Weekend Stakes Preview 5/14

American Pharoah looks to take down the Preakness

American Pharaoah will look to take the second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown as he leads a field of eight in the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico on Saturday. American Pharoah has drawn the rail and is the 4/5 morning line favorite and is coming off a strong win in the Kentucky Derby. He sat just outside of Dortmund and Firing Line, both of whom are in the Preakness, and pounced on them and slowly edged away in the stretch to win. With the rail draw and with Dortmund drawn in post 2 right alongside, the start and early positioning will be very important for Victor Espinoza and American Pharoah. Dortmund went to the front in the Derby and will likely be up there again in the Preakness. The shorter distance could play to his advantage, but he’ll have to once again put up with Firing Line who was a thorn in his side in the Derby. Firing Line got the better of Dortmund in the Derby but will have to again negotiate with American Pharoah. Those three were clearly the best in the Kentucky Derby and figure to be the clear top three choices in the Preakness.

Mr. Z will return in the Preakness after skipping the Kentucky Derby. He was third in the Arkansas Derby and while he’s only got one career win, he’s got early speed and could be a bit of a player for the minor awards. Divining Rod comes off a good win in the Lexington Stakes and should be forwardly placed up with the big three favorites in the early going.

The Grade 2 Dixie Stakes drew a full field including recent Grade 3 Appleton Stakes winner War Correspondent who just beat Aripeka and Grand Tito who finished second and third respectively. Skyring won the 2013 edition of this race and will look to be on or near the lead and steal the race. The Grade 3 Gallorette drew 13 horses and marks the return of Watsdachances. Watsdachances was last seen running fourth in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Stakes. She actually ran second in this race last year so clearly the Pimlico surface is something she enjoys. The Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap drew a solid field in the six furlong event. Happy My Way crushed his rivals in his only start at Pimlico and should be up on the engine early on. Larry Jones sends out Coup De Grace who has some real back class and could be tuned up for this race.

Four $100,000 listed stakes events are also part of the Preakness Day card which gets underway with a special early post of 10:30am EST. The Preakness is race 13 and post time is 6:18pm EST. Selections for the Preakness Stakes

  1. American Pharoah
  2. Firing Line
  3. Dortmund

Longshot: Divining Rod Selections for the Dixie Stakes

  1. Up With the Birds
  2. Aripeka
  3. Manchurian High

Longshot: Grand Tito Selections for the Gallorette Handicap

  1. Cat’s Claw
  2. Emotional Kitten
  3. Watsdachances

Longshot: Run of the River Selections for the Maryland Sprint Handicap

  1. Coup De Grace
  2. Happy My Way
  3. Jack’s In The Deck

Longshot: Sandbar

Delaware Park, Presque Isle and Canterbury Park all open up this week

As spring rolls on, more and more great tracks are opening for spring and summer meetings. Delaware Park, Presque Isle and Canterbury all kick off their season’s this week. Delaware Park opens up on Saturday and will feature 81 days of racing, mostly running on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, with some schedule variations. First post each day will be at 1:15pm EST. The headlining event is the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap on Saturday July 18th.

Presque Isle Downs opens up on Sunday evening and will run Sundays through Thursdays all spring and summer long, with first post each day at 5:25pm EST. Monday September 7th is the Grade 2 Presque Isle Masters which annually is one of the most important preps for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Racing at Canterbury Park kicks off on Friday night and they will run Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays through September 12th. Thursday night cards will begin in June and Thursday and Friday racing goes off at 7:30pm EST while Saturday and Sunday cards start at 1:45pm EST.

Friday is Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico

The $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes tops a big Friday card at Pimlico that features six stakes events. Nine fillies and mares will compete in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes including 9/5 favorite Luminance. Luminance won the first two starts of her career and finished second last time out in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks behind the very talented Stellar Wind. Danessa Deluxe is 9/2 on the morning line and was last seen running third in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks. That was her seasonal debut though and she stands a good chance to improve second off the layoff in the Black Eyed Susan Stakes.

Stopchargingmaria tops a very good field in the Grade 3 DuPont Distaff. She finished a very good second in the Grade 1 Madison Stakes last time out and should improve now with the return to two turns. She’s a multiple Grade 1 winner and has a big class advantage over much of this field. Lunar Surge could be a player in the DuPont as she was most recently second in the Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland, beaten just a head.   Maryland legend Ben’s Cat headlines the Jim McKay Turf Sprint. He’s been a win machine in his career, but at age nine he’ll have to turn the tables on Bold Thunder who beat him last time out in an allowance at Pimlico.

Eleven sprinters will go in the Miss Preakness Stakes and stars undefeated Miss Ella who is looking to win her third race to start her career. She won the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes last time out at Keeneland and goes for Maryland legend Graham Motion. Miss Temple City should be a big favorite in the Hilltop Stakes but drew the far outside post. She was second last time out behind the ultra talented Lady Eli last time out in the Grade 3 Appalachian Stakes and Lady Eli would be 1/9 in this race. Lady Sabella will return to Maryland after a very dull effort in the Madison Stakes. She’s 1 for 1 at Pimlico and has had great success in Maryland in her career. Selections for the Black Eyed Susan

  1. Danessa Deluxe
  2. Luminance
  3. Devine Aida

Longshot: Pure Selections for the Skipat

  1. Lady Sabella
  2. Frivolity
  3. Galiana

Longshot: Printasticat Selections for the DuPont Distaff

  1. Stopchargingmaria
  2. Yahilwa
  3. Before You Know It

Longshot: Lunar Surge Selections for the Jim McKay Turf Sprint

  1. Bold Thunder
  2. Ben’s Cat
  3. Dreams Gone Wild

Longshot: Brewing Selections for the Miss Preakness

  1. Huasca
  2. Enchanting Lady
  3. Divine Dawn

Longshot: Super Saks Selections for the Hilltop

  1. Miss Temple City
  2. Ayaady
  3. Lady Zuzu

Longshot: All in Fun Saturday Stakes Action

Belmont Park

Race 6                  Vagrancy Handicap                   2:59pm EST

Race 10               Wait a While Stakes                     5:38pm EST

Canterbury Park

Race 7                  Lady Slipper Stakes                   5:09pm EST

Churchill Downs

Race 8                  Keertana Stakes                       4:18pm EST

Race 11                Keertana Stakes                       5:50pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 9                  Gracie Handicap                        5:55pm EST

Monmouth Park

Race 10               Red Bank Stakes                      5:15pm EST

Northlands Park

Race 7                  Wild Rose Handicap                   5:56pm EST

Pimlico (Friday)

Race 5                  Hilltop Stakes                               1:56pm EST

Race 8                  Miss Preakness Stakes               3:23pm EST

Race 9                  Jim McKay Turf Sprint                3:52pm EST

Race 10               DuPont Distaff Stakes               4:21pm EST

Race 11              Black-Eyed Susan                      4:50pm EST

Race 12              Skipat Stakes                                    5:19pm EST

Pimlico (Saturday)

Race 4                  James Murphy Stakes                12:02pm EST

Race 5                  Maryland Sprint Handicap           12:39pm EST

Race 7                  Sir Barton Stakes                      1:51pm EST

Race 9                  Gallorette Handicap                   3:19pm EST

Race 10               Chick Lang Stakes                     4:04pm EST

Race 11               The Very One Stakes                4:44pm EST

Race 12               Dixie Stakes                             5:25pm EST

Race 13              Preakness Stakes                      6:18pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 2                  Angel’s Flight Stakes                 3:00pm EST


Race 8                  Marine Stakes                          4:45pm EST


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