Weekend Stakes Preview 3/19

Spiral Stakes at Turfway is on the road to the Derby

Eleven three year olds will line up to go nine furlongs on Saturday in the $550,000 Spiral Stakes as part of a huge 12 race card at Turfway Park. Royal Son was made the 7/2 morning line favorite coming off a big win in the John Battaglia Memorial last time out in his first try at Turfway. He went wire to wire that day for trainer Todd Pletcher and once again he’ll be ridden by veteran journeyman Rodney Prescott in the Spiral. Having drawn the rail he should be able to secure a good spot on or near the lead and save ground into the first turn. A couple of Golden Gate shippers have made the journey over to Turfway for the Spiral. Metaboss won the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate last month and beat Conquest Typhoon who ran third in that race. Conquest Typhoon is a Grade 2 winner and even though he was a little short last time, he could be a bit fitter this time as Mark Casse tends to do well second off the layoff. Bill Mott will ship over Dubai Sky who has won three straight races over the Gulfstream Park turf course. The Spiral will be his first try over synthetic but turf horses have always tended to transfer well onto polytrack. Jose Lezcano has signed on to ride and they’ve drawn the far outside post, so finding a good spot early will be critical for him.

The Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks tops the undercard and drew a field of twelve runners plus a pair of also-eligibles. Doug O’Neill will send over the 5/2 morning line favorite Sharla Rae who is coming over from Golden Gate Fields and a win in the California Oaks. The talented young rider Drayden Van Dyke will take over the riding assignment on Sharla Rae and they should be running on from the back in the Bourbonette. Sweet Success is just a maiden breaker from Gulfstream but her speed figures are very solid and she brings Joel Rosario along with her for the ride. Her best effort was sprinting though so the distance could be an issue. Harlan’s Destiny has won three straight state-bred stakes at Charles Town and even won an allowance at Churchill Downs. The Wayne Catalano trainee has won sprinting at four and a half furlongs and routing at a mile so she’s extremely versatile. Selections for the Spiral Stakes

  1. Conquest Typhoon
  2. Royal Son
  3. Metaboss

Longshot: Dubai Sky Selections for the Bourbonette Oaks

  1. Walking the Kitten
  2. Sharla Rae
  3. Harlan’s Destiny

Longshot: Bossy 

$800,000 Sunland Derby is Sunday

Sunland Park will showcase the biggest event on the calendar for the New Mexico track on Sunday as the $800,000 Sunland Derby tops a big card. Eight three year olds will look to get their Kentucky Derby points along with the big payday including a couple of solid California shippers. Firing Line drew the rail and must be excited not to have to see Dortmund again as he’s finished second to him twice in a row, both times beaten by a head. He owns just his maiden win, but his two seconds to Dortmund stamp him as a legitimate Kentucky Derby candidate. Gary Stevens will once again have the mount on Firing Line for trainer Simon Callaghan. Bob Baffert, who has enjoyed immense success at Sunland Park will send over Lord Nelson. Lord Nelson dominated the San Vicente at seven furlongs two starts back but was a well beaten fourth last time out against Firing Line and Dortmund in the San Felipe Stakes. Lord Nelson will be reunited with Martin Garcia who hasn’t been aboard in his last couple starts, but is Baffert’s go-to rider. Where’s The Moon tops the local contingent as he’s coming off a very sharp win in the Mine That Bird Derby, the primary local prep. Why Two won the Turf Paradise Derby and will take his crack to get on the Kentucky Derby trail in the Sunland Derby. He broke his maiden at Santa Anita before taking the Turf Paradise Derby and figures to be on or near the early pace.

