Weekend Stakes Preview 5/8

Monmouth Park opens on Saturday 

Monmouth Park in New Jersey will open up on Saturday with a twelve race extravaganza to kick off the season.  Racing on the Jersey Shore will feature 57 days of action, with racing on a Saturday and Sunday schedule for the first few weeks, with Fridays joining the mix in June.  First post each day will be at 12:50pm EST.  The season feature is of course the $1,000,000 Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 27th for three year olds.

The opening day feature is the $75,000 Decathlon Stakes for sprinters at six furlongs.  The win machine Ribo Bobo will be on hand and making his return to Monmouth.  Ribo Bobo has won 12 of his last 14 starts including a victory in the Icecapade Stakes at Monmouth last season, a six furlong race he won by five lengths.  He is coming off a loss in his last start, so Saturday might be a race to take a shot against him.  Candyman E drew the inside post position and is a Grade 3 stakes winner.  Two starts back he took the Grade 3 Toboggan Handicap at Aqueduct and followed that up with a sixth place finish in the Grade 3 Tom Fool.  He’s making his Monmouth debut but if he takes to the surface he’ll be a major player.  Zealevo has a pair of wins at Monmouth in his career and while he’ll be making just his second start against stakes level competition, he’s coming off a pair of nice efforts and big speed figures at Parx against allowance/optional claiming company. Selections for the Decathlon

  1. Ribo Bobo
  2. Candyman E
  3. Be Bullish

Longshot: Javerre 

Stakes Double at Gulfstream on Saturday 

Gulfstream Park is in the summer portion of it’s meeting, but the stakes action won’t let up as the $75,000 Honey Ryder and the $75,000 Big Drama Stakes feature huge fields.  Twelve runners will go in the Honey Ryder over the Gulfstream turf course and drew lots of runners who are looking to stamp themselves as stakes competitors.  Daring Kathy only has three starts in her young career but two of them have been victories, including a smashing effort last time out over the Gulfstream turf.  Little Michelle was third behind Daring Kathy last time out and was on the lead early on in that race.  It was a change in tactics from her first two races that were turf sprints that saw her rally from behind.  With the outside post position, it will be interesting to see if jockey Jilver Chamafi elects to send again or try and rate her off the pace.

In the Big Drama Stakes, it’ll be the boys sprinting six and one half furlongs, with ten runners going to post.  Dad’z Laugh has been suffering from a bit of second-itis in his recent starts, with four straight runner up finishes.  But they’ve been very quality efforts against stakes level competition.  But he is 0 for 5 at Gulfstream with 3 second place finishes.  Risk Factor will get the riding services of Edgar Prado and this horse is coming off a huge ten length win.  Majestic Cause is a lightly raced runner who has never been off the board in five career starts and could be a player in this spot, which is his stakes debut. Selections for the Honey Ryder

  1. Bella Traviata
  2. Daring Kathy
  3. Holiday Magic

Longshot: Cambiata Selections for the Big Drama Stakes

  1. Majestic Cause
  2. Dadz Laugh
  3. Elusive Blueboy

Longshot: Trinni Heart

Turf Sprinters square off in the Unbridled Sidney at Churchill Downs

The $65,000 Unbridled Sidney Stakes won’t last more than about 56 seconds or so, but it will be action packed as eight fillies and mares square off at five furlongs on the grass.  A number of the runners are coming out of the Giants Causeway Stakes at Keeneland including Sweet Cassiopeia who was third in that race.  Sweet Cassiopeia is a veteran of the turf sprint wars and has 9 wins from 26 starts, but she hasn’t tasted victory in over a year.  Point To the Wild was fourth in the Giants Causeway but was rolling late and she’s made a habit of turning in some very good closing sprint efforts.  Trainer Brad Cox is enjoying a spectacular season and Point To the Wild looks like a very logical choice.  Saturday Nthe Park was on the engine early on in the Giants Causeway so she may enjoy the cutback and jockey Robby Albarado could very well send her to the lead and try to take them all the way. Selections for the Unbridled Sidney Stakes

  1. Point To the Wild
  2. Saturday Nthe Park
  3. Sweet Cassiopeia

Longshot: Costly

Indiana Grand Racecourse and Presque Isle Downs kick off their seasons

Indiana Grand Racecourse opened up this week and Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania will kick off on Sunday evening.  Indiana Grand Racecourse (Formerly Indiana Downs) will race all through the summer and into the fall, racing on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons at 2:05pm EST and Friday and Saturday evenings at 5:05pm EST.  Thursday afternoons will be added to the mix in mid-July as the track builds up to it’s signature event, the Indiana Derby on October 4th.

Presque Isle Downs will race on a Sunday through Thursday schedule all summer long with first post each night at 5:25pm EST.  They will also have a pair of Saturday evening special cards, one on May 17th and one on June 7th.  The $400,000 Presque Isle Masters is a Grade 2 event and will take place on September 8th, a Monday evening of racing.  The race has been a key prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint since it’s inception.

Saturday Stakes Action at

Churchill Downs

Race 9                  Unbridled Sidney Stakes                     4:49pm EST

Golden Gate Fields

Race 7                  Golden Poppy Stakes                         6:45pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 7                  Honey Ryder Stakes                            4:31pm EST

Race 8                  Big Drama Stakes                               5:02pm EST

Lone Star

Race 5                  Texas Stallion Got Koko Stakes            9:27pm EST

Race 8                  Texas Stallion Stymie Stakes               9:51pm EST

Monmouth Park

Race 11                Decathlon Stakes                              5:43pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 7                  Laz Barrera Stakes                             7:00pm EST


Race 3                  La Plate Stakes                                 4:18pm EST


Race 8                  Fury Stakes                                      4:44pm EST


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