Weekend Stakes Preview 5/27

Grade 1 American Oaks tops Saturday action at Santa Anita

Saturday’s feature at The Great Race Place is the $400,000 Grade 1 American Oaks which is one of the premier early season races for three year old fillies on the grass. Spanish Queen is coming off a Grade 2 score in the Honeymoon Stakes, a race she handled her competition well by winning by a length and a half. The Honeymoon Stakes was just the third career start for Spanish Queen and she’s racked up two wins and a second in those three starts. She will be stretching out and while she’s giving away some experience to many of these runners, her ceiling could be higher than anyone else in the group. Sharla Rae was second that day and she continues to improve each and every start for trainer Doug O’Neill. She employs a stalking style and if she can go the 10 furlong distance then she could be rolling late. Grade 3 winner Consumer Credit comes into this race off a nice score in a $100,000 event at Aqueduct. She’s been running on the east coast for trainer Chad Brown and will ship west for this race. She stalks well and if she can handle the shipping and the new ground she’ll be running over, she’s a player in this spot. Brown will also send out Mrs. Mcdougal who is making her stakes debut in the American Oaks. She crushed a field of allowance runners last time out at Aqueduct and that was a front running score. She very well could be the speed of the speed in here and is the one they will have to catch.

The Grade 2 Californian tops the undercard and is the final local prep for the Gold Cup coming up later this Summer. Moreno returns to Southern California off a big win in the $1,500,000 Charles Town Classic and looms the one to beat in here. He’s never won in 8 career starts at Santa Anita but many of those races were against much tougher than any of the rivals he’ll face in here. Moreno will have to out gun Big Cazanova who is a need the lead type as well and drew the rail for the Californian. If they do go bonkers up front early on then Hard Aces could be a price play to run on from the back. He was fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap two starts back and last time finished sixth in a tough edition of the Oaklawn Handicap. Catch a Flight won the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes last time out and has been a good runner for trainer Richard Mandela since coming to the United States. Selections for the American Oaks

  1. McDougal
  2. Spanish Queen
  3. Consumer Credit

Longshot: Sharla Rae Selections for the Californian

  1. Catch a Flight
  2. Moreno
  3. Hard Aces

Longshot: Feathered

Penn Mile tops a huge card at Penn National Saturday night

Penn National will showcase the biggest night of the season on Saturday night with the $500,000 Grade 3 Penn Mile topping a big card. The stakes action starts right away with the first race being the Penn Oaks. The Penn Mile is the 4th race on the card and drew a big field of eleven to go on the grass. Night Prowler has been made the 3/1 morning line favorite and is coming off a win in the Transylvania at Keeneland last time out. He didn’t get a big speed figure in that race and actually might not end up going off as the favorite. Undefeated Woodwin W is now 4 for 4 and took home the biggest win of his career last time out winning the James Murphy Stakes at Pimlico just two weeks ago. Papacoolpapacool has rattled off three straight wins and is coming into this race in career form. He’ll be taking a big step up in class for this race but his form indicates there’s no better time to try.

Mike Maker will send out Granny’s Kitten who drew the rail and is 2 for 2 to begin his career. He’s another who will be making his first foray into stakes action but his first two wins were huge efforts and he figures to be a player. Ocho Ocho Ocho will try the grass for the first time after running 14th in the Kentucky Derby. He’s been overmatched in his last three starts so he should appreciate the class relief. It just depends on whether or not the son of Street Sense can take to the grass.

Albano is the 5/2 morning line favorite in the $200,000 Mountainview Handicap which drew a field of eleven. Albano drew the far outside and is coming off a very strong second place finish in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds. He has good tactical speed and should be close to the pace throughout and he’s getting some class relief in here. Golden Lad figures to get a lot of attention at the windows as well and he’s coming off a fourth place run in the Oaklawn Handicap. He’s 6 for 13 in his career and likes to win, so ignore him at your own peril.

