Weekend Stakes Preview 9/3

Woodward Stakes is Saratoga Saturday feature

Older horses will be the menu on Saturday as the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes tops another big card at Saratoga. Liam’s Map just missed last time out in the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes when Honor Code caught him. He won’t have to fight Honor Code in this race though. It was just the second loss of Liam’s Map’s career and while the distance could be the concern considering he blew a nearly five length lead in mid-stretch, he did just miss by a nose and was almost two lengths clear of third. He also gets Javier Castellano back in the irons who was on board two starts back when he scored a win. Effinex comes into this race having won three of his last four including a score in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap last time out. He’s shortening up a touch and will be coming from off the pace. Protonico is another interesting runner in the Woodward as he’s coming into the race on a two race win streak. He took the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes last time out and returns to Saratoga where his only start was a very close third behind VE Day last season.

The Grade 1 Spinaway features two year olds and includes the very popular Rachel’s Valentina who was an impressive debut winner. She’ll take some extra money at the windows as she’s a daughter of Rachel Alexandra so value might lie elsewhere. Tonasah ran very good in the Grade 2 Adirondack last time out and that experience edge will be beneficial. Banree will be making her fourth start and is coming off a huge second place finish in the Schuylerville. The Wesley Ward trainee drew on the outside and should be a major player.

Takeover Target could be the one to beat in the Saranac Stakes. He won his first start at Saratoga last time out when scoring in the Hall of Fame Stakes. World Approval was fourth in the Hall of Fame that day but was far back behind slow fractions and was extremely wide. There looks to be plenty of speed on paper in the Saranac so World Approval could be flying late. The Glenns Falls Stakes is the final stake on the card and features filly and mare turf marathoners at 11 furlongs. Goldy Espony comes into the race with three straight wins including a win in the Waya Stakes last time out against several of the rivals she’ll see on Saturday. Eastern Belle was second in the Waya that day and has been second in her last three starts. Selections for the Woodward

  1. Liam’s Map
  2. Effinex
  3. Coach Inge

Longshot: Wicked Strong Selections for the Spinaway

  1. Banree
  2. Tonasah
  3. Rachel’s Valentina

Longshot: Constellation Selections for the Saranac

  1. World Approval
  2. Takeover Target
  3. Nonna’s Boy

Longshot: Go Around Selections for the Glenns Falls

  1. Golden Espony
  2. White Rose
  3. Eastern Belle

Longshot: Evidently

Kentucky Downs opens on Saturday

One of the most popular meets for horseplayers kicks off this Saturday as Kentucky Downs opens. Massive fields, massive purses and low takeout make for some of the best turf racing of the year over the next two weeks. Maiden Special Weight and Allowance events will feature purses of over $100,000 and three stakes events top the opening day card. The Juvenile Fillies and Juvenile Turf events will each be $300,000 as will the More Than Ready Mile for older runners.

Undrafted comes back from the Royal Ascot meeting off a win and shows up here. The five year old is now a millionaire and just missed in a race at Kentucky Downs last year after coming back from Ascot. With the uphill stretch run and unique configuration at Kentucky Downs, prior success is always an important factor. Tourist drew the inside for the More Than Ready Mile and will have to rebound from a terrible effort last time out in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year. After a long break he shows up here and gets the services of Florent Geroux.

The two year old races are always interesting at Kentucky Downs and the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies Stakes events are no different. John Q. Public drew the rail and is coming out of efforts where he was well beaten against graded stakes company. He’s switching to grass for this and the experience should help him. At the Ready is an interesting play at 10/1 on the morning line. He won his turf debut nicely at Gulfstream Park at 16/1 odds and since he’s from a smaller barn, the price could be right. Simple Surprise will look to remain undefeated as she figures the one to beat in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies. She’s 2 for 2 and won a $100,000 stake at Saratoga last time out over the grass. Right to her outside is Moment is Right who is a stakes winner as well. Last time out she tried the Grade 3 Schuylerville and ran fourth. Selections for the More Than Ready