The Sunland Park Oaks is a $200,000 event that has points up for grabs for the Kentucky Oaks. It’s a race that has produced a Kentucky Oaks winner in Plum Pretty and this year’s field of eight features some talent. Grade 1 winner Callback is one of two entries for trainer Bob Baffert as he’ll also send out Maybelline. Callback won the Grade 1 Las Virgenes last time out and is really coming into her own with just four starts under her belt. Martin Garcia will be on board for the ride in the Oaks. Maybelline is Grade 1 placed but has struggled so far in 2015 and will look to get back on track in the Oaks. John Sadler will send out Suva Harbor who has the advantage of one run over this course as she won the $50,000 Island Fashion Stakes last month. Selections for the Sunland Derby

  1. Firing Line
  2. Why Two
  3. Pain and Misery

Longshot: Dirt Monster Selections for the Sunland Oaks

  1. Callback
  2. Suva Harbor
  3. We Need Art

Longshot: Babes Cyber Slew

Inside Information and Sabin Stakes are a Saturday Gulfstream Stakes Double

The Grade 2 Inside Information and the Grade 2 Sabin top another brilliant card of racing on Saturday at Gulfstream Park. House Rules is coming off a huge win in the Grade 3 Rampart Stakes and she’s in the best form of her career for trainer Jimmy Jerkins. She figures to be a solid favorite in the Sabin with jockey Javier Castellano aboard. Right to her outside is Molly Morgan who is a multiple Grade 2 winner. She tends to like to come from off the pace, so she’ll need some of the speed to go quick early to set her up for her move. Indiana Oaks winner Tiz Windy will make her seasonal debut in the Sabin and she’s familiar with Gulfstream as she broke her maiden there.

The Inside Information Stakes is for sprinters and features the red-hot Merry Meadow. Merry Meadow has rattled off three straight wins, the last two of which have been Grade 3 races at Gulfstream Park. She won the Hurricane Bertie stakes last time by nine lengths, so anything close to that performance and the other horses might be running for second money. However this time she’ll have to face Sweet Whiskey who while she hasn’t won in a year, has been keeping very solid Grade 2 company in her last few starts. She’s a Grade 3 winner at Gulfstream Park as well, so she clearly favors the surface. Selections for the Sabin Stakes

  1. Tiz Windy
  2. House Rules
  3. Molly Morgan

Longshot: Sheer Drama Selections for the Inside Information Stakes

  1. Merry Meadow
  2. Sweet Whiskey
  3. Classic Point

Longshot: Best Behavior

All Stakes Saturday at Aqueduct on Saturday

As the inner-track season winds down at Aqueduct and NYRA gets ready to shift over to the Main Track for the Wood Memorial Day in a few weeks, Saturday is a stakes bonanza. All ten races are stakes events ranging from $60,000 to $100,000 and covering almost every category of runner. The big card gets underway at 1:20pm EST.

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 1                  Karakorum Electra Stakes                    1:20pm EST

Race 2                  Vidogenic Stakes                               1:49pm EST

Race 3                  Mr. Sinatra Stakes                              2:18pm EST

Race 4                  Sis City Stakes                                   2:48pm EST

Race 5                  Kelly Kip Stakes                                 3:18pm EST

Race 6                  Xtra Heat Stakes                               3:48pm EST

Race 7                  Peeping Tom Stakes                           4:18pm EST

Race 8                  Stud Muffin Stakes                            4:48pm EST

Race 9                  Caixa Electronica Stakes                      5:18pm EST

Race 10               More To Tell Stakes                              5:48pm EST

Fair Grounds

Race 7                  Red Camilia Stakes                             5:22pm EST


Race 7                Inside Information Stakes                   4:00pm EST

Race 10              Sabin Stakes                                     5:30pm EST

Laurel Park

Race 4                  Private Term Stakes                           1:56pm EST

Race 6                  Caesar’s Wish Stakes                          2:52pm EST

Race 7                  Conniver Stakes                                3:31pm EST

Race 8                  Harrison Johnson Memorial             3:50pm EST


Race 9                  Gazebo Stakes                                  6:05pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 4                  Pasadena Stakes                               5:00pm EST

Race 8                  San Luis Rey Stakes                           7:00pm EST


Sunland (Sunday)

Race 5                  New Mexico Breedres’ Oaks                4:40pm EST

Race 6                  La Coneja Stakes                               5:09pm EST

Race 7                  Bill Thomas Memorial                          5:36pm EST

Race 8                  New Mexico Breeders’ Derby               6:05pm EST

Race 9                  Sunland Park Oaks                             6:35pm EST

Race 10       Harry Henson Stakes                          7:07pm EST

Race 11       Sunland Derby                                  7:40pm EST


Turfway Park

Race 10       Bourbonette Oaks                             5:42pm EST

Race 11       Spiral Stakes                                     6:28pm EST



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