Weekend Stakes Preview 6/25

Gold Cup at Santa Anita tops big Saturday at Santa Anita

The $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita drew a field of eleven and will headline a huge stakes filled card on Saturday. Finnegan’s Wake has been a monster on the grass winning multiple graded stakes events on the lawn and he’ll try to transfer his form to the main track in the Gold Cup. Mike Smith will be on board and along with the surface switch the other concern could be the post. He’s drawn to the far outside in the eleven hole, but with a long run to the first turn he’ll have time to get over. Catch a Flight beat a number of these rivals last time out in the Grade 2 Californian and has really come to hand in his last pair of starts. Gary Stevens will have Catch a Flight just behind probable early pace maker Moreno. Moreno got caught by Catch a Flight in the Californian and while he’s run some great races at Santa Anita, he’s never scored a victory there. He does have five second place finishes in nine starts there but is still looking for his first local victory.

Hoppertunity returns to Santa Anita for the Gold Cup after running third in the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. He owns a good record at Santa Anita and is another who should be coming late if Moreno backs up to the field late. Hard Aces is another closer and he could be a price horse that comes running on late to complete some exotic wagers. He finished a decent third last time in the Californian and should improve in his second start back at Santa Anita.

The Grade 1 Triple Bend tops a very solid undercard with Masochistic looking to keep his sharp form in gear. The 5 year old beat a few of the rivals he’ll face in here as he won the Grade 2 Kona Gold in his last start. He should be right up on the engine and his only prior start at seven furlongs saw him score a huge win. San Onofre was second behind Masochistic in the Kona Gold and should add a lot of early speed to the mix as well. He’s finished second in three straight starts but his best race makes him a player in here. Sahara Sky has a ton of back class but his last few starts leave a lot to be desired. He did rally a bit late last time in the Kona Gold so if he can find some of his best old form he could have a say.

The Grade 2 Royal Heroine Stakes and the Senorita Stakes complete the stakes menu on a Saturday card at Santa Anita that gets underway at 4:00pm EST. Selections for the Gold Cup at Santa Anita

  1. Catch a Flight
  2. Moreno
  3. Hoppertunity

Longshot: Hard Aces Selections for the Royal Heroine

  1. Queen of the Sand
  2. Fanticola
  3. Famous Alice

Longshot: Stormy Lucy Selections for the Triple Bend

  1. Sahara Sky
  2. San Onofre
  3. Masochistic

Longshot: Appealing Tale Selections for the Senorita Stakes

  1. Curlin’s Fox
  2. Rattataptap
  3. Prize Exhibit

Longshot: Avenge

Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes is Belmont Saturday spotlight event

The $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes drew a nice group of ten fillies as the Saturday feature at Belmont Park. In recent years this race has featured dominant huge favorites, but this year it’s a wide open group. Some were on the Kentucky Oaks trail and some who are just bursting on to the scene like Embellish the Lace. Embellish the Lace has absolutely crushed her rivals in her last two starts in the Mid-Atlantic and will ship up for her first try against stakes company. Wonder Gal on the other hand comes out of a nice third place effort in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont last time out. She was only a length behind and that was her first start off a short break. Eskenformoney drew towards the outside in the Mother Goose and is coming off a disastrous tenth place finish in the Kentucky Oaks. She was last early in that race and should be much closer early on in this spot which is her Belmont debut. Kiaran McLaughlin will send out the lightly raced Munasara for Shadwell. She’s two for two so far in her career including a local score last time by open lengths. This is surely the acid test for her from a class standpoint but she’s done nothing wrong so far. Selections for the Mother Goose

  1. Munasara
  2. Wonder Gal
  3. Embellish The Lace

Longshot: Pleasant Tales

Churchill Downs has a four pack of stakes on Saturday Night

Summertime and night racing at Churchill Downs go hand in hand and this weekend is no different. First post is at 6pm under the Spires and the $200,000 Firecracker Stakes and a pair of early season two year old stakes are the features. The Firecracker Stakes is on the grass and features a cast of nine runners including Departing who will make just his second start on the lawn. He wasn’t getting it done any longer on the dirt so they moved him to the grass last time where he ran third behind The Pizza Man in a listed stake at Churchill. Frac Daddy was second that day and also shows up here in the Firecracker, but he has a much more seasoned turf record than Departing. Frac Daddy drew the inside and expect him to be right up on the early pace from that draw. Sky Flight is an interesting runner as he’s lightly raced with only five starts, but has three wins. He finished third in the Tampa Bay Stakes last time out in January, which was a Grade 3 event. His trainer Mark Casse excels with horses off the layoff so he should be primed and ready to go.

