Weekend Stakes Preview

Pair of Million Dollar Races headline Parx Saturday card

The racing eyes of the nation turn towards Parx Racing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Saturday, as the track will showcase the biggest day of the season including the $1,000,000 Grade 1 Cotillion and the $1,000,000 Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby.  The Pennsylvania Derby will feature a rematch of the dramatic Travers Stakes, with Will Take Charge and Moreno the top two choices on the morning line.  Will Take Charge finally came into his own in the Travers.  He threatened to run a huge race in the Kentucky Derby before traffic troubles were his undoing.  After two more poor performances in the triple crown races, he showed a good kick when finishing second in the Jim Dandy.  But the Travers was his coming out party, as he caught a loose on the lead Moreno in the final jumps.  Moreno is quickly becoming a top three year old and it looks as though once again he might have the early lead to himself as he possesses tremendous speed.  Speak Logistics is coming off a good second in the Smarty Jones, which was the key local prep for this race.  Java’s War will also make his return to the races in the Pennsylvania Derby.  The Bluegrass Stakes winner was fourth in the Swaps last time out and went to the sidelines and goes now to the barn of Barclay Tagg.

The Grade 1 Cotillion lured Grade 1 winner Sweet Lulu as well as Grade 1 winner Close Hatches.  Sweet Lulu has burst onto the scene and is a perfect 4 for 4 so far in her career.  She took the Grade 1 Test Stakes last time out and will be stretching out to her furthest distance on Saturday when she tries the mile and one sixteenth Cotillion.  Close Hatches blew her rivals away in the Mother Goose back in June and was given some time off by trainer Bill Mott.  Look for My Happy Face to take a lot of action as well, as she only missed beating Sweet Lulu by a neck last time in the Test and was 7 wide into the stretch.  The Gallant Bob Stakes drew fourteen runners and looks beyond wide open and the Alphabet Soup Handicap features a field of twelve, with Roadhog a likely single on a number of tickets. Selections for the Pennsylvania Derby

  1. Will Take Charge
  2. Moreno
  3. Romansh

Longshot: Battier Selections for the Cotillion

  1. Close Hatches
  2. My Happy Face
  3. Sweet Lulu

Longshot: Carnival Court Selections for the Gallant Bob

  1. Zeewat
  2. Amarish
  3. Distinctiv Passion

Longshot: Purple Egg Selections for the Alphabet Soup

  1. Roadhog
  2. Incisive Strike
  3. SS Skittles

Longshot: Shetan

Charles Town Oaks is part of an eleven stakes card Saturday

Charles Town will be running stakes after stakes on Saturday night, eleven in total.  The $400,000 Charles Town Oaks and the $400,000 Researcher Stakes are the two marquee events on the program.  The Charles Town Oaks features My Happy Face, who is also entered in the Cotillion at Parx.  If she goes here, she’s a huge contender as she has good tactical speed and can contend at the highest levels.  R Free Roll will likely be the favorite if My Happy Face doesn’t go in the Oaks, as she is already a stakes winner and can put up some big speed figures when she’s on her game.  So Many Ways is a Grade 1 winner and won the 8 Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs on Derby Day earlier this year.  Her last three starts have been a little disappointing, but she’s still contending and is taking a class drop for this event.

The Researcher Stakes is for three year olds at seven furlongs and there is an obscene amount of early speed types in the race.  So the key could be finding a horse that can stay close but still work out a trip.  Bond Vigilante just may be the horse to work out that trip as he’s lightly raced but seems to have a nose for finding the wire, as he’s three for four in his young career.  Our Double Play is one of the early speed types and comes out of a game effort in the Iowa Derby.  The cutback in distance should help him. Selections for the Charles Town Oaks

  1. R Free Roll
  2. My Happy Face
  3. So Many Ways

Longshot: Blueeyesintherain Selections for the Researcher Stakes

  1. Bond Vigilante
  2. Res Judicata
  3. Our Double Play

Longshot: Heaven’s Runway

Laurel Park opens on Thursday; DeFrancis Dash on Saturday 

Laurel Park will open up on Thursday for the start of the fall meeting in Maryland.  Racing will be conducted primarily on a Wednesday through Saturday schedule with a first post at 1:10pm EST.  The biggest days on the card are this Saturday’s DeFrancis Dash program and the famous Maryland Million Day on Saturday October 19th.  Maryland Legend Ben’s Cat will return to the main track, something he’s enjoyed great success at, in the DeFrancis Dash.  He’s 22 for 34 in his career and 6 of 9 on a fast dirt track.  Il Villano was second in this race last year and missed by just a nostril and has been running pretty well this year.  Right to his outside is Immortal Eyes who is another fast sprinter.  However Immortal Eyes is 0 for 5 at Laurel Park, so something about the Maryland oval hasn’t been to his liking.

