Horse racing news, notes, & stakes previews, 2/10/21

Let’s recap the horse racing headlines from last weekend and preview what’s to come in the week ahead.

RISK TAKING wins Withers like sure thing

RISK TAKING, confidently handled throughout by Eric Cancel, swooped on the leaders three-wide in the stretch to win Aqueduct’s Withers Stakes by a convincing 3 3/4-lengths. The Chad Brown trainee earned 10 Kentucky Derby points in the process.

CANDY MAN ROCKET aces two-turn test in Sam F. Davis

CANDY MAN ROCKET made his first start around two turns a winning one in Tampa’s Sam F. Davis Stakes for trainer Bill Mott and jockey Junior Alvarado. He was clear by a length of runners-up NOVA RAGS and HIDDEN STASH in the 17-point Derby prep race.

Weekend stakes at Oaklawn postponed due to weather

Both Saturday’s Grade III, $600,000 Razorback Handicap and Monday’s Grade III, $750,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn were postponed due to potential a combination of cold, snow and ice.

The Razorback was expected to attract the likes of MYSTIC GUIDE, COASTAL DEFENSE and MR FREEZE, while the Southwest (a 17-point Derby prep race) was supposed to be the comeback race for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner ESSENTIAL QUALITY, but all that could change with the races moving to Feb. 20.

Risen Star headlines Saturday stakes slate

Let’s take a look at a stacked Saturday for stakes races!

The Grade II, $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (Fair Grounds Race 13, 7:18 p.m. ET)

#12 KEEPMEINMIND, in the money in both Breeders’ Futurity and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile before breaking his maiden in Churchill’s Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at two, makes his seasonal debut in Saturday’s Risen Star Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile heat offering 50 Kentucky Derby points to the winner.

Also among the field of 13 are Lecomte Stakes winner #6 MIDNIGHT BOURBON and the undefeated winner of the Springboard Mile, #5 SENOR BUSCADOR.

The Grade II, $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (Fair Grounds Race 12, 6:47 p.m. ET)

#8 TRAVEL COLUMN, last seen winning the Grade II Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs, makes her 2021 debut against eight others in the 1 1/16th-mile Rachel Alexandra Stakes. The top three finishers in the local prep for this race – the Silverbulletday – return here, including the victorious #9 CHARLIE’S PENNY.

The Grade III, $200,000 Mineshaft Stakes (Fair Grounds Race 10, 5:44 p.m. ET)

The undefeated #4 MAXFIELD (4-for-4) puts his perfect record on the line in Saturday’s 1 1/16th-mile Mineshaft against six others, including 2020 Louisiana Derby winner #2 WELLS BAYOU and 2020 Lecomte winner #1 ENFORCEABLE.

The Grade II, $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes (Santa Anita Race 8, 7 p.m. ET)

Some of California’s best female sprinters turned out for Saturday’s seven-furlong Santa Monica at Santa Anita, which drew 12 runners in all. That includes Grade I La Brea victress #3 FAIR MAIDEN and Kalookan Queen winner #5 QAHIRA.

The $100,000 El Camino Real Derby (Golden Gate Race 8, 7:15 p.m. ET)

The 1 1/8-mile El Camino Real Derby drew a field of nine fringe players for the Kentucky Derby, including #9 ROMBAUER, who was second in the Grade I American Pharoah before checking in fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile when last seen. 

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