Weekend Stakes Preview 4/24

Churchill Down opens up on Saturday night

The build up to the Kentucky Derby has been going on all year long and the big race is just over a week away.  But Churchill Downs will open it’s doors on Saturday night for the annual spring/summer meet.  The ten race card on opening night will get underway at 6:00pm EST and will feature ten races, including the $150,000 Grade 3 Derby Trial at a one turn mile.  Bob Baffert entered a pair of talented runners in Chitu and Bayern but it appears Chitu will scratch and point for the Kentucky Derby.  Bayern is coming off a decent third place finish in the Arkansas Derby, a race where he was bet down to favoritism after a huge pair of wins at Santa Anita to start his career.  Rosie Napravnik will take over the mount in the Derby Trial and they’ve drawn the inside post position.  If Chitu does indeed scratch, it could be the Nick Zito trained Spot who comes into this race after getting beaten badly in the Florida Derby.  Prior to that he had won the Grade 2 Swale Stakes at 7 furlongs so it could be that he likes the one turn trip better than two turns.

The Churchill meet runs from Saturday night through June 29th with racing primarily on a Thursday through Sunday schedule with first post daily generally at 12:45pm EST, with the exception of Friday’s which have a later 2:45pm EST post time.  Opening week of course has some special days, with racing on Tuesday and Wednesday April 29th and 30th.  Kentucky Oaks Day is Friday May 2nd and has a special early post of 10:30am EST.  The Kentucky Derby Day card is Saturday May 3rd with a post time of 10:30am EST. Selections for the Derby Trial

  1. Spot
  2. Bayern
  3. Friendswith K Mill

Longshot: Matador

Saturday is Gold Rush Day at Santa Anita

With Hollywood Park closed, Santa Anita has assumed the racing days and will keep many of the great traditions of Hollywood Park, including the California Gold Rush Day card on Saturday.  The $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes and the $250,000 Melair Stakes headline a stakes loaded card that will be showcasing the Cal Bred.  The Snow Chief Stakes features eight three year olds going nine furlongs over the grass course and features Grade 3 winner Tamarando.  Tamarando will be making his first start on the grass, but he’s fared so well over the synthetic in his career he should stand a good chance to enjoy the surface.  Tamarando was Grade 1 placed in the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood as a two year old and won the Grade 3 El Camino Real at Golden Gate Fields.  Rafael Bejarano will be back in the irons on Tamarando in the Snow Chief and they’ll have to best Alert Bay who is coming off a win in the $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes.  Alert Bay is one for one over the grass, his maiden score, and has won three straight races coming into this race.

The $250,000 Melair Stakes is for the three year old fillies over the main track and someone will have to step up to contend with Rovenna who is coming off a smashing win in the Evening Jewel Stakes last time out.  Rovenna has finished ahead of Harlington’s Rose in two straight races, which should help Harlington’s Rose fans get a better price on a filly is super consistent as of late.  Swiss Lake Yodeler is a big contender if she runs one of her better races and she should appreciate the return to state bred action.  She was 9th in the Bourbonette Oaks last time out at Turfway Park and returns to Southern California where she’s a two time stakes winner.

The $125,000 Spring Fever Stakes is loaded with red-hot runners including Warren’s Veneda and Mark’s Mine.  Warren’s Veneda was third in the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap in her last start and prior to that had won two races in a row.  She was given some time off by trainer Craig Lewis and returns here as a logical contender.  Mark’s Mine is 5 for 7 in her career over synthetic surfaces and while she hasn’t done her best work here at Santa Anita, she is 7 for 10 at the six furlong distance.  Lakerville, Rousing Sermon and Soi Phet should make for a very interesting edition of the Tiznow Stakes as all have been contenders in graded stakes competition and should be a tough trio back against restricted company. Selections for the Snow Chief

  1. Alert Bay
  2. Tamarando
  3. Kukalaka

Longshot: Aoteara Selections for the Melair

  1. Rovenna
  2. Anniversary Kitty
  3. Shakeitupbetty

Longshot: Swiss Lake Yodeler Selections for the Spring Fever

  1. Warren’s Veneda
  2. Mark’s Mine
  3. Sudden Sunday

Longshot: Our Pure Creation Selections for the Tiznow

  1. Soi Phet
  2. Lakerville
  3. Rousing Sermon

Longshot: China Prince

Top Midwestern runners tangle in Saturday night’s Texas Mile at Lone Star

The Grade 3 Texas Mile has gathered together some very good horses from across the Midwest to compete in the $200,000 event.  The early pace could be the deciding factor as many of the top horses should be on or near the lead early on. Grand Contender has always done his best work on the engine and he’s coming off a smashing win in the Borgata Stakes at Delta Downs.  New Mexico invader Forest Mouse has been a winning machine in the Land of Enchantment and he’ll ship one state over to run in the Texas Mile.  He’s 3 for 4 at a mile and 15 for 33 in his brilliant career and he’ll be trying Lone Star Park for the first time.  Earlier this spring he was fifth in the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita over the grass, a race he was only beat two lengths in.

Taptowne is the morning line favorite and is ultra consistent as he hasn’t been out of the trifecta in his last ten starts for trainer Tim Glyshaw.  Two starts back he won the $150,000 Swatara Stakes at Penn National which put a cap on a  2013 season that saw him bank $466,000.  He started off 2014 in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap where he ran third.  Bourbon Courage is a multiple Grade 1 placed runner, although he seems to settle for minor placings much more so than winning.  His best race makes him a serious contender.  The Lone Star Park card gets underway at 7:35pm EST and the Texas Mile is the 8th race on the card. Selections for the Texas Mile

  1. Grand Contender
  2. Taptowne
  3. Bourbon Courage

Longshot: Stachys 

Saturday Stakes Action at

Churchill Downs

Race 8                  Derby Trial                               10:01pm EST

Delta Downs

Race 9                  John Alleman Memorials          10:35pm EST


Race 9                  John Henry Stakes                    10:16pm EST

Golden Gate Fields

Race 7                  San Francisco Mile                     6:45pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 8                  Best of the Rest Stakes             5:02pm EST


Race 3                  Land of Lincoln Stakes               3:48pm EST

Race 6                  Peach of It Stakes                       5:18pm EST

Race 8                  Pretty Jenny Stakes                    6:18pm EST

Race 9                  Milwaukee Avenue Handicap      6:48pm EST

Lone Star

Race 8                  Texas Mile Stakes                     10:51pm EST


Race 8                  Geisha Stakes                          4:26pm EST

Prairie Meadows

Race 8                  Goldfinch Stakes                       10:37pm EST

Remington Park

Race 8                  American Paint Futurity             10:02pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 4                  Fran’s Valentine Stakes              5:30pm EST

Race 5                  Tiznow Stakes                         6:00pm EST

Race 7                  Spring Fever Stakes                 7:00pm EST

Race 9                  Melair Stakes                            8:00pm EST

Race 10               Snow Chief Stakes                    8:30pm EST

SunRay Park

Race 8                  Jack Cole Stakes                       6:18pm EST

Turf Paradise

Race 1                  Joanne Dye Stakes                   4:10pm EST

Race 2                  Dwight Patterson Handicap     4:41pm EST

Race 5                  Grand Canyon Handicap           6:14pm EST

Race 6                  Ann Owens Distaff                    6:45pm EST

Race 8                  Breeders’ Derby                       7:47pm EST


Race 8                  Whimsical Stakes                      4:47pm EST


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