BetPTC.com Weekend Stakes Preview 2/20

Fountain of Youth headlines huge Saturday 

Gulfstream Park and Fair Grounds will both offer up the first of the 50 point Kentucky Derby qualifying races on Saturday, with the $400,000 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream and the $400,000 Risen Star at Fair Grounds.  The Fountain of Youth drew thirteen runners to compete at the mile and one sixteenth distance and features a number of talented three year olds.  Wildcat Red is coming off a win in the Hutcheson Stakes and he will be making his first try around two turns.  Javier Castellano was on board for that win in the Hutcheson but he’s jumped ship one spot to the outside to ride General a Rod.  General a Rod won the Gulfstream Derby and just edged out Wildcat Red in that race and is trained by the red hot Mike Maker.  Castellano will be riding General a Rod for the first time so it’ll be interesting to see if they’re a good fit.  Top Billing will take a lot of money at the windows based off of his huge win last time out when he won an optional claiming event in impressive off the pace fashion and in a flashy style.  Joel Rosario is back on board for trainer Shug McGaughey in the Fountain of Youth.  Top Billing has shown an ability to close in all of his starts and if they go fast early he could be flying late.  We Miss Artie will also try the Fountain of Youth and while he’s a Grade 1 winner, he has run his best races on turf or synthetic.

The Grade 3 Canadian Turf is at a mile and features some red hot runners, but maybe none hotter than Mr. Online.  Mr. Online comes into this race with three straight wins and hasn’t been out of the exacta in his last 8 starts, one of which was the Grade 1 Nearctic.  Rydilluc will make his return in the Canadian Turf as he’s been off since a disastrous try in the Secretariat.  He was thought of as one of the top three year old turfers early last year, but two straight disappointing efforts led to him heading to the sidelines.  Salto has burned money in his last two but hasn’t run bad and will once again be a contender, although he’ll have to turn the tables on Guys Reward who beat him in the Tampa Bay Stakes.

Onlyforyou should be ultra tough in the Davona Dale as she’s undefeated and has been a picture of consistency.  She will have to beat Stopchargingmaria who won a pair of graded races to end her season last year and will make her Gulfstream debut on Saturday for Todd Pletcher who notoriously dominates at Gulfstream in these stakes.  Of course, Pletcher trains Onlyforyou as well.

BetPTC.com Selections for the Fountain of Youth

  1. Top Billing
  2. General a Rod
  3. We Miss Artie

Longshot: Medal Count

BetPTC.com Selections for the Canadian Turf

  1. Bad Debt
  2. Mr. Online
  3. Salto

Longshot: Guys Reward

BetPTC.com Selections for the Davona Dale

  1. Onlyforyou
  2. Stopchargingmaria
  3. Aurellia’s Belle

Longshot: Penwith

Vicar’s in Trouble will have to overcome tough post in the Risen Star

The Risen Star drew a full field of fourteen and Vicar’s in Trouble drew the far outside post in the one mile and sixteenth event.  Vicar’s in Trouble was a dominant winner of the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes but he had a very clean trip in that event.  He’ll have to overcome a difficult post in the Risen Star so it will be important for Rosie Napravnik to get a good spot early.  Gold Hawk who was third in the Lecomte is back as well and keep an eye on him at the gate as he was quite hesitant to load last time and that could have effected his effort.  There are numerous recent maiden breakers who look like they could be live in the Risen Star.  Commanding Curve comes off a big maiden win last time out at Churchill Downs and even though it was his fourth career start, it showed how much he’s matured.  If he takes another step forward he could be dangerous.  Hoppertunity will likely get a fair amount of support as well as he comes off a big win at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert.  Martin Garcia will make the flight to New Orleans to ride Hoppertunity who certainly deserves a look.  Rise Up was magnificent in the Delta Jackpot and comes into this race sharp as a tack.

Fordubai, Grand Contender and Prayer For Relief are all back to face one another again, this time in the Mineshaft Handicap.  Fordubai pulled off an upset win in the Louisiana Handicap last time out in what was his first start at Fair Grounds.  He’s drawn the outside post so look for Robby Albarado to try and get him in a good position up close to the lead.  The Fair Grounds Handicap will feature the older runners on the turf including Daddy Nose Best who has been loving the New Orleans grass with two straight wins at the Fair Grounds.  Daddy Nose Best figures to be a huge favorite and a couple of his rivals, including Mister Mardi Gras are cross entered in the Mineshaft.  Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia will make her return in the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra Stakes.  Ria Antonia has been at Fair Grounds for a month training and fired a best of 95 bullet workout last week.  She’ll have to beat the tough Baffert runner Streaming who ships in and is coming off a second place finish in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes.