The Laurel Park Turf Cup precedes the DeFrancis Dash and drew an overflow field of 16.  Dannhouser will look to defend his title in this event after he shocked everyone at 22/1 last year.  Atigun has been pretty strong since going switching to the turf and will make his first start at Laurel Park.  There are six other $100,000 stakes events on the Laurel Park card, starting with the Laurel Futurity in Race 2. Selections for the DeFrancis Dash

  1. Sage Valley
  2. Ben’s Cat
  3. Il Villano

Longshot: Saturday’s Charm Selections for the Laurel Turf Cup

  1. Atigun
  2. Lake Drop
  3. Eagle Poise

Longshot: Tricky Hat

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 8                  Illinois Owners Stakes                         6:00pm EST

Barretts at Fairplex

Race 9                  Las Madrinas Handicap                        7:20pm EST

Charles Town

Race 3                  Ernest Benner Handicap                     5:53pm EST

Race 4                  Roger Ramey Handicap                       6:21pm EST

Race 5                  Harry Buch Handicap                          6:48pm EST

Race 6                  Rachel’s Turn Stakes                          7:15pm EST

Race 7                  Harry Mercer Memorial                     7:45pm EST

Race 8                  Ann Hilton Handicap                          8:15pm EST

Race 9                  Pink Ribbon Stakes                            8:45pm EST

Race 10                Wild and Wonderful Stakes                9:15pm EST

Race 11                 Researcher Stakes                             9:50pm EST

Race 12                 Charles Town Oaks                            10:30pm EST

Race 13                It’s Only Money Stakes                       11:00pm EST

Churchill Downs

Race 9                  Dogwood Stakes                               4:59pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 7                  Musical Romance Stakes                     4:15pm EST

Indiana Downs

Race 9                  Bradford Stakes                                 5:39pm EST

Laurel Park

Race 2                  Laurel Futurity                                   1:40pm EST

Race 4                  Jameela Stakes                                 2:43pm EST

Race 6                  Selima Stakes                                    3:44pm EST

Race 7                  Lady Baltimore Stakes                        4:18pm EST

Race 8                  Laurel Dash                                       4:44pm EST

Race 9                  Laurel Turf Cup                                 5:18pm EST

Race 10                Frank DeFrancis Dash                          5:53pm EST

Louisiana Downs

Race 2                  Louisiana Stallion Stakes                      2:50pm EST

Race 4                  Louisiana Stallion Stakes                      3:40pm EST

Race 6                  Lady Razorback Futurity                      4;33pm EST

Race 7                  Elge Raspberry Stakes                        5:02pm EST

Race 8                  Razorback Futurity                             5:31pm EST

Race 9                  AL Erwin Stakes                                6:00pm EST

Monmouth Park

Race 6                  Jersey Girl Stakes                               3:25pm EST

Race 8                  New Jersey Breeders’ Handicap        4:27pm EST

Race 9                  Charles Hesse III Handicap                4:58pm EST

Northlands Park

Race 2                  Alberta Premier’s Futurity                3:28pm EST

Race 3                  Alberta Oaks                                     3:56pm EST

Race 4                  Alberta Breeders’ Handicap              4:25pm EST

Race 6                   Beaufort Stakes                                5:27pm EST

Race 8                  Sturgeon River Stakes                        6:27pm EST

Race 9                  Red Diamond Express                         6:58pm EST

Race 10                 Fall Classic Distaff                               7:29pm EST


Race 8                  Alphabet Soup Handicap                   4:00pm EST

Race 9                  Gallant Bob Stakes                             4:35pmEST

Race 10                Cotillion Stakes                                  5:10pm EST

Race 11               Pennsylvania Derby                            5:45pm EST


Race 7                  African Prince Stakes                          3:40pm EST


Race 3                  Deputy Jane West Stakes                   1:47pm EST

Race 8                  La Lorgnette Stakes                            4:23pm EST


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