Weekend Stakes Preview 4/30

Saturday is the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

The most important race in the United States, the Grade 1 $2,000,000 Kentucky Derby will be run on Saturday as part of a huge weekend at Churchill Downs. A field of 20 has been drawn to go the mile and quarter and trainer Bob Baffert holds many of the cards as he’ll send out the morning line favorite American Pharoah and second choice Dortmund. American Pharoah crushed his rivals in both the Rebel Stakes as well as the Arkansas Derby and showed a little more versatility coming from just off the lead in the Arkansas Derby. Dortmund is a perfect 6 for 6 and swept through the Southern California preps, including a four and a half length win in the Santa Anita Derby. He’s another horse who should be prominent early and part of what could be a contested early pace. Carpe Diem heads up the Kentucky contingent as he dominated the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. He’s been best as a stalker but with many fast early types, he could be relegated to a position further back in the pack.

Mubtaahij looks to be the first to parlay a win in the UAE Derby in Dubai to the Kentucky Derby. His trainer Mike deKock hasn’t sent many over here but when he has they have fared well in big races. International Star swept through the Louisiana preps at Fair Grounds and he’s shown in each of his starts the ability to make decisive moves on the turn and get up for wins. He could be one of the ones flying home late if they do go too fast up front. Frosted is another who showed a closing kick last time as he impressively won the Wood Memorial. Materiality is trying to buck the curse of Apollo as he didn’t race as a two year old but he’s been absolutely sensational as a three year old, beating Upstart last time out in the Florida Derby. A horse that’s being forgotten a little bit in all the Derby hype is Firing Line who won the Sunland Derby by fourteen lengths. He was beaten twice in a row by Dortmund, both times by only a head.

The undercard features the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic among many other great stakes events. Wiley veteran Stephanie’s Kitten will take on the boys in this event and she’s coming off a sensational win in the Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs. She’ll have to contend with Jack Milton who wheels right back in a couple weeks off a score in the Grade 1 Makers Mark Mile at Keeneland. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern will make his seasonal debut in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes. He’ll have to beat the very talented Private Zone who will be gunning out to the early lead to battle with Bayern.

The Churchill Distaff Turf Mile sees another matchup between rivals Sandiva, Lady Lara and Coffee Clique. They ran 1-2-3 last time out in the Honey Fox, with Lady Lara getting the narrow win. Judy the Beauty will make her first start since winning the BC Filly and Mare Turf Sprint last year as she drew the outside in the Humana Distaff. The American Turf Stakes drew a huge field of fourteen runners while the Pat Day Mile will kick off the stakes action in race 5. Selections for the Kentucky Derby

  1. American Pharoah
  2. Mubtaahij
  3. International Star

Longshot: Frosted Selections for the Woodford Reserve Turf

  1. Jack Milton
  2. Finnegans Wake
  3. Stephanie’s Kitten

Longshot: Grand Arch Selections for the Churchill Downs Stakes

  1. Private Zone
  2. Bayern
  3. C Zee

Longshot: Brewing Selections for the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile

  1. Sandiva
  2. Coffee Clique
  3. Kitty Wine

Longshot: Strike Charmer Selections for the Humana Distaff

  1. Judy the Beauty
  2. Sweet Reason
  3. Sweet Whiskey

Longshot: Thank You Marylou Selections for the American Turf Stakes

  1. Luck of the Kitten
  2. A Lot
  3. Royal Son

Longshot: Wireless Future Selections for the Pat Day Mile

  1. Gimme Da Lute
  2. Competitive Edge
  3. The Truth or Else

Longshot: Pain and Misery

The Kentucky Oaks tops huge Friday card at Churchill Downs

The Grade 1 $1,000,000 Kentucky Oaks tops a big twelve race card that gets underway Friday at Churchill Downs at 10:30am EST. Stellar Wind has been made the 7/2 morning line favorite and is coming off a sensational win in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks. She’s shown a big closing kick in both her three year old starts for trainer John Sadler. Victor Espinoza will be on board for the mount and they drew out in post number twelve. I’m a Chatterbox and Condo Commando were both made 4/1 second choices and both are coming off great wins. I’m a Chatterbox swept through the Fair Grounds preps and the Fair Grounds Oaks has been a monster prep for the Kentucky Oaks in recent years. Condo Commando is a total front runner but if nobody pushes her early on she’s going to be very tough to reel in.

