EST

Turf Paradise

Race 6                  Arizona Breeders’ Futurity                   5:45pm EST

Race 7                  Arizona Breeders’ Futurity                   6:13pm EST

Turfway Park

Race 6                  Holiday Inaugural Stakes                     8:40pm EST


Race 8                  Kingarvie Stakes                                4:25pm EST


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