Weekend Stakes Preview 2/13

Pair of turf marathons headline Gulfstream Saturday card

The Grade 2 Mac Diarmida and the Grade 3 Very One Stakes are both at a mile and three eighths on the grass at Gulfstream and both offer big purses.  The $200,000 Mac Diarmida is for the older boys and drew a field of nine.  Twilight Eclipse was fourth in this race last year but followed that up with a win in the Grade 2 Pan American at 12 furlongs.  He finished second in a pair of Grade 1’s last summer and last start saw him dominate the Grade 3 W. McKnight Handicap.  Slumber made his debut at Gulfstream Park last time out and finished an ok fourth in the Ft. Lauderdale.  He’ll get the stretchout and the added distance should be something he’ll appreciate.  He’s finished well at a mile and a half so he should be rolling home late in this spot.  An interesting runner could be multiple Grade 1 winner Alpha who will be trying the turf for the first time.  He’s a speedy sort on the dirt and if he takes to the surface he could be the one to catch.  He’s a temperamental horse, but he’s also fast, so he’s certainly a wild card.

The $100,000 Very One is also at a mile and three eighths but is for the older fillies and mares.  Anjaz is coming off a layoff but her four races here in the States before going to the shelf make her a contender in here for the Godolphin connections.  She’ll have to come catch Inimitable Romance who was a loose on the lead winner of the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap last time out.  Inimitable Romance hadn’t been showing much speed before that effort, but as there isn’t much pace in this race look for her to be gunning for the lead.  Aigue Marine ran well here at Gulfstream last season and look for her to be a factor for big connections like Joel Rosario and trainer Christophe Clement. Selections for the Mac Diarmida

  1. Slumber
  2. Twilight Eclipse
  3. Amen Kitten

Longshot: Suntracer Selections for the Very One

  1. Anjaz
  2. Aigue Marine
  3. Preferential

Longshot: Viva Rafaela

Derby points on the line in the El Camino Real Derby

Golden Gate Fields will be the center of the three year old world on Saturday as the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby offers up 10 Kentucky Derby points to the winner.  Tamarando will likely be a solid favorite by virtue of being a Grade 1 winner already and the fact that he’s finished behind three really good horses in his last two races.  Russell Baze will have the mount for Jerry Hollendorfer and Tamarando is proven over a synthetic surface as he’s 3 for 6.  Tamarando is a confirmed closer and he’ll be at a pace advantage behind horses like Enterprising.  Enterprising isn’t a front runner, but there aren’t really any frontrunners in the field and he tends to be prominent early on.  He shipped up to Golden Gate Fields and closed well to finish second in the California Derby, beaten only a half a length. Craftsman could be an interesting horse as he’s coming off a fifth place finish in the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita on the grass.  He’s putting the blinkers on so look for him to be quicker early and he gets the services of Dennis Carr.  The El Camino Real Derby is the 8th race on the Golden Gate Fields Saturday program and post time is 7:15pm EST. Selections for the El Camino Real Derby

  1. Craftsman
  2. Tamarando
  3. Enterprising

Longshot:  Dance With Fate

Santa Maria tops Santa Anita Stakes Saturday

Fiftyshadesofhay will look to get back to her winning ways on Saturday as she’ll face six rivals in the Grade 2 $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes.  Fiftyshadesofhay has burned some money in her last four starts but she hasn’t been getting embarrassed.  She returns to Santa Anita where she’s a Grade 3 winner and was second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks last year.  Martin Garcia will be getting back in the saddle for trainer Bob Baffert and look for Fiftyshadesofhay to maybe be closer up as there isn’t a ton of early pace in this race.  Golden Production comes into this race with four straight wins and just four starts back was a $40,000 claimer so she’s gone right up the claiming ladder, culminating last time out with a win in the Paseana Stakes.  Let Faith Arise is coming of a very solid second place finish in the Grade 2 La Canada last time out, beaten just a neck by Spellbound.  She’s only run twice over a dirt surface and both have been her two best efforts thus far.

The Sweet Life Stakes will go down the hillside turf course and drew eight runners.  Multiple Stakes winner Bajan will try out the grass after a dull effort in the Hollywood Starlet, a Grade 1 race.  On the Backstreets was a big winner going down the hill last time and beat Famous Alice that day, who will be a strong contender in this spot as well. Selections for the Santa Maria

  1. Let Faith Arise
  2. Stanwyck
  3. Fiftyshadesofhay

Longshot: Ondine Selections for the Sweet Leaf

  1. On The Backstreets
  2. Famous Alice
  3. Sprague River

Longshot: Bajan

Holiday racing on Monday for Presidents’ Day 

Presidents’ Day Monday will offer up a full slate of holiday racing from across the United States.  The big headliner of course is the $300,000 Southwest Stakes from Oaklawn Park which will award 10 Kentucky Derby points to the winner.  Santa Anita will have a great Presidents’ Day card that will be headlined by the Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes.  Laurel Park will offer up a stakes double including the annual Presidents’ Day feature, the Grade 3 $250,000 General George Handicap for older sprinters.  

Saturday Stakes Action at

Fair Grounds

Race 3                  Gentilly Stakes                         3:24pm EST

Race 7                  Sarah Lane’s Oates                   5:28pm EST

Golden Gate

Race 8                  El Camino Real Derby                 7:15pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 8                  The Very One Stakes                4:03pm EST

Race 10               Mac Diarmida Stakes                  5:03pm EST

Laurel Park

Race 8                  John Campbell Stakes                3:55pm EST

Race 9                  Barbara Fritchie Stakes              4:25pm EST


Race 7                  Essex Handicap                        5:09pm EST

Race 9                  King Cotton Stakes                   6:09pm EST

Sam Houston

Race 6                  Two Altazano Stakes                10:10pm EST

Race 7                  Jim’s Orbit Stakes                     10:36pm EST

Race 8                  Jersey Village Stakes                 11:02pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 7                  Sweet Life Stakes                    6:30pm EST

Race 8                  Santa Maria Stakes                    7:00pm EST


Race 10               Pepper’s Pride Handicap            6:03pm EST

Turf Paradise

Race 5                  Sun City Handicap                      4:43pm EST

Race 7                  Turf Paradise Handicap              5:46pm EST

Race 8                  Phoenix Gold Cup                     6:15pm EST


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