Let’s recap the horse racing headlines from last weekend and preview what’s to come in the week ahead.
SANENUS, CHARMAINE’S MIA provide stakes stunners at Santa Anita
SANENUS and Umberto Rispoli took advantage of a fast pace in the Grade III La Cañada to win going away after sitting third early on. It was the five-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy’s first stateside stakes score.
A stumbling start for OLEKSANDRA and some “ring rust” for JOLIE OLIMPICA paved the way for a big upset in the Las Cienegas Stakes, which went to 16-1 CHARMAINE’S MIA and Drayden Van Dyke.
RIDE A COMET up in time in Tropical Turf
Tyler Gaffalione timed RIDE A COMET’s late rally perfectly to win Gulfstream’s Grade III Tropical Turf by a half-length over CASA CREED. It was his second graded stakes victory since missing 25 months of training due to an injury.
Pegasus World Cup field taking shape
Bob Baffert indicated that Grade I Malibu winner CHARLATAN would bypass the Grade I, $3 million Pegasus World Cup and train up to the $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 20, but a strong field is still in store for Gulfstream’s signature race for handicap horses.
Runners considered “probable” include: CODE OF HONOR, HARPERS FIRST RIDE, JESUS’ TEAM, KING GUILLERMO, KISS TODAY GOODBYE, KNICKS GO, MATH WIZARD, MR FREEZE, SHARP SAMURAI, SLEEPY EYES TODD, TAX, and TRUE TIMBER.
Louisiana’s road to the Kentucky Derby begins in Lecomte
Let’s preview Saturday’s biggest races, beginning with the lone Kentucky Derby prep of the weekend, the Lecomte Stakes.
The Grade III, $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (Fair Grounds Race 13, 6:49 p.m. ET)
The 1 1/16th-mile Lecomte drew 11 runners in search of precious Kentucky Derby points (paid 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers). The dangerous tandem of Brad Cox and Florent Geroux will team up with the 2-for-2 #10 MANDALOUN.
The $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes (Fair Grounds Race 12, 6:20 p.m. ET)
Most of the nine entrants in the Silverbulletday – a one mile, 70-yard event – will be tested at two turns for the first time. That includes #1 SOUPER SENSATIONAL, a runaway winner in each of her first two starts at Woodbine for Mark Casse, who names Declan Carroll to ride.
The Grade III, $125,000 Louisiana Stakes (Fair Grounds Race 10, 5:23 p.m. ET)
#8 WELLS BAYOU will make his first start since fading to fifth in the Grade I Arkansas Derby last May. He’s working forwardly at Oaklawn for the 1 1/16th-mile Louisiana, which drew nine horses, and lures the red-hot Geroux.
The $200,000 California Cup Derby (Santa Anita Race 7, 6 p.m. ET)
#1 THE CHOSEN VRON should take plenty of action from the red-hot tandem of trainer Eric Kruljac (4-for-7 at the meet) and jockey Joel Rosario (11-for-57). He broke his maiden by over six lengths on debut last month.
Should the three-year-old son of Vronsky falter, King Glorious victor #5 PLAY CHICKEN figures to pick up the pieces under Mario Gutierrez.
The $200,000 California Cup Oaks (Santa Anita Race 6, 5:30 p.m. ET)
#7 SENSIBLE CAT looks like the strongest of a trio of runners for Carla Gaines in the California Cup Oaks, a one-mile turf event. The three-year-old daughter of Bluegrass Cat, who broke her maiden on turf, was last seen taking the Soviet Problem Stakes at Los Alamitos. Mike Smith regains the assignment.
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