Weekend Stakes Preview 4/10

Bluegrass Stakes headlines huge Keeneland Saturday

Keeneland is revving up for the biggest day of the season, as the Grade 1 Toyota Bluegrass Stakes headlines a huge stakes filled Saturday in Lexington.  Fourteen three year olds will compete in the nine furlong event, all trying to garner a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May, as well as their piece of the $750,000 pot.  The wickedly fast Bobby’s Kitten is the morning line favorite and will be making his first start off the grass, where he’s been a monster so far.  Horses that have performed well on the grass have typically translated well to Keeneland’s synthetic surface.  He was a quality third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year after setting a scorching pace and kicked off his season with a big win at Tampa Bay Downs.  Javier Castellano will be on board for trainer Chad Brown in the Bluegrass.  Harry’s Holiday is a horse with a proven track record over the synthetic surfaces, which includes a nose defeat in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway last time out.  Vinceremos ships up from Florida where he won the Sam F. Davis and was second in the Tampa Bay Derby.  He hasn’t tried the synthetic but he goes for trainer Todd Pletcher who is always dangerous at any track.  Pletcher will also send out the red hot grass runner Gala Award who will try the synthetic for the first time.  He’s been magnificent in three career starts including a win in the Grade 3 Palm Beach at Gulfstream.

The undercard is led by the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes and features Grade 1 winners like Stephanie’s Kitten and Centre Court.  Stephanie’s Kitten has been off since last summer and will be making her first start for trainer Chad Brown.  Centre Court won this race last year and had run three bad races before winning the Grade 2 Honey Fox last time out.  Discreet Marq is an interesting shipper as she comes over from Southern California for trainer Christophe Clement.  She’s very speedy and there isn’t a lot of early speed in this race, so if she gets left alone she could be dangerous.  The Grade 1 Madison features filly sprinters at seven furlongs and drew a tough cast.  Judy the Beauty is a synthetic specialist and is 4 for 5 over synthetic surfaces, including a perfect three for three at Keeneland.  Havelock will look to repeat in the Shakertown Stakes which drew a massive field of thirteen to go five and one half furlongs over the turf.  The Grade 3 Commonwealth is at seven furlongs completes the stakes action and kicks off the $0.50 Pick 5 that covers all the stakes events. Selections for the Bluegrass Stakes

  1. Gala Award
  2. Vinceremos
  3. Harry’s Holiday

Longshot: Asserting Bear Selections for the Jenny Wiley

  1. Discreet Marq
  2. Emotional Kitten
  3. Abaco

Longshot: Class Included Selections for the Madison

  1. Judy The Beauty
  2. Heir Kitty
  3. Cozze Up Lady

Longshot: Apropos Selections for the Shakertown

  1. Shrinking Violet
  2. Havelock
  3. Hogy

Longshot: Something Extra Selections for the Commonwealth

  1. Occasional View
  2. Piquant
  3. Laugh Track

Longshot: Undrafted

Arkansas Derby, Oaklawn’s signature event, is Saturday

The Grade 1 $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby will be run as part of a huge card at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.  Nine three year olds have entered including the highly touted Bayern. Bayern doesn’t have any Kentucky Derby qualifying points, but what he does have is two monstrous wins at Santa Anita.  He won his allowance by fifteen lengths and will once again be ridden by Gary Stevens in the Arkansas Derby for trainer Bob Baffert.  Bayern drew post eight, right inside of Strong Mandate who was second in the Southwest and Fourth in the roughly run Rebel Stakes.  Tapiture ran a game second in the Rebel Stakes and was a dominating winner of the Southwest Stakes.  He figures to be a tough competitor once again as he seems to really enjoy running at Oaklawn Park.  He will get a new jockey as Joel Rosario takes over the reigns on Tapiture.  Ride On Curlin has run three straight times at Oaklawn Park and has a win and two straight thirds in stakes events.  He was only a length behind Hoppertunity and Tapiture last time out in the Rebel so with a couple steps forward he could be a player in this race at a bit of a price.

The Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap is the undercard feature with sees the return of Will Take Charge.  Will Take Charge has run a pair of really good second places so far this season, including last time behind Game on Dude in the Santa Anita Handicap.  Will Take Charge has two wins at Oaklawn and has been a dominant force in the handicap division and will likely be a short price on Saturday even though he’s facing some tough customers.  Revolutionary will look to rebound from a terrible effort in the Donn Handicap and he’ll have to make up about seventeen lengths on Will Take Charge from that race.  Moreno was only a nose behind Will Take Charge in the Travers last year and will kick off his four year old season in the Oaklawn Handicap.  He’s the one they’ll have to catch as he loves to go to the front. Selections for the Arkansas Derby

  1. Tapiture
  2. Commissioner
  3. Bayern

Longshot: Ride on Curlin Selections for the Oaklawn Handicap

  1. Will Take Charge
  2. Moreno
  3. Revolutionary

Longshot: Prayer For Relief Selections for the Instant Racing Stakes

  1. Adrianne G.
  2. Sweetmarys Success
  3. Jojo Warrior

Longshot: Street Story Selections for the Northern Spur

  1. Bourbonize
  2. Six Spot
  3. Knock Em Flat

Longshot: Fabulous Kid

Woodbine, Lone Star, Evangeline and Emerald Downs all open up this week and will have all the action!

As the weather begins to turn warmer, the racing action is heating up as many tracks are beginning their Spring/Summer meets in the coming weeks.  This week four fantastic tracks, Woodbine, Lone Star Park, Evangeline Downs and Emerald Downs all will open up the gates for their seasons.  Racing at Woodbine will be run on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday schedule for the first month and a half with racing daily at 1:00pm EST.  Wednesday night cards get added to the mix on May 28th and will feature a 6:45pm EST first post.  Woodbine races until December and features amazing quality racing, full fields and great wagering opportunities.

Speaking of full fields, Both Lone Star Park and Evangeline Downs will open up this week and both have huge fields entered for the first week of racing.  Lone Star Park will race on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday schedule with racing at night starting at 7:35pm EST.  Sundays are added starting April 27th with a 2:35pm EST first post.  Evangeline Downs opened up on Wednesday April 9th and will again feature great night time racing with huge fields.  First post each night is at 6:40pm EST and racing is conducted on a Wednesday through Saturday basis.

Emerald Downs in suburban Seattle, Washington will kick off on Saturday April 12th.  Racing will be run on Saturdays and Sundays in April with first post at 5pm EST and Friday nights will be added to the menu starting in May, with a late first post of 9:45pm EST.  The season feature as always is the Grade 3 Longacres Mile which will be run this year on Sunday August 24th 

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 7                  Calder Oaks                    4:00pm EST


Race 10               Oak Hall Stakes               10:43pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 8                  Hollywood Beach Stakes   5:02pm EST


Race 7                  Commonwealth Stakes     3:40pm EST

Race 8                  Shakertown Stakes          4:11pm EST

Race 9                  Madison Stakes               4:42pm EST

Race 10                Jenny Wiley Stakes          5:14pm EST

Race 11               Bluegrass Stakes              5:45PM EST

Lone Star Park

Race 7                  Wayne Hanks Memorial     10:23pm EST

Oaklawn Park

Race 8                  Northern Spur Stakes       5:10pm EST

Race 9                  Instant Racing Stakes       5:49pm EST

Race 10                Oaklawn Handicap           6:27pm EST

Race 11               Arkansas Derby               7:07pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 5                  Las Cinegas Stakes           5:30pm EST

Race 8                  Potrero Grande Stakes     7:00pm EST

Sunland Park

Race 4                  West Texas Juvenile                 4:10pm EST

Race 5                  Sunburst Stakes                      4:35pm EST

Race 8                  Copper Top Futurity                 5:53pm EST

Race 10                Copper Top Futurity                 6:44pm EST

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