Weekend Stakes Preview 3/20

Spiral Stakes draws a huge field at Turfway


Twelve three year olds will look to stamp their ticket to the Kentucky Derby as they line up at Turfway Park on Saturday for the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes. With 50 points going to the first place finisher, The Spiral Stakes is led by Tamarando who will look to invade from California coming off a win in the El Camino Real Derby.  Tamarando is clearly best over a synthetic surface as he’s even a Grade 1 winner over the surface.  He’s the 3/1 morning line favorite as he’ll be running over the polytrack at Turfway Park under jockey Russell Baze for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.  He’ll have to beat the top three finishers from the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial that was run last month including winner Solitary Ranger.  Solitary Ranger went right to the front in the Battaglia and opened up a huge lead in mid-stretch before cruising to a near five length win.  Poker Player was second behind Solitary Ranger that day and was six wide and had to come from nearly twenty lengths back.  It was Poker Player’s first try over the synthetic and he seemed to respond well and could enjoy the added distance.  Grade 1 winner We Miss Artie has drawn a wide post after struggling eighth place finish in the Fountain of Youth.  We Miss Artie will be making his second start over the synthetic surface, and his first was a Grade 1 score at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Futurity.  John Velazquez will have the mount and he was the rider on board for that Grade 1 score last fall.


The Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks is the feature on the undercard and drew a field of twelve as well.  Hollendorfer will have a formidable runner in this race as well as he sends out Swiss Lake Yodeler.  Swiss Lake Yodeler is a multiple stakes winner and is coming off a solid third place finish in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel.  She’ll have to contend with some solid runners including Zensational Bunny.  Zensational Bunny was a perfect two for two over the synthetic at Woodbine before running fourth last time out at Gulfstream in the Grade 3 Old Hat on the dirt.  Todd Pletcher will send out Super Sky who will be making her stakes debut in the Bourbonette.  Super Sky has been second in her last two, both over the grass at Gulfstream.  Her lone win in her career was a synthetic try at Keeneland. Selections for the Spiral

  1. Tamarando
  2. Poker Player
  3. Harry’s Holiday

Longshot: Asserting Bear Selections for the Bourbonette Oaks

  1. Super Sky
  2. Zensational Bunny
  3. Shannon Nicole

Longshot: Cheerful Contender


Sunday is the Sunland Derby at Sunland Park 

Sunland Park will celebrate its biggest day of the year on Sunday with the running of the $800,000 Sunland Derby.  The Grade 3 event is worth 50 Kentucky Derby points and will feature a pair of Baffert shippers.  Midnight Hawk and Chitu will ship over from California to Sunland Park for the Sunland Derby and they figure to take a lot of the money at the betting windows.  Chitu beat Midnight Hawk last time they met in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita when Chitu flew late to get second just a half length behind Candy Boy.  It was Chitu’s first time going two turns and he should be fitter with that experience under his girth.  Midnight Hawk came back and ran a second behind California Chrome whose turned into one of the top sophomores in California.  He always shows up and runs a good race, but he’ll have to reel in his stable mate to get the win.  Todd Pletcher will ship in Commissioner for the Sunland Derby who is coming off a sixth place finish in the Fountain of Youth.  The Fountain of Youth was a race that was dominated by speed so if he can get some pace to run into he could be a player in here.

The Sunland Oaks is a $200,000 event that headlines the undercard and features multiple graded stakes winner Awesome Baby who comes out of the Bob Baffert barn.  Baffert has dominated this race in recent years and Awesome Baby will likely be out there gunning and on paper it looks like the only one who might be close to her early on is Lucky For You for the Todd Pletcher barn.  Lucky For You has decent early speed and is coming off a big maiden win at Gulfstream, but this is a big step up in class.  The Sunland card on Sunday gets underway at 2:55pm EST on Sunday and will feature five stakes in addition to the two big events. Selections for the Sunland Derby