The undercard on Oaks day is headed up by the Grade 1 La Troienne and the Grade 2 Alysheba as well as several other graded stakes. The La Troienne drew a very good group of 9 with no clear cut favorite. Sheer Drama is the 3/1 morning line choice and is coming off a career best effort, winning the Grade 2 Royal Delta Stakes. My Miss Sophia is an interesting entrant as she hasn’t been seen since last September. But she finished second last year in the Kentucky Oaks in her lone try at Churchill and she’ll be running first time for new trainer Bill Mott.   The Grade 2 Alysheba and features a pair of big favorites, Protonico and Honor Code. Protonico is coming off a five length win in the Ben Ali at Keeneland and his lone trip to Churchill Downs saw him run second in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap behind Hoppertunity. Honor Code put in a huge rally last time out to win the Gulfstream Park Handicap at a mile. He’s been perfect in two starts this season and the return to two turns shouldn’t hurt his late kick much. Selections for the Kentucky Oaks

  1. I’m a Chatterbox
  2. Birdatthewire
  3. Eskenformoney

Longshot: Include Betty Selections for the Eight Belles

  1. Promise Me Silver
  2. Callback
  3. Enchanting Lady

Longshot: Mizz Money Selections for the Twinspires Turf Sprint

  1. Heitai
  2. Undrafted
  3. Good Deed

Longshot: Buster Rose Selections for the Alysheba

  1. Honor Code
  2. Ride on Curlin
  3. Call Me George

Longshot: Noble Bird Selections for the La Troienne

  1. Gold Medal Dancer
  2. Sheer Drama
  3. Molly Morgan

Longshot: Tiz Windy Selections for the Edgewood

  1. Quality Rocks
  2. Sunset Glow
  3. Feathered

Longshot: Lady Zuzu 

Tons of tracks opening up this weekend

Kentucky Derby Day isn’t just one of the biggest days of the racing year, but it also marks the start for many tracks that are kicking off spring and summer meets. Tracks like Arlington Park, Louisiana Downs, Belterra Park, Finger Lakes, and Northlands Park all open up on Friday and will feature great racing action all spring and summer long. Arlington Park will race Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with Thursdays being added into the mix in July. The season feature of course is the annual Arlington Million which will be run on Saturday August 15th. Louisiana Downs races a Wednesday through Saturday schedule with first post each day at 4:15pm EST for late afternoon cards. The top draw of that season is the $400,000 Super Derby on September 12th.

Belterra Park runs a very long season into October with racing every Thursday through Sunday. Post time is 1:45pm EST with the exception of Friday which features a special late 3:00pm EST first post. Finger Lakes focuses on New York claiming races and runs a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday schedule all summer long and into the fall, with first post each day at 1:10pm EST. Northlands Park features some player friendly low takeout wagers and runs Wednesday and Friday nights at 8:30pm EST and Saturday afternoons at 3pm EST. The Canadian Derby is the feature event of the Northlands season and is run on Saturday August 15th.

Saturday Stakes Action at

Belmont Park

Race 4                  Sheepshead Bay Stakes                      1:44pm EST

Race 6                  Westchester Stakes                              2:52pm EST

Race 10                Fort Marcy Stakes                              5:35pm EST

Belterra Park

Race 6                  Edward Babst Memorial                       4:10pm EST

Churchill Downs (Friday)

Race 6                  Edgewood Stakes                             1:26pm EST

Race 7                  La Troienne Stakes                            2:08pm EST

Race 8                  Alysheba Stakes                                3:02pm EST

Race 9                  Twinspires Turf Sprint                        4:02pm EST

Race 10               Eight Belles Stakes                             4:52pm EST

Race 11               Kentucky Oaks                                  5:49pm EST

Churchill Downs (Saturday)

Race 5                  Pat Day Mile                                      12:38pm EST

Race 6                  American Turf Stakes                         1:19pm EST

Race 7                  Humana Distaff                                  2:08pm EST

Race 8                  CD Turf Mile                                      2:59pm EST

Race 9                  Churchill Downs Stakes                       3:42pm EST

Race 10              Woodford Reserve Turf Classic             4:44pm EST

Race 11              Kentucky Derby                                6:34pm EST

Evangeline Downs

Race 9                  Need For Speed Stakes                      10:16pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 7                  English Channel Stakes                       4:00pm EST

Race 8                  Honey Ryder Stakes                              4:30pm EST


Race 6                  Parx Derby                                       3:10pm EST

Race 7                  Lyman Handicap                                3:37pm EST

Race 8                  Parx Oaks                                         4:04pm EST

Race 9                  Foxy JGS Stakes                                4:31pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 5                  Desert Code Stakes                            4:30pm EST

Race 10                Precisionist Stakes                             7:00pm EST


Race 8                  Queenston Stakes                             4:50pm EST









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