The $100,000 Bashford Manor for the boys and the $100,000 Debutante for the ladies will showcase some of the top early season two year olds in Kentucky. Both races are filled with maiden breakers as well as some maidens who had tough trips or close calls in their first races. The Bashford Manor might go through He’s Comin In Hot who was impressive breaking the maiden going five furlongs at Churchill last time out. Adhara could be a solid favorite in the Debutante as she crushed her rivals in here lone career start, drawing off at Churchill to win by six and a half lengths and get a big speed figure. The Kelly’s Landing Stakes is a sprint with a big field of eleven including Agent Di Nozzo who is coming off a huge victory at Churchill. Selections for the Firecracker

  1. Sky Flight
  2. Frac Daddy
  3. Skyring

Longshot: Medal Count Selections for the Bashford Manor

  1. He’s Comin in Hot
  2. Show Bound
  3. Shoot Craps

Longshot: Roman’s Chance Selections for the Debutante

  1. Areolite
  2. Adhara
  3. Don’t Boss Me

Longshot: Tia Chuy Selections for the Kelly’s Landing

  1. Russellin
  2. Schivarelli
  3. Viva Majorca

Longshot: Brewing

This weekend is the Iowa Festival of Racing

Prairie Meadows biggest weekend of the year is here with the annual Iowa Festival of Racing going on Friday and Saturday nights. The Iowa Sprint Handicap and Iowa Distaff Stakes are the Friday night toppers while Saturday is loaded with three Grade 3 events, the Iowa Oaks, Iowa Derby, and Cornhusker Handicap. The Cornhusker Handicap drew a big and talented field of eleven including Midwest mainstays like Carve, Tapiture and Golden Lad. Many of the horses coming into this race were wintering at Oaklawn Park and took turns beating each other. Another interesting runner is Jessica’s Star who is 3 for 3 at Prairie Meadows and took home the top honors in the Iowa Derby last year.

The Iowa Derby features ten three year olds and no names from the Triple Crown trail, but also no standouts so it should be a good wagering opportunity. A number of runners are coming out of the Prairie Mile including the winner Hillbilly Royalty. He’s got good early speed but so do a number of his rivals so it could be a race that sets up for a closer like Quality Bird. Quality Bird ships up from Churchill Downs and should be a big price in this spot. But he’s got some late run and could make some noise at a big number. Sarah Sis figures to be one of the ones in the Iowa Oaks. She was pulled up in the Kentucky Oaks but came back with a stellar win in the Panthers Stakes last time at Prairie against many of these same rivals. She’ll have to beat Paige though who is Grade 1 placed and will be stretching out back to two turns which should be to her liking. Post time for Friday and Saturday night at Prairie Meadows is 7:30pm EST. Selections for the Cornhusker Handicap

  1. Golden Lad
  2. Jessica’s Star
  3. Tapiture

Longshot: Page McKenney Selections for the Iowa Derby

  1. Quality Bird
  2. Hillbilly Royalty
  3. Allied Air Raid

Longshot: Bent on Bourbon Selections for the Iowa Oaks

  1. Paige
  2. Sarah Sis
  3. Sweet Success

Longshot: Magnolia Steel

Saturday Stakes Action at

Arapahoe Park

Race 8                  CTBA Derby                             5:55pm EST

Belmont Park

Race 9                  Mother Goose Stakes                5:28pm EST

Churchill Downs

Race 6                  Bashford Manor Stakes              8:30pm EST

Race 7                  Debutante Stakes                    9:05pm EST

Race 8                  Firecracker Stakes                     9:39pm EST

Race 9                  Kelly’s Landing Stakes                10:11pm EST

Monmouth Park

Race 11                Eatontown Stakes                    5:43pm EST

Oak Tree at Pleasanton

Race 9                  Oak Tree Distaff                       8:20pm EST


Race 8                  Turning for Home Stakes           4:04pm EST

Prairie Meadows

Race 5                  Iowa Oaks                               9:17pm EST

Race 6                  Iowa Derby                             9:52pm EST

Race 7                  Cornhusker Handicap             10:25pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 6                  Senorita Stakes                        6:30pm EST

Race 7                  Triple Bend Stakes                    7:00pm EST

Race 8                  Royal Heroine Stakes                 7:30pm EST

Race 9                  Gold Cup at Santa Anita            8:00pm EST


Race 8                  Zadracarta Stakes                     4:45pm EST







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