First things first, a sincere "thank you" to all our veterans, both past and present, on the culmination of Veteran's Day weekend. We are in-debt to all our men and women in uniform, whether they served during peace time or times of war.
I'm back after a few days to re-charge the post-Breeders' Cup batteries (seems like it took less time this year to pick up a Form), as we start to look ahead towards the end of the 2012 racing season. A few items on this Monday:
- I'm working on Part III (and Part IV) of my Breeders' Cup wrap which will focus specifically on the Trakus data from Santa Anita. As usual, the Trakus data gives us a different peek into the way a race unfolds.
- After a small lull in the stakes calendar things pick back up this coming weekend with the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot, along with stakes races at Aqueduct and Churchill Downs. Due to the changes made to the qualifying process for the 2013 Kentucky Derby, the Delta Jackpot is no longer a de facto "win and you're in" race. That's really not a bad thing since the winner of the Jackpot really hasn't had much of an impact on the Derby in prior years.
We'll get into the Road to the Derby tracker a bit more in the coming weeks by taking a closer look at the changes to the qualifying process.
- The long Thanksgiving weekend features a quartet of Grade 1 races - the Cigar Mile and the Gazelle at the Big A, the Clark at Churchill, and the Matriarch and Hollywood Derby out in Southern California - along with a good selection of Grade 2 and Grade 3 events across the country.
Shackleford is expected to make the final start of his career in the Clark Handicap.
- Some winter racing dates to bear in mind:
Fair Grounds opens on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22nd).
Gulfstream Park opens earlier this year - December 1st.
Tampa Bay Downs open on December 1st.
Churchill's Fall Meet runs through November 27th.
Hollywood runs to December 16th and then opens back up for the summer/spring meet at some point in April. After that... well, that could be it for the historic Los Angeles track.