Weekend Stakes Preview 3/26

Saturday morning is the Dubai World Cup 

The world’s richest race, the $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup tops a massive card from Meydan in Dubai on Saturday morning. Nine runners are in the feature event including last year’s Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome who has been made the favorite. California Chrome comes into the World Cup off a solid second place finish to Shared Belief in the San Antonio Invitational at Santa Anita. He’s drawn the far outside post and will be ridden by Victor Espinoza in the World Cup. His main competition could be from another American as Lea is the 5/2 second choice on the line. Lea was most recently a good second in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream and should be rating just off the pace. As far as the international runners, Japanese representative Hokko Tarumae comes into this race in career form. Overall he’s won 15 of 29 in his career for just shy of nine million in earnings. African Story won this race last year and tuned up for this year’s edition with a big win in the Group 1 Maktoum Challenge Round 3 over Prince Bishop, who he’ll see once again in the World Cup.

Main Sequence tops the list of nine runners in the Dubai Sheema Classic. He’s won five straight in the US and comes back overseas to run here. The question with him could be can he fair as well with no Lasix again. Flintshire was second to Main Sequence in the BC Turf and figures to be a big player in this one. The Dubai Turf drew a very solid field of 10 with all runners in fine form. Mshawish is the main US hope in here but the euros and Japanese runners look like they could be very tough. The Golden Shaheen features many stateside runners including Secret Circle, Big Macher and Salutos Amigos. Salutos Amigos comes into this race in the best form of those three but he’s leaving New York for the first time since Breeders’ Cup when he finished seventh.

The $1,000,000 Al Quoz sprint is a five furlong grass dash with sixteen runners and looks like it could go one of many different ways. The UAE Derby could have Kentucky Derby ramifications and Mubtaahij who won the main local prep, would likely come with a good showing here. The Dubai Gold Cup and the Godolphin Mile kick off what should be a great day of racing in Meydan that starts at 8:40am EST on Saturday morning. Selections for the Dubai World Cup

  1. Lea
  2. Hokko Tarumae
  3. California Chrome

Longshot: Candy Boy Selections for the Sheema Classic

  1. Flintshire
  2. Main Sequence
  3. Dolniya

Longshot: Sheikhzayedroad Selections for the Dubai Turf

  1. The Grey Gatsby
  2. Solow
  3. Umgiyo

Longshot: Trade Storm Selections for the Golden Shaheen

  1. Cool Cowboy
  2. Secret Circle
  3. Rich Tapestry

Longshot: Krypton Factor Selections for the Al Quoz Sprint

  1. Ahtoug
  2. Sir Maximillian
  3. Via Africa

Longshot: Bundle of Joy Selections for the UAE Derby

  1. Maftool
  2. Golden Barrows
  3. Mubtaahij

Longshot: Tap That Selections for the Dubai Gold Cup

  1. Havana Beat
  2. Rio Tigre
  3. Ahzeemah

Longshot: Meandre Selections for the Godolphin Mile

  1. Tamarkuz
  2. Frankyfourfingers
  3. Gold City

Longshot: Layl

Saturday is the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park

The winter-long build up is finally done and Gulfstream Park will unleash the biggest card of the season on Saturday. The $1,000,000 Florida Derby is the headliner and Upstart, the likely favorite, drew the far outside number 9 post position. He finished first in the Fountain of Youth but was disqualified for interfering with Itsaknockout who is back in this race as well. Upstart has run two big races at Gulfstream in his career so clearly he likes the surface and once again he’ll get the services of Jose Ortiz. The Fountain of Youth was only Itsaknockout’s third race so he still has plenty of upside and should improve again in this spot. Other than those two it will take a big improvement from any of the other seven to get the win.

Ekati’s Phaeton, Eskenformoney and Birdatthewire will renew their battle in the Gulfstream Oaks. They finished 1-2-3- in the Davona Dale last time out and appear to be the class of the field in the Oaks. The Grade 2 $300,000 Honey Fox also drew a very strong field. Sandiva comes into this race with two straight impressive scores and seems to have found her footing at Gulfstream Park. She’ll have to Grade 1 winner Coffee Clique who comes in off the layoff after winning the Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes at Belmont Park. The Grade 3 Skip Away drew a small but select field and sees Sr. Quisqueyano return to Gulfstream where he was last seen winning the Sunshine Millions Classic. He’ll take on East Hall as well as Commissioner who will be looking to get back on track after a very ugly run in the Donn Handicap. The big Gulfstream Florida Derby card features 14 races in all and gets underway at 12:00pm EST. Selections for the Florida Derby

