Weekend Stakes Preview 5/1

Saturday is Kentucky Derby Day!

Saturday is the day everyone has been pointing to, as the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby is finally here.  Twenty three year olds will compete at 10 furlongs in America’s most prestigious race.  California Chrome comes into the race as the favorite as he has been absolutely dominant in his home state of California.  The Art Sheman trainee has come to life as a three year old and comes into this race as the one to beat.  Wicked Strong was wicked awesome in winning the Grade 1 Wood Memorial.  He’s stuck out in post 20 and that’s certainly something that could effect not only his chances, but also his odds at post time.  The always steady Samraat tasted defeat in the Wood Memorial, but still ran a game race and will certainly take some backing because of his consistency.  Wildcat Red heads up the Florida contingent as he was just second in the Florida Derby and won the Fountain of Youth.  Danza burst onto the scene with a big upset win in the Arkansas Derby and has impressed everyone this week at Churchill Downs with his works.

As amazing as the Kentucky Derby always is the undercard is fabulous once again this year.  Wise Dan headlines the Grade 1 Woodford Turf Classic and as always will be tough to beat.  The Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes for older runners at seven furlongs drew eleven runners and looks wide open.  It could be a race where you can get an upsetter to start your Pick 3 going into Wise Dan and then the Derby.  Storming Inti was made a very tepid 4/1 favorite in the Grade 2 American Turf over horses like Quotient and Woodfield Springs.

The Grade 1 Humana Distaff features some really fast sprinting fillies and mares including the red hot Judy The Beauty who comes into this race off a win in the Grade 1 Madison Stakes at Keeneland.  She’ll have to beat Midnight Lucky who was a top three year old filly last year and is making her first start since a big win in the Grade 1 Acorn. Grade 1 winner Centre Court could be the one to beat as she takes on eight rivals on the grass in the Distaff Turf Mile.

The Kentucky Derby Day card gets underway at a special early first post time of 10:30am EST. Selections for the Kentucky Derby

  1.  California Chrome
  2. Intense Holiday
  3. Danza

Longshot: Vicars In Trouble Selections for the Woodford Reserve Turf

  1.  Wise Dan
  2. Guys Reward
  3. Boisterous

Longshot: Admiral Kitten Selections for the Churchill Downs Stakes

  1.  Laugh Track
  2. Falling Sky
  3. Central Banker

Longshot: Broadway Empire Selections for the American Turf

  1.  Woodfield Springs
  2. Craftsman
  3. Global View

Longshot: Long On Value Selections for the Humana Distaff

  1.  Judy the Beauty
  2. Midnight Lucky
  3. Heart Stealer

Longshot: Saturday Nthe Park Selections for the Distaff Turf Mile

  1.  Effie Trinket
  2. Tapicat
  3. Centre Court

Longshot: Ready Signal

Kentucky Oaks heads up huge Churchill Downs Friday card

Thirteen of the top three year old fillies in the country will go nine furlongs for one of the most prestigious races in the country, the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.  Untapable has been made a huge favorite at 4/5 on the morning line and she’s won two races in a row in incredible fashion.  Her big coming out party was the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra where she crushed a talented field by nine and one half lengths.  She followed that up with a big score in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, winning by almost eight lengths.  The hurdle for jockey Rosie Napravnik could be the post position, as Untapable has drawn the far outside post position and will have to get a good spot with just over an eighth of a mile to the turn.  Rosalind has gotten a lot of attention since her big win in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland.  She hasn’t fared as well over dirt surfaces, with three third place finishes from three starts.  Todd Pletcher might have a good one on his hands in My Miss Sophia who has won two races in a row, including most recently the Grade 2 Gazelle by over seven lengths.

The Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes for older runners on Friday features Will Take Charge and Normandy Invasion who will hook up in a battle of two of the top handicap division runners in the country.  Will Take Charge got his first win of the season in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap last out, but his first two starts of the year were both fantastic second place finishes against top runners.  Normandy Invasion was second behind Palace Malice last time, but was 7 wide that day and could be a big player if he can work out a trip.  She’s a Tiger will make her first start of the year in the Grade 3 Eight Belles Stakes at seven furlongs.  She won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last year, but she’ll be making her first start east of California on Friday.  The Twin Spires Turf Sprint drew nine runners including Havelock and Sum of the Parts.  Havelock was fifth in this race last year and has never won at Churchill but always takes money.  Sum of the Parts will need to get off to a good start, as when he’s up front and winging, sometime he gets very brave.  The Grade 1 La Troienne only has six runners but looks pretty wide open.  Devil’s Cave is Grade 2 winner and looks to be lone speed.  However expect On Fire Baby, Unlimited Budget and Magic Union to all be sitting just behind her.

The Kentucky Oaks Day card at Churchill Downs gets underway with a special early post time of 10:30am EST. Selections for the Kentucky Oaks

  1.  Untapable
  2. My Miss Sophia
  3. Ria Antonia

Longshot: Unbridled Forever Selections for the Alysheba Stakes

  1.  Will Take Charge
  2. Normandy Invasion
  3. Mylute

Longshot: Appealing Tale Selections for the Edgewood Stakes

  1.  A Little Bit Sassy
  2. Istanford
  3. Candy Kitty

Longshot: Little Journey Selections for the Eight Belles

  1. Fiftyshadesofgold
  2. Mufajaah
  3. She’s a Tiger

Longshot: Milam Selections for the T.S. Turf Sprint

  1.  Positive Side
  2. Ancil
  3. Marchman

Longshot: Ancil Selections for the La Troienne

  1.  Devils Cave
  2. On Fire Baby
  3. Unlimited Budget

Longshot: Magic Union

Arlington Park, Northlands, Louisiana Downs and Suffolk all open this week

Spring is here and more and more tracks are opening up left and right.  Arlington Park in Chicago, Northlands Park in Edmonton, Louisiana Downs and Boston-based Suffolk Downs will all kickoff Spring/Summer meetings.  Arlington always features some of the best turf racing in the states including the always spectacular Arlington Million card in late August.  Arlington Park will race on a Thursday through Sunday schedule with post time at 2pm EST.

Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta burst to the front of many players list this season with their new player friendly takeout rates of 14.5% on WPS and 10% on their early Pick 5.  They race on a five furlong oval and will go Wednesday and Friday nights at 8:30pm EST and Saturdays at 3pm EST.  Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will go on a Thursday through Sunday schedule with racing daily at 2:25pm EST, with their feature being September’s Grade 2 Super Derby.  Suffolk Downs will offer racing Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 12:45pm EST.

Saturday Stakes Action at

Churchill Downs (Friday)

Race 5                  La Troienne Stakes                              12:43pm EST

Race 6                  Twin Spires Turf Sprint                       1:26pm EST

Race 8                  Eight Belles Stakes                             3:02pm EST

Race 9                  Edgewood Stakes                             4:02pm EST

Race 10               Alysheba Stakes                                4:52pm EST

Race 11               Kentucky Oaks                                  5:49pm EST

Churchill Downs (Saturday)

Race 6                  Churchill Distaff Turf Mile                     1:19pm EST

Race 7                  Humana Distaff                                  2:08pm EST

Race 8                  American Turf Stakes                         2:59pm EST

Race 9                  Churchill Downs Stakes                       3:46pm EST

Race 10               Woodford Reserve Turf Classic             4:44pm EST

Race 11                  Kentucky Derby                                6:24pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 9                  Sir Bear Stakes                                  5:33pm EST


Race 8                  Lyman Handicap                                3:34pm EST

Race 10                Foxy JG Stakes                                  4:30pm EST

Remington Park

Race 11                Sooner State Stakes                            9:49pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 4                  Desert Code Stakes                            4:00pm EST

Race 10                Precisionist Stakes                             7:00pm EST


Race 8                  Ballade Stakes                                   4:49pm EST


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