Weekend Stakes Preview 9/26

Super Saturday at Santa Anita headlines opening weekend

Santa Anita will host the Breeders’ Cup in a few weeks, but first things first, as the track will open up on Friday afternoon. Saturday the track will showcase five Grade 1 events, all major preps for the Breeders’ Cup.  The $250,000 Awesome Again Stakes will feature a field of ten, and as always, Bob Baffert will be well represented as he will send out three of the runners, including Paynter.  Paynter captured the nations hearts as he fought back from illness, but he proved he could still race well when he ran two great efforts off the bench, including a second in the Grade 2 San Diego.  Paynter threw a dud last time out in the Grade 1 Woodward, but should be better set now that he returns to Southern California.  Mucho Macho Man returns to Santa Anita, which was the site of his big second place run in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.  His connections are looking to get him a win, as he hasn’t had a victory since last year’s Suburban Handicap.  Grade 1 winner’s Liaison and Golden Ticket are also part of the mix, as is Take Control, who was a fast closing fourth in the San Diego Handicap in 2012 before heading to the bench.

Joyful Victory will return to Santa Anita to avenge her second place finish in last year’s Zenyatta Stakes.  Joyful Victory was second there last year and came back to Santa Anita this past March to win the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational.  She’ll have some tough foes, including Authenticity who was most recently second behind the always tough Royal Delta in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Handicap.  Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly champ Beholder will run in this spot for trainer Richard Mandella, and if there’s one things she likes, it’s Santa Anita, as she’s 4 for 5 at the Great Race Place.

The two year olds will prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in the $250,000 Frontrunner Stakes.  Tamarindo leads a number of runners who are coming out of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante.  Tamarindo came with a big closing effort to get the win in that event but wasn’t that far ahead of Dance With Fate and Can The Man who were second and third in the Debutante and are back in here.  The two year old fillies will tussle in the Chandelier Stakes which will include She’s a Tiger, who was a stunning winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante last time out.  Gary Stevens will once again be on board for She’s a Tiger who will have to once again hold off Fascinating, who was a fast closing second in that Del Mar Debutante.  Fascinating is still a maiden, but based on her speed figures and her big performance in the Debutante, she certainly fits in this spot.

Marketing Mix should be tough in the Rodeo Drive for older runners on the grass.  She won this race last year and has been hot recently, despite a disappointing fourth place finish in the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes.

Santa Anita gets underway at 4pm EST on Saturday. Selections for the Awesome Again

  1. Golden Ticket
  2. Mucho Macho Man
  3. Paynter

Longshot: Take Control Selections for the Zenyatta Stakes

  1. Joyful Victory
  2. Authenticity
  3. Include Me Out

Longshot: Flashy American Selections for the Frontrunner

  1. Schoolofhardrocks
  2. Dancing With Fate
  3. Tamarando

Longshot: Test Ride Selections for the Rodeo Drive

  1. Tiz Flirtatious
  2. Marketing Mix
  3. Lady of Shamrock

Longshot: My Gi Gi Selections for the Chandelier Stakes

  1. Fascinating
  2. Secret Compass
  3. She’s a Tiger

Longshot: Belle of the Fleet

Fort Larned shows up in the Homecoming Stakes at Churchill

Fort Larned will look to avenge his poor fifth place showing in the Whitney Invitational when he faces six rivals in the $175,000 Homecoming Stakes.  Fort Larned is at his best when he’s on the lead and it looks as though he may be the speed of the speed in here.  Golden Ticket is entered, but is also entered at Santa Anita.  Prayer For Relief has two straight wins and should be somewhat close to the pace as several rivals seem like deep closers.  Those two wins both came with Ricardo Santana in the irons, so he and Prayer For Relief both seem to get along quite well.

Nine three year olds will go a mile in Saturday’s feature, the Grade 3 Jefferson Cup Stakes at Churchill Downs.  Redwood Kitten led for much of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby last time out before finishing third, just over a length behind the winner.  Unfortunately for Redwood Kitten, there is a ton of other speed signed on in this spot, with two of the early speed types right to his outside in posts 2 and 3.  Balino is a Florida shipper and is certainly at his best when he can get out front early on.  Balino won the Naked Greed Stakes at Calder last time out and did so from a big early lead.  General Election is a Grade 3 winner and will make his first start over the Churchill surface.  General Election loves to come from behind and if he gets the pace scenario it looks like he might get on paper, he could be very tough when the real running starts. Selections for the Homecoming

  1. Fort Larned
  2. Golden Ticket
  3. Prayer For Relief

Longshot: Windswept Selections for the Jefferson Cup

  1. General Election
  2. Tate’s Landing
  3. Redwood Kitten

Longshot: Miceli

Oklahoma Derby headlines a huge Sunday card at Remington 

Remington Park will feature the biggest card of the season on Sunday afternoon.  Departing figures to be a heavy favorite, especially coming off another huge performance in the Super Derby.  He also won the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby and figures to be a strong favorite in this spot for trainer Al Stall.  Cameo Appearance, who was third in the Super Derby will once again take a shot at Departed in the Oklahoma Derby.  Cameo Appearance made his dirt debut in the Super Derby and seemed to race favorably over it.  Braveman was second in the Ohio Derby and that race got flattered a little bit when Title Contender, the horse who won the Ohio Derby, came back recently and won the BC Derby at Hastings.  Speaking of Canadian winners, Broadway Empire won the Canadian Derby at Northlands and did so in impressive fashion.  The Oklahoma Derby will likely be his toughest race to date, but he’s an improving three year old, so anything can happen.

The $200,000 Remington Park Oaks is the biggest of the five undercard stakes races on the program that gets underway at 2:30pm EST.  There will be a $25,000 guaranteed Pick 4 on the final four races of the card, of which the Oklahoma Derby will be part of.

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 7                  Cassidy Stakes                                   3:30pm EST

Race 8                  Birdonthewire Stakes                         4:00pm EST


Race 7                  Homecoming Stakes                          9:05pm EST

Race 8                  Jefferson Cup Stakes                         9:39pm EST

Finger Lakes

Race 3                  Tin Cup Chalice                                 2:04pm EST

Race 7                  N.Y. Breeders’ Futurity                       3:52pm EST

Race 9                  Shesastonecoldfox Stakes                   4:46pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 8                  Our Dear Peggy Stakes                      4:45pm EST

Indiana Downs

Race 6                  City of Anderson Stakes                     4:15pm EST

Race 7                  Hillsdale Stakes                                  4:43pm EST

Lone Star

Race 3                  Red Cell Distance Challenge                 8:23pm EST

Race 6                  Refrigerator Stakes                               9:35pm EST

Race 8                  Merial Distaff Challenge                       10:23pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 5                  Chandelier Stakes                              6:00pm EST

Race 6                  Rodeo Drive Stakes                            6:35pm EST

Race 7                  Frontrunner Stakes                            7:00pm EST

Race 9                  Zenyatta Stakes                                8:00pm EST

Race 10                Awesome Again Stakes                      8:30pm EST

Race 11                Unzip Me Stakes                                9:00pm EST


Race 8                  Harvest Stakes                                  7:45pm EST


Race 8                  Victorian Queen Stakes                      4:23pm EST

Zia Park

Race 11                Lubbock Stakes                                 6:55pm EST


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