  1. Chitu
  2. Commissioner
  3. Midnight Hawk

Longshot: Bourbonize Selections for the Sunland Oaks

  1. Awesome Baby
  2. Lucky For You
  3. Empress of Midway

Longshot: Let Her Dance

Centrique returns to Gulfstream Park in the Inside Information Stakes 

Centrique is a perfect 3 for 3 at Gulfstream Park and she’ll return to South Florida on Saturday to run in the $200,000 Inside Information Stakes.  Centrique ventured north last time out to run in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Stakes and ran a very good third in that event.  Now she’ll return to Gulfstream where she took home the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper two starts back.  Javier Castellano will be back on board on Saturday and look for Centrique to employ a stalking style just off the pace.  My Pal Chrissy is another one who should be a player in this spot and she’s always dangerous closing from off the pace.  The now 6 year old has amassed 11 wins from 45 starts and has been second in her last two stakes tries.  However the Inside Information is at 7 furlongs, a distance she’s 0 for 4 at.  The speed in the race could come from down on the inside as Five Star Mamma has tons of early gas.  She was second last time out to the mighty Groupie Doll and prior to that had been on a nice streak of really good races.  Look for her to play catch me if you can.

The Inside Information Stakes is the 10th race from Gulfstream Park on Saturday and post time is 5:36pm EST. Selections for the Inside Information

  1. Five Star Mamma
  2. Centrique
  3. My Pal Chrissy

Longshot: Wildcat Lilly

San Luis Rey feature of a stakes double at Santa Anita Saturday

The mile and one half San Luis Rey is the Grade 2 feature on the Santa Anita Saturday card that also features the Pasadena Stakes.  Vagabond shoes leads the cast of runners coming out of the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes as he dominated that Grade 2 event with a solid win from off the pace.  Vagabond Shoes was favored that day and likely will be again on Saturday.  Lucayan flew from the back of the pack that day to get up for the third spot while Temeraine had some traffic trouble and could only manage a seventh place finish.  With the smaller field though it appears Temeraine could find himself closer up this time and could be dangerous as he does have a win at this twelve furlong distance.

Enterprising looks to be one of the main contenders in the Pasadena Stakes for three year olds on turf.  Enterprising is two for two over the Santa Anita grass and hit the board in a pair of synthetic stakes up at Golden Gate in his last pair.  The return to grass should be a big bonus for him.  Diamond Bachelor is also returning to the grass after a pair of tries against graded stakes competition on the main track.  He was at his best over the grass and the return to the lawn should move him up, and he gets the services of Mike Smith in the irons.  Home Run Kitten also returns to the grass and is a winner down the hill at Santa Anita. Selections for the San Luis Rey

  1. Temeraine
  2. Vagabond Shoes
  3. Lucayan Selections for the Pasadena

  1. Diamond Bachelor
  2. Enterprising
  3. Home Run Kitten

Longshot: Craftsman 

Saturday Stakes Action at

Fair Grounds

Race 8                  Red Camelia Stakes                   5:55pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 10               Inside Information Stakes          5:36pm EST

Oaklawn Park

Race 9                  Gazebo Stakes                         6:09pm EST

Remington Park

Race 7                  Paint and Appaloosa Derby         9:36pm EST

Race 8                  Paint and Appaloosa Futurity      10:02pm EST

Race 9                  Oklahoma Derby                       10:28pm EST

Race 10                Oklahoma Futurity                    10:54pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 4                  San Luis Rey Stakes                   5:00pm EST

Race 8                  Pasadena Stakes                      7:00pm EST

Sunland Park (Sunday)

Race 5                  New Mexico Breeders’ Derby      4:40pm EST

Race 6                  Bill Thomas Memorial                 5:08pm EST

Race 7                  Harry Henson Stakes                 5:36pm EST

Race 8                  Sunland Park Oaks                    6:05pm EST

Race 9                  NM Breeders’ Oaks                    6:35pm EST

Race 10               La Coneja Stakes                      7:07pm EST

Race 11               Sunland Derby                         7:40pm EST

Tampa Bay

Race 8          Challenger Stakes             3:50pm EST

Turfway Park

Race 10       Fathead Bourbonette Oaks      5:42pm EST

Race 11       Spiral Stakes                            6:28pm EST


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