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Weekend Stakes Action (9/3-9/6)

As we edge closer to the end of summer we also head into the final days of the 2010 Saratoga and Del Mar meets.   It's a long holiday weekend which means many tracks around the country are using the weekend as an opportunity to showcase some great racing action. Here's a snap shot of the graded stakes action around the country the next few days.

UPDATED: The weekend gets a bit more enticing for Pick 6 players as Del Mar has a $1.6 million carryover into Saturday's card, a record for the track.  The Daily Racing Form estimates that the total pool could grow to over $4 million.  

Date

Race

Gr.

Track

Division

Dist.

Surf.

9/3/2010

With Anticipation Stakes

3

Saratoga

Juvenile Turf

9.0

Turf

9/4/2010

Darley Debutante

1

Del Mar

Juvenile Fillies

7.0

Poly

9/4/2010

Forego Stakes

1

Saratoga

Sprint

7.0

Dirt

9/4/2010

Tattersalls Million

1

Leopardstown

Turf

10.0

Turf

9/4/2010

Woodward Stakes

1

Saratoga

Classic

9.0

Dirt

9/4/2010

Sapling Stakes

3

Monmouth

Juvenile

6.0

Dirt

9/4/2010

Seaway Stakes

3

Woodbine

F&M Sprint

7.0

Poly

9/4/2010

Washington Park Hcp.

3

Arlington

Classic

9.5

Poly

9/5/2010

Spinaway Stakes

1

Saratoga

Juvenile Fillies

7.0

Dirt

9/5/2010

Del Mar Derby

2

Del Mar

Mile

9.0

Turf

9/5/2010

Red Bank Stakes

3

Monmouth

Mile

8.0

Turf

9/5/2010

Saranac Stakes

3

Saratoga

Mile

9.5

Turf

9/6/2010

Hopeful Stakes

1

Saratoga

Juvenile

7.0

Dirt

9/6/2010

Palomar Hcp.

2

Del Mar

F&M Turf

8.5

Turf

9/6/2010

Glens Falls Hcp.

3

Saratoga

F&M Turf

11.0

Turf

9/8/2010

Del Mar Futurity

1

Del Mar

Juvenile

7.0

Poly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some thoughts below the jump...

 

  • Five graded stakes dot the North American landscape this weekend with an Irish Group 1 race, the Tattersalls Million (a "Win and You're In" in the Turf division) taking place at Leopardstown.  Six of the graded races this weekend involve juveniles: three for the colts, two for the fillies, and one on the lawn.
  • The Del Mar Futurity might be more of a prep race for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf than the Juvenile given the fact that the Juvenile will be run on a traditional dirt surface this year.  At the very least, we should see the horses that perform well in the Futurity cross-entered in each race.
  • The Washington Park Handicap is a "Win and You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Classic.  While the Washington Park has been an important race in the Chicago area for years (ever since its inaugural running in 1926), it's a stretch to call it an important prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic.  This year's race drew a field of seven, led by Giant Oak with not a whole hell of a lot behind him.  Last year's winner, Gran Estreno (ARG), is back for seconds but the rest of the field is made up of allowance class horses that occasionally stick there hooves into Grade 3 action.  If the winner of this race were to move on to the Classic he'd likely be one of the longest shots on the board.
  • The Del Mar Derby could turn into an absolute laugher on Sunday as five colts and geldings decided to challenge Twirling Candy, one of the more impressive three year olds at Del Mar this summer.  He and his stablemate, Sidney's Candy, were visually impressive in winning their debut efforts on the grass earlier in the meet and now Twirling Candy gets a shot at graded stakes company...although you could argue that this field is "graded" in name only.  The mile and an eighth distance should be absolutely perfect for Twirling Candy as his high cruising speed allows him to employ a pressing style on the front end. 
  • If you don't want to do any handicapping but want to place a bet on the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga on Sunday, just place a bet on trainer Todd Pletcher since he trains four of the eight juvenile fillies in this field. 

    I don't know if anyone else feels the same way, but when I look at a race for juvenile fillies it's almost always a throw your arms in the air moment as it seems that every filly always has the exact same running line: gate to wire for a six furlong maiden win.  This year's Spinaway, however, seems a bit different as the field is littered with fillies that have already demonstrated an ability to sit off the pace and win.  In fact, there is enough off the pace types in this race that I think I'll probably go in the direction of the pure speed, 1-Stopspendingmaria (7/1), one of the Pletcher trainees that has shown a big-time ability to set quick fractions in her previous races.  Her Schuylerville effort was pretty dull after a quick opening quarter but that was over a sloppy and sealed track.
  • Saturday's Darley Debutant at Del Mar is the other Grade 1 race for juvenile fillies this weekend, this one featuring a full field of twelve very evenly matched fillies.  Doug O'Neill's 2-Wickedly Perfect makes a lot of sense in this spot due to her win over the surface in the Grade 3 Sorrento in early August, but it really wouldn't be a surprise if any of these fillies won this race.
  • When the California tracks first switched from dirt to synthetics there was an article in one of the racing publications about trainer Vladimir Cerin and his practice of spraying PAM on the shoes of his horses prior to the race.  Here's a passage from an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune article about Cerin (Student earns ‘A'):

    Cerin, 52, a native of Croatia who came to California by way of Canada and a thoroughbred trainer for 26 years, is a staunch proponent of Polytrack, calling it "the best thing we've ever done for racing." He knows the tricks of the trade regarding the stuff.

    "This surface can stick to their hooves, so we spray them with Pam (no-stick cooking spray) before every race," Cerin said. "I do it with all my horses."

    There must be something to this PAM stuff as Cerin has hit at a 21% clip in all races over the synthetic surface at Del Mar with a 46% in-the-money rate and a healthy $3.01 ROI.  His numbers on the Del Mar turf course, or the old dirt main track, are noticeably lower which supports the notion that Cerin is truly a synthetic trainer. 

    In Saturday's Del Mar Debutante, 1-She'll Heir is trained by Vladimir Cerin.