Weekend Stakes Preview 5/22

Graded Stakes Triple at Arlington Park on Saturday 

Arlington Park in Chicago will feature a graded stakes triple on Saturday including the $150,000 Arlington Classic which is one of the first local preps on the way to the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day.  Solitary Ranger will be making just his second career start on the grass in the Classic, and his first start was an impressive wire to wire score at Fair Grounds.  He went to the synthetic after that and won the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway.  He subsequently got beaten badly in the Grade 3 Spiral and the Grade 3 Lexington and now shows up here for trainer Wayne Catalano.  Solitary Ranger would like to be out on a solitary lead, however he’s going to have to deal with Istanford who also loves to be up alone on the lead.  Istanford is already Grade 3 placed and was second last time in the $150,000 Edgewood Stakes on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill.  Afortable has drawn the outside post and could be a contender for trainer Chris Block.  Afortable is lightly raced and is a perfect two for two on the grass, including a win at Arlington Park.  Could be a bit of a price and could jump up with class test.

The Grade 3 Hanshin Cup is a one mile event on the main track at Arlington and features a full field of fourteen.  Hogy is back to defend his title as he took this race in stylish fashion last year, besting Mister Marti Gras who also shows up in the race.  Hogy is 4 for 7 at Arlington Park, 6 for 12 over synthetic tracks, and should be rallying from off the pace under jockey Chris Emigh.  Pass The Dice will be making his synthetic debut and is coming into this race off two very solid second place finishes, including one of them in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes.  Occasional View comes into Arlington Park for the first time but is no stranger to success on the synthetic, including a Grade 3 win in the Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland.

The Grade 3 Arlington Matron drew eight runners including the Arlington Park specialist La Tia.  She’s three for four on the main track there and even led the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes on the grass deep into the stretch last year before losing to Dank.  Moment in Dixie will be making her Arlington Park debut and made her synthetic debut last time out with a ferocious late close to finish second in the Grade 3 Doubledogdare Stakes. Selections for the Arlington Classic

  1. Afortable
  2. Solitary Ranger
  3. Istanford

Longshot: Long On Value Selections for the Hanshin Cup

  1. Pass The Dice
  2. Hogy
  3. Occasional View

Longshot: Nikki’s Sandcastle Selections for the Arlington Matron

  1. La Tia
  2. Moment in Dixie
  3. Awesome Flower

Longshot: Frivolous

It’s Louisiana Legends night at Evangeline Downs on Saturday

Evangeline Downs will showcase the Louisiana-bred on Saturday night as the annual Louisiana Legends program will be contested.  Seven stakes events, including the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Classic which features Sunbean.  Sunbean has become the king of Louisiana racing since Star Guitar’s retirement and last year he won five state-bred stakes events.  He’s 1/2 on the morning line and is coming off a third place finish in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds.  Benwill could be the horse to beat in the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Turf Stakes as he’s coming off a stakes win at Evangeline Downs last time out.  He gets the services of Diego Saenz in the irons and he’s three for nine in his career on the grass.

Heitai will headline the Louisiana Legends Day Sprint and he’s a stone cold speed ball.  Heitai is 8 for 19 in his career and has been winning stakes on a regular basis this season and is a stakes winner at Evangeline.  The Distaff looks a little more wide open with nine runners and Little Ms. Protocol as the 5/2 favorite on the line.  This division has been wide open the last year or so and Little Ms. Protocol is the defending champion in this race, but was beaten in her subsequent six stakes events, several times by horses in this race like Ladyzarbridge and Tensas Harbor. Selections for the La. Legends Classic

  1. Sunbean
  2. Arkansas Martini
  3. Heavy on Themister Selections for the La. Legends Turf

  1. Benwill
  2. Skipberry Wine
  3. Hopeful Notion

Longshot: Valse Selections for the La. Legends Sprint

  1. Heitai
  2. M Dication
  3. Strong and Tough

Longshot: Unitas Selections for the La. Legends Distaff

  1. Tensas Harbor
  2. She Loves Runnin
  3. Little Ms. Protocol

Longshot: Miss Goodthing 

Charles Whittingham makes it’s first run at Santa Anita

The Charles Whittingham Handicap for years has been a staple of the Hollywood Park circuit, but with that track closing, the historic race has made it’s way over to Santa Anita.  The $200,000 Grade 2 event drew nine runners including Quick Casablanca and Fire With Fire who were the 1-2 finishers in the Grade 3 Last Tycoon Stakes last time.  Quick Casablanca and Joe Talamo came roaring from the back of the pack and got up just in time to catch a loose on the lead Fire with Fire.  Fire With Fire was going into the Last Tycoon on a two race winning streak, including a big score in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes.  Fire with Fire could have some company early on right to his outside as Segway is a horse who likes to be right on or near the lead.  His last two wins have come when on the engine so look for Gary Stevens to be sending Segway right from the get go.  Soi Phet got hot last year in the summer months and finished third in the Grade 1 Awesome Again.  But his last three starts have been slightly disappointing so this jump up in class could be a challenge, although he’ll likely take some action at the window. Selections for the Charles Whittingham

  1. Quick Casablanca
  2. Soi Phet
  3. Fire With Fire

Longshot: Joelito 

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 7                  Arlington Matron Stakes                   5:00pm EST

Race 9                  Hanshin Cup                                     6:00pm EST

Race 10               Arlington Classic Stakes                     6:30pm EST


Race 8                  Memorial Stakes                            4:30pm EST

Charles Town

Race 8               Binn Too Long Stakes                        10:11pm EST

Churchill Downs

Race 10              Louisville Handicap                             5:20pm EST

Delta Downs

Race 8                  Vinton Stakes                                   10:10pm EST

Race 9                  Laddie Futurity                                  10:35pm EST


Race 5                  La. Legends Soiree                            8:28pm EST

Race 6                  La. Legends Mademoiselle Stakes    8:55pm EST

Race 7                  La. Legends Cheval Stakes                9:22pm EST

Race 8                  La. Legends Distaff                            9:49pm EST

Race 9                  La. Legends Sprint                             10:16pm EST

Race 10               La. Legends Turf                               10:43pm EST

Race 11              La. Legends Classic                            11:10pm EST

Monmouth Park

Race 11               Majestic Light Stakes                          5:43pm EST

Northlands Park

Race 7                  Western Canada Stakes                      5:48pm EST

Prairie Meadows

Race 6                  Prairie Rose Stakes                             9:44pm EST

Race 8                  Prairie Express Stakes                         10:37pm EST

Remington Park

Race 11               Western Heritage Museum Stakes     11:20pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 7                  Charles Whittingham Memorial        7:00pm EST

SunRay Park

Race 8                  Aztec Oaks                                       6:18pm EST


Race 8                  Hendrie Stakes                                  4:39pm EST


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