  1. Undrafted
  2. Knights Nation
  3. Regally Ready

Longshot: Fredricksburg Selections for the Kentucky Downs Juvenile

  1. Cajun Schill
  2. Axtell
  3. Red Hot Warrior

Longshot: At the Ready Selections for the Juvenile Fillies

  1. Moment is Right
  2. Simple Surprise
  3. Lily’s Dream

Longshot: Nobody’s Fault

Del Mar Debutante draws a big field of eleven

Eleven two year old fillies will go seven furlongs on Saturday in the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante. Bob Baffert will send out Pretty N Cool who has scored two straight to start her career including a score in the Grade 2 Sorrento last time out. She’s been super impressive so far but will certainly have a tougher time getting the lead this time. Come to Mischief comes down to Del Mar from Woodbine where she absolutely crushed her rivals in a $125,000 Stakes event in her career debut. Gary Stevens will pick up the mount for the Debutante and Come to Mischief should be out gunning for the early lead. Jerry Hollendorfer will send out a few runners including Songbird on the far outside. She crushed her rivals in a maiden special weight event and draws the far outside post so Mike Smith can dictate what he wants to do depending on the break.

The turf running two year olds will go in the $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Turf at a mile. Annie’s Candy broke his maiden two starts back at Los Alamitos and followed that up with a good third in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes. Of those proven on the turf, Hot Ore’s monster seven length score at Santa Anita on the grass might be the most impressive. Tyler Baze returns in the saddle and he should be forwardly placed. Selections for the Del Mar Debutante

  1. Songbird
  2. Pretty N Cool
  3. Comes to Mischief

Longshot: Stays in Vegas Selections for the Del Mar Turf Juvenile

  1. Hot Ore
  2. Annie’s Candy
  3. Hollywood Don

Longshot: Go Long

Saturday is the second leg of the Florida Stallion Series at Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park will be celebrating Florida Stallion offspring on Saturday with a six stakes card including the $300,000 Affirmed Stakes and the $300,000 Susan’s Girl. The Affirmed drew a full field of twelve to go seven furlongs including the winner of last month’s Dr. Fager Stakes Dream of Me. Dream of Me beat several of the rivals he’ll face in the Affirmed including Mr. Kisses and Brighton Lane who finished second and third. Li’l Meatball finished fourth in the Dr. Fager as the favorite and had no real excuse as he loomed up early on and faded down the lane.

Ballet Diva will look to avenge her loss in the Desert Vixen last time out as the 1/5 favorite in the Susan’s Girl on Saturday. She wasn’t able to get the lead last time as she did in her first two starts as It’s High Time got to the lead first and was able to win that day. She’ll have to outjump It’s High Time early this time as well as several new shooters who are coming into the race off maiden wins. Four other stakes for Florida Stallion Series runners will be part of the big Gulfstream card on Saturday. Selections for the Affirmed

  1. Tribal Drama
  2. Kisses
  3. Brighton Lane

Longshot: Danbury Selections for the Susan’s Girl

  1. High End Queen
  2. Ballet Diva
  3. It’s High Time

Longshot: Shakakan

Saturday Stakes Action at

Del Mar

Race 6                  Del Mar Juvenile Turf                          7:40pm EST

Race 9                  Del Mar Debutante                              9:10pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 4                  Jewel Princess Stakes                         2:12pm EST

Race 7                  The Vid Stakes                                 3:41pm EST

Race 9                  Wasted Tears Stakes                         4:46pm EST

Race 10               Susan’s Girl Stakes                             5:21pm EST

Race 11              Prized Stakes                                        6:01pm EST

Race 12              Affirmed Stakes                                 6:35pm EST

Kentucky Downs

Race 7                  Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies            5:30pm EST

Race 8                  Calumet Juvenile Stakes                     6:00pm EST

Race 9                  More Than Ready Mile                        6:32pm EST

Monmouth Park

Race 10               Boiling Springs Stakes                         5:12pm EST

Northlands Park

Race 7                  Birdcatcher Stakes                             6:00pm EST


Race 7                  Marshall Jenny Handicap                      3:37pm EST

Race 8                  Roanoke Stakes                                4:04pm EST

Race 9                  Mrs. Penny Stakes                             4:31pm EST

Race 10             Teresa Garafolo Memorial                    4:58pm EST

Race 11              Mrs. Penny Stakes                             5:28pm EST


Race 8                  Saranac Stakes                                  4:33pm EST

Race 9                  Spinaway Stakes                               5:11pm EST

Race 10               Woodward Stakes                             5:47pm EST

Race 11              Glenns Falls Stakes                             6:24pm EST


Race 8                  Swynford Stakes                               4:49pm EST






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