Weekend Stakes Preview 9/25

Santa Anita gets underway as the lead up to the Breeders’ Cup

Santa Anita will open up for the Fall Meet on Friday and Saturday will feature a big group of stakes events, most of them for horses pointing towards the Breeders Cup in five weeks. Shared Belief is the big name showing up in the Awesome Again Stakes as he continues his march towards the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He’s come back well from his injury and has posted two dominating wins, including a big win in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic over older horses. He’ll meet older horses again in the Awesome Again Stakes which will be his first start over the course at Santa Anita. His main competition could come from a horse who is well proven over the Santa Anita course, being Fed Biz. Fed Biz is 3 for 7 over the Santa Anita course including a score in the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes. Imperative and Majestic Harbor are both coming out of the Pacific Classic and both will have to make up several lengths on Shared Belief if they’re going to matter. But both should be closing late and are definite exotic contenders.

The Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes drew a full field of fourteen to run over the grass. Many of the top finishers from the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon are showing up in this event including the winner Miss Serendipity. Miss Serendipity blew by Parranda and Cozze Up Lady late in the Yellow Ribbon Stakes and will likely get a nice pace set up again Saturday. Emollient seems didn’t fire in her two Grade 1 tries back east and returns to the left coast where she was last seen finishing second in the Grade 1 Gamely, beaten just a nose.   Two year olds will take center stage in the Grade 1 Frontrunner Stakes with Del Mar Futurity winner American Pharoah likely to take a ton of the action. He was a dominating winner of the Futurity and his trainer Bob Baffert also sends out Lord Nelson, who was a very impressive debut winner.

Beholder is back to defend her title in the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes. She was a very impressive winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff and has been virtually unbeatable at Santa Anita, with seven wins from eight starts there. Iotapa looks to be her main rival as she’s coming off a pair of Grade 1 victories. Iotapa should be prominently placed up front with Beholder so it could be a cat and mouse game between the two. The Chandelier Stakes is a wide open event for two year old fillies as the top two finishers in the Del Mar Debutante are passing on the race. So it’s a race loaded with maiden winners and a horses who were just behind the top two in the Debutante, like Conquest Eclipse who was third in that race. Selections for the Awesome Again

  1. Shared Belief
  2. Fed Biz
  3. Imperative

Longshot: Majestic Harbor Selections for the Rodeo Drive Stakes

  1. Irish Mission
  2. Cozze Up Lady
  3. Stormy Lucy

Longshot: Emollient Selections for the Frontrunner

  1. American Pharoah
  2. Lord Nelson
  3. Conquest Panthera

Longshot: Daddy DT Selections for the Zenyatta

  1. Beholder
  2. Iotapa
  3. Tiz Midnight

Longshot: Yahilwa Selections for the Chandelier

  1. Angela Renee
  2. Conquest Titan
  3. Sunday Sonnet

Longshot: Maybellene

Jockey Club Gold Cup tops NYRA Super Saturday at Belmont

The $1,000,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup is the headliner of a massive Saturday card at Belmont that will feature 5 Grade 1’s and a Grade 2. Twelve runners will go the mile and one quarter including a pile of Grade 1 winners. The top three finishers from the Travers will make the jump up to take on older runners in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. VE Day has won four in a row and delivered his biggest punch last time out when closing from fourteen lengths behind to win the Travers. Wicked Strong was a gallant second that day and he was just ahead of Tonalist, who returns to Belmont where he triumphed in both the Peter Pan and Belmont Stakes this spring. Moreno and Big Cassanova look like the two speed runners and both drew the far outside two post positions. Moreno won the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga two back before finishing a good second in the Woodward. Micromanage drew the rail and some of his better races make him a big contender in this spot. However his third place effort last time out in a Grade 3 at Parx leaves little to be desired.

The Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic assembles a who’s who of turf running males. Grade 1 winners like Imagining, who is 5 for 9 career at Belmont. Main Sequence comes into this race with two straight Grade 1 wins in New York. Big Blue Kitten and Real Solution were 2nd and 3rd in this race last year and both have had great success at the Grade 1 level before. Private Zone will look to defend his title in the Grade 1 Vosburgh. He hasn’t won a race since then and will be getting some heat early on as plenty of speed is signed on. He’ll have to take down the new king of the sprints in NY, Palace. Palace won the Vanderbilt and Forego at Saratoga. He’s never been out of the exacta in 5 starts at Belmont and is in career form right now.

