Weekend Stakes Preview 4/3/14

Keeneland opens up on Friday

Keeneland Race Course in Kentucky will kick off the Spring Meet on Friday and it will bring a months worth of amazing racing.  Of course the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday April 12th will be the season headliner, but there is amazing top class racing every day of the meet.  Keeneland will race primarily on a Wednesday through Sunday schedule with first post time at 1:05pm EST, with the exception of being closed on Easter Sunday.  Friday is opening day and the feature is the Grade 3 Transylvania for three year olds on the turf.  Twelve runners will line up including Grade 3 winner of the Generous Stakes Global View.  Global View was a two time winner at age two and made a very solid three year old debut last time out with a second place finish behind Bobby’s Kitten.  He’s drawn the nine post for the Transylvania with the 5/2 morning line favorite, Storming Inti, right to his outside.   Storming Inti had a four race win streak going into his last race where he finished third in the Grade 3 Palm Beach.  An intriguing price play could be number three Woodfield Springs who is coming off a very strong maiden score at Gulfstream Park last out and while he’s taking a big step up first time against winners, trainer George Arnold is solid with graded stakes runners.

Saturday’s feature is the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes for three year old fillies and drew a monstrous thirteen horse field.  Grade 3 winner Testa Rossi is coming off a smashing win in the Florida Derby and she’s been absolutely sensational since coming to the States from France.  Testa Rossi was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, but this will be her first start over the synthetic track.  Rosalind was second over this Keeneland Polytrack surface last year when she finished second in the Grade 1 Alcibiades.  She followed that up with a late running third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.  Her three year old debut was a third place finish, however she was flattered when the horse that beat her that day, In Tune, came back to win the Gulfstream Oaks last time.  George Weaver will send out the undefeated Saturday Bliss who has dominated a pair of races over the dirt at Aqueduct. Selections for the Transylvania (Friday)

  1. Woodfield Springs
  2. Global View
  3. Pleuven

Longshot: Hesinfront Selections for the Ashland (Saturday)

  1. Thank You Marylou
  2. Testa Rossi
  3. Saturday Bliss

Longshot: Candy Kitten

Saturday is the Santa Anita Derby

The top West Coast three year olds will get their last chance to pick up points for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday as eight runners will take their spot in the gate in the $1,000,000 Santa Anita Derby.  California Chrome is the likely favorite coming off three consecutive huge scores, the last being in the Grade 2 San Felipe where he crushed a talented field including Midnight Hawk.  The Art Sherman trainee will once again be ridden by Victor Espinoza and looks primed for another big effort.  He will have to beat seven rivals, amongst them the Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Candy Boy.  Candy Boy caught Chitu in the final strides of the Bob Lewis and Chitu of course came back to win the Sunland Derby last week.  Candy Boy proved his fondness for the dirt in that Lewis win and should be coming from off the pace.  Returning to Southern California for the Santa Anita Derby is Hoppertunity who is fresh off a hard fought win in the Rebel Stakes for trainer Bob Baffert.  Mike Smith will be aboard in the Santa Anita Derby and Hoppertunity does own a win over the track.

The undercard features some great stakes action including the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks which features the return to Santa Anita of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia.  Ria Antonia will be making her first start for the Bob Baffert barn after a disappointing fourth place finish in her seasonal bow at the Fair Grounds.  Ria Antonia will have to contest with Fashion Plate who is coming off a nice win in the Grade 1 Las Virgines and looks to be a front running freak.  The Grade 3 Providencia over the grass course drew many of the runners from the recent China Doll Stakes that saw Diversy Harbor close from far back to run her record to a perfect two for two.  She’s got a huge late kick, as she’s been 9th and 10th in her first two starts with a furlong to go and won both.  Margot Machance will be making just her second start in the States and was a solid maiden breaker in that debut here.  Nashoba’s Gold was just behind Diversy Harbor last time out and will be closing late as well. Selections for the Santa Anita Derby

  1. California Chrome
  2. Candy Boy
  3. Hoppertunity

Longshot: Rprettyboyfloyd Selections for the Providencia Stakes

  1. Nashoba’s Gold
  2. Diversy Harbor
  3. Margot Machance

Longshot: Full Ransom Selections for the Evening Jewel Stakes

  1. Rovenna
  2. Harlington’s Rose
  3. Sprouts

Longshots: Sprague River Selections for the Santa Anita Oaks

  1. Fashion Plate
  2. Ria Antonia
  3. Arethusa

Longshot: Smoove It

Fantasy Stakes kicks off huge last few weeks at Oaklawn

The $400,000 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn kicks off the huge final weeks of Oaklawn Park’s season as the Arkansas Derby is on the horizon.  The Fantasy is a Grade 3 event and features the top five finishers from the Grade 3 Honeybee which was the top local prep for the Fantasy.  Sugar Shack won the Honeybee over a very game Euphrosyne by just a neck and it was just three quarters of a length more back to Please Explain who was flying home to get third.  Grade 2 winner Stopchargingmaria ships up from Gulfstream after a disappointing effort in the Grade 2 Davona Dale last time out.  She’ll be making her first start at Oaklawn and if she’s closer to the lead like she was in her wins at Aqueduct then she could be a player.  An intriguing new player in the race could be Mufajaah who is coming off two straight wins including a very solid allowance win last time out. Selections for the Fantasy

  1. Mufajaah
  2. Sugar Shock
  3. Please Explain

Longshot: Kiss Moon

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 7                  Royal North Stakes                   3:48pm EST


Race 7                  Calder Derby                            4:00pm EST


Race 7                  Mr. Light Stakes                       4:03pm EST

Race 8                  Powder Break Stakes                4:34pm EST


Race 9                  Ashland Stakes                         5:22pm EST


Race 9                  Fantasy Stakes                         6:09pm EST


Race 7                  Mister Diz Stakes                      3:58pm EST

Race 8                  Twixt Stakes                              4:23pm EST

Race 9                  Dahlia Stakes                             4:55pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 3                  Echo Eddie Stakes                    4:00pm EST

Race 5                  Santa Anita Oaks                      5:00pm EST

Race 6                  Evening Jewel Stakes                5:30pm EST

Race 7                  Providencia Stakes                    6:00pm EST

Race 8                  Santa Anita Derby                    6:30pm EST


Race 4                  NM Spring Fling Stakes              4:10pm EST

Race 10                 Czaria Stakes                            6:44pm EST


Race 4                  Ocala Sophomore Stakes           2:20pm EST

Race 5                  Anna Maria Sophomore Stakes    2:50pm EST

Race 7                  Distaff Turf                                 3:50pm EST

Race 8                  Sophomore Fillies Stakes            4:22pm EST

Race 9                  Tampa Turf Classic                    4:54pm EST

Race 10               Hilton Sprint                               5:27pm EST


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