November 27, 2009

A Feast for the Fans

I hope you all had a turkey day filled with friends, family, and food, but do not take too long to digest that last piece of pumpkin pie, for there is a whole new feast being served up by racetracks from coast to coast.

Churchill Downs serves up two solid days of racing with a healthy heaping of six stakes races. Saturday will feature the youngsters, headlined by Thiskyhasnolimit in the Kentucky Jockey Club and Sassy Image in the Golden Rod. Both horses will try to repeat the success they had in recent stakes races at Churchill. Also on the Saturday menu, will be a turf stakes for juveniles of each gender. For added intrigue, a cherry on top of the all two-year-old card will be fashioned in the day’s closing race by Barbaro’s full brother, Lentenor, who makes his turf debut in his second career start. Friday’s races will include the River City Handicap, a wide open turf affair for older males. My rooting interest will fall squarely on the extremely hard knocking New York bred, Banrock. All of the aforementioned races are appetizing, but there is no doubt that the featured entry will be today’s Grade 1 Clark Handicap. A loaded field of 14 runners make this one of the more competitive races of the year. Einstein, Macho Again, and Bullsbay all are still in with a chance for year end honors and a win today would go a long way in the minds of many voters. Throw in talented horses like Blame, Etched, and Misremembered trying to make a name for themselves and live longshots Giant Oak and Demarcation and you have all the ingredients for one whale of a race.

Aqueduct’s main course is Saturday with four major stakes races headed by the Cigar Mile. A compact field of six will square off in the Mile with the highly talented and lightly raced Vineyard Haven taking on some salty veterans. Sensational sprinter, Kodiak Kowboy, top miler, Bribon, and his own dangerous entry mate, Pyro, offer a huge challenge to the beautiful gray. This has been Vineyard Haven’s long term goal since his return this Summer and with a victory tomorrow would validate himself as a true star. The Gazelle features the long awaited return to the races of Stardom Bound. Now trained by Rick Dutrow, the gray filly has been away since her disappointing third place finish in April’s Ashland Stakes. The Ashland loss ended a skein of five straight Grade 1 scores for last year’s juvenile filly champion. Chief among Stardom Bound’s rivals, figures to be the up and comer Unrivaled Bell, who has been effortlessly working her way up in class and could be any kind. In Saturday’s Demoiselle, juvenile fillies will stretch out to nine furlongs for the first time in their careers. Kelly Breen ships in an entry of New Jersey invaders and could well take the big money back across the Hudson. Possibly the most interesting morsel of the day could be found in the Remsen Stakes. Two of the most exciting 2010 Kentucky Derby prospects will look each other in the eye, as Champagne hero Homeboykris and the scintillating winner of the Nashua, Buddy’s Saint do battle. Aqueduct preps for Saturday’s smorgasbord with a tasty Friday appetizer. In the Top Flight, Justwhistledixie returns for new trainer Bill Mott, after nearly six months away and looks to build upon her stakes winning total that she began this time last year at the same racetrack. She will need to be at her best though, as she takes on a tough field headed by the fast Godolphin filly, Sara Louise.


Hollywood Park offers up a little greenery for the more delicate of tastes. Things get started today with the Grade 1 Citation Handicap. The classy Cowboy Cal will be favored as he tries to rebound quickly from a beating administered by the might filly Goldikova in the Breeders‘ Cup Mile. On Saturday a pair of turf stakes top the card. Featured is an excellent matchup of older females at nine furlongs on the lawn. The Matriarch has attracted pure class with Ventura, Diamondrella, Rutherienne and four other mares in a race sure to please the most finicky fan. The other Saturday stake is the Generous which is topped by Bridgetown, fresh off his runner-up finish in the BC Juvenile Turf. The weekend bonanza lasts a little longer on the left coast as Sunday’s Hollywood Derby sports a full field of classy three-year-olds. Take the Points, Battle of Hastings, The Usual Q.T., Al Khali, Straight Story, and Black Bear Island all figure prominently in this excellent betting affair. Finally on Sunday, if you still have a little room left, look for the turf debut of the speedy young miss, Connie and Michael in the Miesque Stakes.

The good news with all this great racing is, unlike Thanksgiving meals all around the country, this equine feast should not leave you reaching for the Rolaids. Enjoy race fans.

3 comments:

ja.raymond said...

I liked that; very entertaining :)
A well-rounded update too!
BTW, I love to see Joey B win the Clark!

The_Knight_Sky said...

Well, the Churchill autumn meet is all but over.

Due to the simulcastingb disagreement between Traknet and the mid-atlantic cooperative. We have seen this many races piped in west of the Hudson River: O (zero)

And this weekend's big stakes from Lousiville and New Orleans will also be forgotten by just about every fan.

Nice way to proclaim after the meet: "all-sources handle was down, now please give us slots".

LDP said...

Don't forget to mention the beautiful daughter of Cuvee, Cuvee Uncorked, in the Top Flight. She has the talent and heart to get the job done in her graded stakes debut, and at 12/1, she is a good bet for those who are going to be making a couple of plays. Go Cuvee Uncorked!

Etched is live in the Clark, he's my top pick. Vineyard is the standout, though I've loved Pyro for the longest time. At a mile on the dirt I think he comes closing like an express train.