The Grade 1 Flower Bowl drew nine runners including many horses who are looking to get back on track. Stephanie’s Kitten hasn’t won this year but has woken up in her last two and ran a pair of good seconds against top level competition. She’s a Grade 1 winner at Belmont and should be flying late. Abaco is another deep closer who should be flying late and she’s coming off maybe he best career effort. Stopchargingmaria scratched out of last week’s Cotillion at Parx to run in the Beldame on Saturday against older runners. Fiftyshadesofhay could be a player as well in the Beldame. She was second last time out behind Close Hatches, who would be a huge favorite if she was in this race. The Grade 2 Kelso features Itsmyluckyday who comes into this race in the top form of his career. He won the Grade 1 Woodward last time out and has just been sensational in 2014. Selections for the Jockey Club Gold Cup

  1. Tonalist
  2. Moreno
  3. Wicked Strong

Longshot: VE Day Selections for the Joe Hirsch Turf Invitational

  1. Main Sequence
  2. Imagining
  3. Big Blue Kitten

Longshot: Medal Count Selections for the Vosburgh

  1. Palace
  2. Happy My Way
  3. Coup De Grace

Longshot: Dads Caps Selections for the Flower Bowl

  1. Strathnaver
  2. Stephanie’s Kitten
  3. Abaco

Longshot: Starstruck Selections for the Beldame

  1. Stopchargingmaria
  2. Belle Gallantey
  3. Fiftyshadesofhay

Longshot: Stanwyck Selections for the Kelso

  1. Itsmyluckyday
  2. Bradester
  3. Golden Ticket

Longshot: Capo Bastone

Oklahoma Derby is Sunday at Remington Park

The $400,000 Oklahoma Derby tops a huge card of racing at Remington Park on Sunday afternoon. Fourteen runners entered the mile and one eighth Oklahoma Derby including Fountain of Youth Stakes winner Wildcat Red. Wildcat Red was third in the Grade 1 Haskell and followed that up with a fifth place finish in the King’s Bishop, which is a sprint at Saratoga. Jerry Hollendorfer will send Tonito M. over to Remington for the Oklahoma Derby. He hasn’t won a race since February, but he’s been keeping some ultra tough company, including a third place finish behind Shared Belief in the Los Alamitos Derby. Bill Mott will send over Charge Now who is coming out of the Grade 1 Travers Stakes, a race he finished seventh in. Prior to that he was 2nd in the Curlin Stakes and gets the riding services of Junior Alvarado.

The $200,000 Remington Oaks sees some impressive barns shipping in like Bill Mott, Jerry Hollendorfer and Mike Maker. Maker will send out Shannon Nicole who is coming off the best effort of her career, a win in the Indiana Grand Stakes. Mott sends out America, who has been keeping Grade 1 company in her last three starts. She should appreciate the class relief to this listed event and will certainly get a lot of backing at the windows. The Remington Park Sprint Cup sees Heitai bring his three stakes winning streak into the race. He’s got deadly speed and is certainly the one they’ll have to catch.

The big Sunday card of racing gets underway at Remington Park at 2:30pm EST. Selections for the Oklahoma Derby

  1. Wildcat Red
  2. Edison
  3. Tonito M.

Longshot: Away Game Selections for the Remington Oaks

  1. Awesome Jill
  2. America
  3. Lady Fifty Two

Longshot: Dream Spinner Selections for the Remington Sprint

  1. Heitai
  2. Ghost is Clear
  3. Alsivo

Longshot: Castletown

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 4                  Kelso Handicap                         2:27pm EST

Race 5                  Beldame Invitational                  3:00pm EST

Race 7                  Flower Bowl Invitational             4:07pm EST

Race 8                  Vosburgh Invitational                4:42pm EST

Race 9                  Joe Hirsch Turf Classic               5:16pm EST

Race 10                Jockey Club Gold Cup                5:50pm EST


Race 9                  Homecoming Classic Stakes        4:49pm EST

Race 10                    Jefferson Cup                          5:20pm EST


Race 9                  Wasted Tears Stakes                5:30pm EST


Race 3                  Selima Stakes                           2:10pm EST

Race 5                  Laurel Futurity                          3:10pmEST

Race 7                  Lady Baltimore Stakes               4:10pm EST

Race 8                  Jameela Stakes                        4:40pm EST

Race 10               Laurel Turf Cup                        5:40pm EST

Race 11               Laurel Dash                              6:10pm EST


Race 9                  Jersey Juvenile                         4:54pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 5                  Zenyatta Stakes                       5:30pm EST

Race 6                  FrontRunner Stakes                  6:00pm EST

Race 7                  Rodeo Drive Stakes                   6:30pm EST

Race 8                  Awesome Again Stakes             7:00pm EST

Race 9                  Unzip Me Stakes                       7:30pm EST

Race 10               Chandelier Stakes                     8:00pm EST


Race 8                  Asparagus Stakes                     7:45pm EST


Race 4                  La Prevoyante Stakes                2:39pm EST

Race 8                  Bull Page Stakes                       4:53pm EST




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