Weekend Stakes Preview 3/5

Shared Belief tops the Big Cap field on Saturday

The $1,000,000 Santa Anita Handicap is the biggest race in the country on a huge Saturday of racing across the US. Shared Belief, coming off a win in the San Antonio Invitational has been made the 3/5 favorite in the field of thirteen who will go in the Big Cap. Shared Belief is 9 for 10 in his career with his only loss being at this distance at Santa Anita in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year, a race he had a brutal trip in. He’s lined up in Gate 5 for the Big Cap right alongside Moreno who figures to be one of the pacemakers. Moreno is a need the lead type so expect him to shoot right out to the front. On his best day he’s very tough to pass and Santa Anita is often a track you want to be close to the lead on. Dynamic Sky could be an interesting runner as he returns to the main track after running on turf in most of 2014. He does have main track experience though and the mile and one quarter distance should be no problem for him.

The Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile tops a big undercard on Big Cap day. Summer Front hasn’t won in over a year but he’s been keeping some very good turf company, including a solid 4th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year here at Santa Anita. He’s 0 for 2 at Santa Anita but both have been Grade 1 events, including a 2nd place finish in the Shoemaker Mile last season. He’ll have to take on runners like Za Approval and Home Run Kitten, both who are coming off good finishes in the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes last time out. They finished second and third that day and both have good credentials. Graham Motion will send out Ring Weekend and anytime Graham sends out a horse on the grass you can expect it to be live. He’s coming off a layoff, but Motion hits at 19% first time after 90 days.

The San Felipe Stakes is for the three year olds and Dortmund figures to face another tough test as he looks to run his record to 5 for 5. He’s won his last two over the very game Firing Line and this time he’ll have to take on runners like Ocho Ocho Ocho, Bolo and Lord Nelson, all who are coming off huge wins. Ocho Ocho Ocho comes in after winning the Delta Jackpot and this will be his three year old debut. Lord Nelson took the 7 furlong San Vicente, so he’ll be trying the stretchout and Bolo has loved the grass so far and will try dirt for the first time. Chitu and Conquest Two Step figure to be two of the big contenders in the San Carlos, a seven furlong sprint. Conquest Two Step just won the Grade 2 Palos Verdes and Chitu was third in the Malibu behind Shared Belief. Selections in the Santa Anita Handicap

  1. Shared Belief
  2. Dynamic Sky
  3. Hard Aces

Longshot: Catch a Flight Selections for the Frank Kilroe Mile

  1. Mega Heat
  2. Summer Front
  3. Talco

Longshot: Ring Weekend Selections for the San Felipe

  1. Dortmund
  2. Lord Nelson
  3. Bolo

Longshot: Pulmarack Selections for the San Carlos

  1. Conquest Two Step
  2. Chitu
  3. Majestic City

Longshot: Outside Nashville

Tampa Bay Derby is Tampa Bay Downs signature event

The Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby came up especially tough this year and will anchor a huge card of racing in West Florida on Saturday. Grade 1 winner Carpe Diem will tangle with Ocean Knight in what is one of the more intriguing match ups of highly touted three year olds. Carpe Diem won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last season before finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind Texas Red. He’s drawn post three for the Tampa Bay Derby, right outside of Ocean Knight. Ocean Knight is undefeated in two career starts and overcame a wide journey last time out to win the Sam F. Davis. Drawing near the rail should help him avoid being wide and he should be just off the pace once again over a track he clearly liked. Divining Rod was second to Ocean Knight in the Sam F. Davis and drew the rail for the Tampa Bay Derby. His two races over the main track have both been good and he’s clearly an improving runner. An interesting horse could be Souper Colossal who gets the riding services of Joel Rosario. He’s won routing and sprinting and is very versatile and very fast. If he can shake loose early it will be interesting to see how brave he gets.

The Grade 3 Hillsborough and the Grade 3 Florida Oaks lead the undercard and both came up solid. The Hillsborough features Grade 1 winner Stephanie’s Kitten making her 2015 debut after another strong year in 2014. She won the Grade 1 Flower Bowl and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. She’s never run at Tampa Bay Downs but her regular rider John Velazquez will be aboard for the ride. Filimbi won the Grade 2 Goldikova Stakes in her last start and comes into the Hillsborough off some time off. She’s trained by Bill Mott and has been working well for her return and should be a contender if she’s ready to fire. The Grade 3 Florida Oaks features Consumer Credit who comes into the race riding a three race winning streak. She took the Grade 3 Sweet Chant Stakes last time out at Gulfstream and was scheduled to run there last week before the races were cancelled. She likes to come from just off the pace so she’ll need to workout a trip but she’s dangerous if she shakes loose late. Lismore also comes over from Gulfstream Park off a big win in an allowance event. She was second to Consumer Credit prior to that so she’ll have to turn the tables on that rival. Selections for the Tampa Bay Derby