BetPTC.com Selections for the Risen Star

  1. Hoppertunity
  2. Rise Up
  3. Vicar’s in Trouble

Longshot: Commanding Curve

BetPTC.com Selections for the Mineshaft

  1. Grand Contender
  2. Fordubai
  3. Prayer For Relief

Longshot: Bradester

BetPTC.com Selections for the Fair Grounds Handicap

  1. Daddy Nose Best
  2. Unitarian
  3. Gentleman’s Kitten

Longshot: Slip and Drive

BetPTC.com Selections for the Rachel Alexandra

  1. Streaming
  2. Ria Antonia
  3. Untapable

Longshot: Shannon Nicole

Hawthorne opens up on Friday

Hawthorne Race Course in Chicago will open up on Friday for its annual spring meet.  Racing will be run through April 27th with a primary schedule of Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  First post will be at 2:45pm EST and as always the season feature will be the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby which will be run as part of a huge stakes filled card on Saturday April 19th.

Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap headlines Laurel Stakes Double

La Verdad will try and prove she’s the truth on Saturday as she makes her first stakes attempt in the Grade 2 $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap.  The four year old is riding a five race win streak, all of which have been in New York and all of which have been huge wins.  She’ll make her Laurel debut in the Fritchie and Jose Ortiz will ship down to keep the mount for trainer Linda Rice.  Centrique drew the rail and comes into the Fritchie with two straight big wins at Gulfstream Park.  She’ll make her Laurel debut on Saturday and will pick up the services of Eclipse winning apprentice Victor Carrasco.  My Wandy’s Girl is an interesting runner in this spot as well as she’s Grade 1 placed and was second in this race last year.  She was second in the Grade 2 Ruffian after that but went to the sidelines for most of the summer and fall of 2013.  She came back with a fifth in the Garland of Roses Stakes last time out at Aqueduct.

La Verdad will try and prove she’s the truth on Saturday as she makes her first stakes attempt in the Grade 2 $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap.  The four year old is riding a five race win streak, all of which have been in New York and all of which have been huge wins.  She’ll make her Laurel debut in the Fritchie and Jose Ortiz will ship down to keep the mount for trainer Linda Rice.  Centrique drew the rail and comes into the Fritchie with two straight big wins at Gulfstream Park.  She’ll make her Laurel debut on Saturday and will pick up the services of Eclipse winning apprentice Victor Carrasco.  My Wandy’s Girl is an interesting runner in this spot as well as she’s Grade 1 placed and was second in this race last year.  She was second in the Grade 2 Ruffian after that but went to the sidelines for most of the summer and fall of 2013.  She came back with a fifth in the Garland of Roses Stakes last time out at Aqueduct.

The $100,000 John Campbell Handicap is the undercard feature and drew just five horses. Mercenary made his Laurel debut last time out and scored a very impressive win coming down from Woodbine.  Concealed Identity actually won this race last year and will look to defend his title, however in nine starts since that win he’s been unable to crack the exacta.

BetPTC.com Selections for the Barbara Fritchie

  1. My Wandy’s Girl
  2. La Verdad
  3. Centrique

Longshot: Access to Charlie

BetPTC.com Selections for the John Campbell

  1. Managed Account
  2. Mercenary
  3. Concealed Identity

Saturday Stakes Action at BetPTC.com

Calder Race Course

Race 7                  Pica Slew Stakes                      4:00pm EST

Fair Grounds

Race 8                  Bayou Handicap                        4:55pm EST

Race 9                 Rachel Alexandra Stakes            5:25pm EST

Race 10              Fair Grounds Handicap               5:55pm EST

Race 11              Risen Star Stakes                        6:25pm EST

Race 12              Mineshaft Handicap                   6:55pm EST

Gulfstream

Race 9          Davona Dale Stakes                       4:33pm EST

Race 10       Canadian Turf Stakes                     5:04pm EST

Race 11       Fountain of Youth Stakes               5:33pm EST

Hialeah

Race 7         South Florida QH Invitational      3:35pm EST

Race 8         Sunshine State Derby               4:05pm EST

Race 9         Miami Dade County Stakes                  4:34pm EST

Laurel Park

Race 6            John Campbell Handicap            2:56pm EST

Race 9           Barbara Fritchie Handicap           4:25pm EST

Oaklawn

Race 8        Spring Fever Stakes                           5:38pm EST

Sam Houston

Race 6                  Sam Houston Sprint                 10:10pm EST

Race 8                  Texas Yellow Rose Stakes          11:02pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 8                  Sensational Star Stakes             7:00pm EST

Sunland Park

Race 10              Mine That Bird Derby                6:40pm EST

Tampa Bay Downs

Race 8                  Super Stakes                              3:55pm EST

Turf Paradise

Race 2                  Arizona Oaks                            3:55pm EST

Race 7                  Turf Paradise Derby                   6:27pm EST

 

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