Happy Thanksgiving racing fans and horseman. The holiday weekend always packs a punch and since we didn’t want to skip over some quality racing we present a special edition of the primer for Thursday and Friday.
The somewhat abbreviated all-stakes edition of The Special includes Thursday’s trio of events from Aqueduct, two graded races from Churchill Downs and the Opening Day feature at Fair Grounds. Friday is led by the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill and another three stakes from Aqueduct. The Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup was to be Friday but after racing was called off for Thursday it moved to Sunday’s Closing Day program at Del Mar.
Here’s your primer for Thursday, Nov. 28 and Friday, Nov. 29. See you back later in the week for The Saturday Special. Be safe and good luck.
Aqueduct. Race 5. 1:50 p.m. Two-year-olds in spotlight for opening stakes, the $100,000 Central Park at 1 1/16 miles on the grass. A dozen plus others on the AE list and it looks like it’s between Homeland, Chapalu, Stanhope and Pixelate. We’ll go with the New York-bred American Pharoah colt Homeland for Bill Mott.
Aqueduct. Race 7. 2:50. The Grade Fall Highweight Handicap, a Thanksgiving fixture in New York. Firenze Fire carries top weight of 134 pounds with Recruiting Ready right behind at 132.
Aqueduct. Race 8. 3:20. Back to the grass for the $150,000 Winter Memories Stakes. Another full field of 3-year-old fillies led by Sorrentina Lemon, Tuned, Nay Lady Nay, Shelter Island and Feel Glorious.
Churchill Downs. Race 9. 3:24. The Grade 2 Falls City Handicap. Go Google Yourself and Mylady Curlin fight right in spots like this, while Ratajowski steps into open company for the first time off victory in the Empire Distaff over New York-breds last time out.
Fair Grounds. Race 7. 4:08. Older horses sprint 6 furlongs in $100,000 Thanksgiving Classic. Remember Sonic Mule? Formerly with Todd Pletcher and a stakes winner at 2 and 3, now 5-year-old son of Distorted Humor makes first start for Jack Sisterson. He’ll have a tall order with fellow Kentucky shippers Bobby’s Wicked One and Wilbo in the field.
Churchill. Race 11. 4:22. Starship Jubilee, winner of Grade 1 E. P. Taylor last time out, ventures south of the border again for Kevin Attard in the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap. She’s 3-for-6 on the season with close beats in her losses.
Aqueduct. Race 5. 1:48 p.m. Andina Del Sur, winner of the Violet at Monmouth and third in the Grade 3 Athenia in her last two, meets Sweet Bye And Bye and Theodora B. in the $150,000 Forever Together Stakes for older females on the grass.
Aqueduct. Race 8. 3:15. Not many two-turn stakes for 3-year-old fillies left on the season. The Grade 3 Comely offers that opportunity and looks like a good spot for Gold Standard to win her first stakes.
Aqueduct. Race 9. 3:44. Back to the grass and two turns for the $150,000 Gio Ponti Stakes for 3-year-olds. Halladay always runs his race and he’ll need to against solid group that includes Grade 3 Pilgrim winner Forty Under coming off the layoff, Osage Moon, Proliferate and Kadar.
Churchill. Race 9. 4:57. Nay Lady Nay, entered Friday at Aqueduct, among the 3-year-old fillies in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere at 1 1/16 miles on the grass. If she goes she’ll be tough against stablemate New And Improved, Winter Sunset, Amandre, Winning Envelope, The Mackem Bullet and Delta’s Kingdom.
Churchill. Race 11. 5:56. The final Grade 1 of the year under the twin spires, the $600,000 Clark Handicap brings together Tom’s d’Etat, Owendale, Seeking The Soul, Snapper Sinclair, Mr. Buff and the comebacking Bravazo. Tom’s d’Etat ran lights out in the Grade 2 Fayette at Keeneland and fourth in Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga. Seeking The Soul and Owendale exit the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where they finished sixth and 10th, respectively. And Bravazo, he hasn’t been out since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup back in late January. Could it be D. Wayne off the bench?
Golden Gate. Race 7. 6:45. Misirlou, winner of three of four for Steve Specht, looks good from the outside in $50,000 Golden Gate Debutante. No Cover Charge might also appreciate return to the main track and cutback to 6 furlongs off fourth in 1-mile stakes last time out.