  1. Carpe Diem
  2. Ocean Knight
  3. Danzig Moon

Longshot: Divining Rod Selections for the Hillsborough

  1. Filimbi
  2. Stephanie’s Kitten
  3. Ball Dancing

Longshot: Maria Maria Selections for the Florida Oaks

  1. Quality Rocks
  2. Bugle
  3. Consumer Credit

Longshot: Don’t Leave Me

Gotham Stakes is final New York Prep for the Wood Memorial

A field of ten three year olds was drawn on Wednesday for the Grade 2 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. El Kabeir is clearly the most accomplished as he’s already won a Grade 3 and Grade 2 in his young career. He finished second last time out as a huge favorite in the Withers Stakes and now comes back once again at the mile and one sixteenth and he’ll have to prove he can stay here in the Gotham. He’s facing mostly up and coming three year olds that aren’t proven but have hinted at ability. Lieutenant Colonel won a very nice maiden special weight down at Gulfstream Park at a mile in his debut and he’ll try two turns for the first time in the Gotham. Trainer Chad Brown is always good at basically any category, but he’s 29% after breaking their maiden. Todd Pletcher will send out Dontbetwithbruno who broke his maiden last time out. That was at a mile and a sixteenth and Pletcher is always great with young developing horses.

Salutos Amigos will look to keep his streak rolling as he tops the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap. He’ll carry 125 pounds and is giving two pounds to Dads Caps who he beat last time out in the Toboggan Handicap. Dads Caps opened up that day but Salutos Amigos came and got him. It could be catch me if you can once again on Saturday as Dad’s Caps only real pace rival is Green Gratto who is jumping up a lot in class. Selections for the Gotham

  1. Blame Jim
  2. El Kabeir
  3. Tencendur

Longshot: Lieutenant Colonel Selections for the Tom Fool

  1. Salutos Amigos
  2. Dads Caps
  3. Maleeh

Longshot: West Hills Giant

Gulfstream Park to run Swale and Palm Beach this weekend, plus the Gulfstream Park Handicap

Gulfstream Park will make up the Swale Stakes and Palm Beach Stakes this weekend after the cancellation last Saturday. The Grade 2 event features the seasonal debut of Grade 1 winner Daredevil.  Daredevil crushed maidens in his debut and followed that up with a two and a half length win in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont, a Grade 1 race.  He had a terrible time of it in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and now returns as a three year old for Todd Pletcher, who always hits with these type runners at Gulfstream Park.  Ready For Rye could be his biggest competition as he’s coming off a second place finish behind Barbados in the Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream last month.  Ready For Rye has good stalking speed and will be stretching out to seven furlongs for the first time in his career in the Swale.  XY Jet drew the outside in the Swale and is coming off a second place finish behind Barbados in the Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes.

The $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes is carded as the 11th race on the card and features a field of eleven running on the grass.  Night Prowler leads a number of horses who are coming out of the Grade 3 Dania Beach Stakes, a race he won last time out coming from off the pace. He’ll have to tangle with several horses who finished just behind him in that race as well as High Noon Rider who returns to the turf for trainer George Weaver.  High Noon Rider was sent out in the Holy Bull last time and was pulled up out of the race and will return to the grass in this spot, a surface he ran over in the first two starts of his career with no real success.

One race already scheduled this week is the Gulfstream Park Handicap. Multiple Grade 1 winner Private Zone won the Cigar Mile last time out, but there was a huge speed bias that day. He’ll likely have to be better to win this race. Honor Code might be his main rival as he’s proven to be a very solid closing sprinter. Wicked Strong shows up in this race but it feels more like a prep for longer races down the road. Selections for the Swale

  1. Souper Colossal
  2. Daredevil
  3. Senor Grits

Longshot: XY Jet Selections for the Palm Beach

  1. Night Prowler
  2. Eh Cumpari
  3. Decision Day

Longshot: Nutty Futty Selections for the Gulfstream Park H.

  1. Honor Code
  2. Private Zone
  3. East Hall

Longshot: Valid

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 3                  Cat Cay Stakes                         1:50pm EST

Race 4                  Tom Fool Handicap                   2:20pm EST

Race 9                  Gotham Stakes                        4:50pm EST

Delta Downs

Race 10               Pelican Stakes                          10:40pm EST

Fair Grounds

Race 9                  Allen Lacombe Stakes               6:22pm ESt

Gulfstream Park

Race 6                  Swale Stakes                                    3:00pm EST

Race 9                  Palm Beach Stakes                    4:30pm EST

Race 10               Gulfstream Park Handicap           5:00pm EST


Race 6                  Hot Springs Stakes                   4:39pm EST

Race 8                  Honeybee Stakes                    5:40pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 7                  San Felipe Stakes                     6:00pm EST

Race 8                  China Doll Stakes                      6:30pm EST

Race 9                  San Carlos Stakes                     7:00pm EST

Race 10               Frank Kilroe Mile                        7:30pm EST

Race 11              Santa Anita Handicap                8:00pm EST

Sunland Park

Race 9                  Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap             6:24pm EST

Tampa Bay Downs

Race 8                  Challenger Stakes                     3:52pm EST

Race 9                  Florida Oaks                             4:23pm EST

Race 10                Hillsborough Stakes                   4:53pm EST

Race 11               Tampa Bay Derby                     5:23pm EST


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