The $150,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup and the $150,000 Penn Oaks complete the big stakes action and are the first two races on the card. Ben’s Cat and Bold Thunder will continue their rivalry in the Governor’s Cup as they were just 1-2 in the Turf Sprint at Pimlico, with Ben’s Cat getting the nod. Bold Thunder ducked out that day though so if he can get a better run in here he’ll be tough. Quality Rocks has been running in Grade 3 races so the slight drop to the $150,000 Penn Oaks might be just what she needs. She’ll have to best Prize Exhibit who is also taking a big class drop. Selections for the Penn Mile

  1. Woodwin W.
  2. Papacoolpapacool
  3. Granny’s Kitten

Longshot: High Noon Rider Selections for the Mountainview Handicap

  1. Cousin Stephen
  2. Golden Lad
  3. Albano

Longshot: Very Lucky Selections for the Penn. Governor’s Cup

  1. Bold Thunder
  2. Ben’s Cat
  3. Amelia’s Wild Ride

Longshot: Fabulous Kid Selections for the Penn Oaks

  1. Prize Exhibit
  2. Strict Compliance
  3. Quality Rocks

Longshot: Pangburn

Pennine Ridge is Belmont Saturday feature

Three year olds on the grass will take center stage at Belmont on Saturday as the $200,000 Pennine Ridge Stakes tops a ten race program at Belmont Park. The Buff Bradley trained Divisidero is coming off a big win in the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs on Derby Day in what was just his third career start. He likes to come from the clouds, so he’ll need some help to set up his kick, but he should be flying late and is a big contender. Chad Brown will send out Takeover Target who is a perfect 2 for 2 in his young career and will be making his stakes debut on Saturday. He’s another who likes to come from off the pace and has shown great maturity so far in those two races. The question in the race could be who does get the early lead as there isn’t a lot of pace in this race. Made in Detroit on the outside nearly went gate to wire in the $100,000 Woodhaven Stakes last time out and might be sending from the outside draw. Selections for the Pennine Ridge

  1. Startup Nation
  2. Divisidero
  3. Takeover Target

Longshot: World Approval

Evangeline Turf Sprint is Evangeline’s premier event

Saturday night in the bayou will feature some great racing including the $300,000 Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint which drew some of the top sprinters in the South. Power Alert drew the rail and is coming off a huge win in the Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day. He usually stalks and with this not being a huge field, the rail shouldn’t be too bad for him. Heitai didn’t make the lead last time in that Turf Sprint at Churchill but when he gets the lead he’s ultra tough. He’s 2 for 2 over this Evangeline course and five furlongs is a distance he loves as he’s 4 for 5 over that distance and he won this race last year. For being a turf sprint there isn’t a ton of other speed so if Heitai can get the lead he could be double tough.

The $100,000 Evangeline Mile leads the undercard and drew a solid field of eight runners. Storm Driver won the local prep for this as he scored in the John Henry Stakes last time out, a win that gave him two scores in a row. He’s been running on the turf a lot lately but has good success over the main track. A decent price play could be Only in America who comes off a win and goes first time for trainer Ron Faucheaux who is having a great meet. He’s got some decent speed and should sit just behind the leaders early on. Selections for the Evangeline Turf Sprint

  1. Heitai
  2. Power Alert
  3. Reflector

Longshot: Quick Dagger Selections for the Evangeline Mile

  1. Only In America
  2. Mystery Train
  3. Storm Driver

Longshot: Ide Be Cool 

Saturday Stakes Action at

Belmont Park

Race 9                  Pennine Ridge Stakes                5:28pm EST

Churchill Downs

Race 8                  Aristides Stakes                        4:18pm EST

Race 9                  Opening Verse Stakes               4:49pm EST


Race 5                  Opelousas Stakes                     6:15pm EST

Race 6                  Evangeline Mile                         6:47pm EST

Race 7                  Lafayette Stakes                      7:20pm EST

Race 8                  Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint     7:52pm EST

Race 9                  Acadiana Stakes                       8:23pm EST

Finger Lakes

Race 7                  Susan B. Anthony Stakes           4:10pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 4                  Sea Lily Handicap                      2:30pm EST

Indiana Grand

Race 3                  Indy Star Stakes                       7:01pm EST

Race 5                  PDJF Stakes                             7:57pm EST

Monmouth Park

Race 11       John J. Reilly Handicap               5:43pm EST

Penn National

Race 1                  Penn Oaks                                  6:00pm EST

Race 2                  Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup  6:27pm EST

Race 3                  Mountainview Handicap           6:54pm EST

Race 4                  Penn Mile Stakes                      7:22pm EST

Race 5                  Lyphard Stakes                        7:49pm EST

Prairie Meadows

Race 7                  Panthers Stakes                       10:11pm EST

Race 8                  Prairie Mile                               10:37pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 5                  American Oaks                         5:30pm EST

Race 8                  Californian Stakes                      7:00pm EST


Race 8                  Connaught Cup                        4:45pm EST

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