  1. Itsaknockout
  2. Upstart
  3. Materiality

Longshot: Jack Tripp Selections for the Pan American

  1. Twilight Eclipse
  2. Imagining
  3. Change of Command

Longshot: Glenard Selections for the Gulfstream Oaks

  1. Birdatthewire
  2. Ekati’s Phaeton
  3. Devine Aida

Longshot: Christina’s Journey Selections for the Orchid

  1. White Rose
  2. Riposte
  3. Kitten’s Point

Longshot: Bitty Kitty Selections for the Honey Fox

  1. Lady Lara
  2. Sandiva
  3. Coffee Clique

Longshot: Istanford Selections for the Skip Away

  1. East Hall
  2. Ulanbator
  3. Commissioner

Longshot: Encryption

International Star looks to take home the Louisiana Derby

International Star has swept the first two legs of the Louisiana Derby trail, now he has to win the big one as he leads a field of nine in the $750,000 event. International Star has blossomed since coming to Fair Grounds, winning the Lecomte and the Risen Star Stakes, both from off the pace. He should be running again late in the Louisiana Derby, but he’ll have a couple new shooters he’ll have to catch. Mr. Z ships in from Oaklawn and while he hasn’t won a race in a long time, he tends to be very stubborn and battles all the way. The long stretch at Fair Grounds could be to his advantage if he’s in front turning for home. He’ll have to outgun Stanford early though who drew the inside for trainer Todd Pletcher. Stanford is making his first start in graded company this year in the Louisiana Derby so this is certainly a class test.

Moreno will lead the pack in the New Orleans Handicap as he’ll try Fair Grounds for the first time in his career. He’s best on the lead and should be gunned to the front in this spot. He was most recently second to Shared Belief and there’s nothing like that in this race. The Fair Grounds Oaks has a big tradition of putting out Kentucky Oaks contenders and this year looks like it will be no different. I’m a Chatterbox has been ultra impressive in her two local stakes wins and she’s certainly the one to beat. Forever Unbridled will have to improve to catch up with I’m a Chatterbox but her best effort could make her a player. Coalport comes into the Mervin Muniz with a four race winning streak and has just been spectacular in those wins. He is however 0 for 2 at Fair Grounds so maybe this is a race to play against him. Slumber will try Fair Grounds for the first time and he’s coming off a splendid effort in the Gulfstream Park Turf which saw him miss by just a nose in that Grade 1 event. Selections for the Louisiana Derby

  1. International Star
  2. War Story
  3. Keen Ice

Longshot: St. Joe Bay Selections for the New Orleans Handicap

  1. Moreno
  2. Call Me George
  3. Albano

Longshot: Afford Selections for the Fair Grounds Oaks

  1. I’m a Chatterbox
  2. Forever Unbridled
  3. Shook Up

Longshot: Danette Selections for the Mervin Muniz

  1. Slumber
  2. Divine Oath
  3. Coalport

Longshot: Highball

Saturday Stakes Action at

Fair Grounds

Race 4                  Crescent City Oaks                    2:48pm EST

Race 5                  Crescent City Derby                   3:26pm EST

Race 6                  Costa Rising Stakes                   3:54pm EST

Race 7                  Star Guitar Stakes                     4:23pm EST

Race 8                  Mervin Muniz Handicap           4:55pm EST

Race 9                  Fair Grounds Oaks                     5:25pm EST

Race 10              New Orleans Handicap               5:54pm EST

Race 11                Louisiana Derby                        6:24pm EST


Race 5                  Skip Away Stakes                     1:50pm EST

Race 6                  Appleton Stakes                       2:20pm EST

Race 8                  Sir Shackleton Stakes                3:21pm EST

Race 10               Honey Fox Stakes                     4:26pm EST

Race 11               Orchid Stakes                          5:00pm EST

Race 12               Gulfstream Oaks                       5:35pm EST

Race 13              Pan American Stakes                 6:11pm EST

Race 14              Florida Derby                            6:48pm EST


Race 7                  Third Chance Handicap              5:50pm EST

Race 8                  Robert Molaro Handicap             6:20pm EST

Mahoning Valley

Race 6                  Southern Park Stakes                3:04pm EST

Meydan (Dubai)

Race 2                  Godolphin Mile                          8:40am EST

Race 3                  Dubai Gold Cup                        9:15am EST

Race 4                  UAE Derby                                  9:55am EST

Race 5                  Al Quoz Sprint                          10:30am EST

Race 6                  Dubai Golden Shaheen              11:05am EST

Race 7                  Dubai Turf                               11:40am EST

Race 8                  Dubai Sheema Classic                12:15pm EST

Race 9                  Dubai World Cup                      1:00pm EST

Oaklawn Park

Race 9                  Rainbow Miss Stakes                 6:09pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 8                  Tokyo City Stakes                     7:00pm EST

Sunland Park

Race 4                  NM Red Cell Challenge               4:13pm EST

Race 5                  West Texas QH Derby               4:40pm EST

Turf Paradise

Race 3                  Coyote Handicap                      4:21pm EST

Race 6                  Mesa Handicap                         5:54pm EST





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