Has it been a week already? Time flies. Keeneland and Oaklawn Park offer two last two big stones across the Triple Crown river. Strong cards at both places, as well as quality racing around the world. Here is your Saturday Special for April 12.
Newbury. Second Race. 8:50 a.m. Four-year-old filly Astonishing takes on the boys in the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes, going a mile and a half on the turf.
Ayr. Second Race. 9:05. Riverdee’s Valdez aims to get back to his winning ways in the Future Champions Novices’ Chase. He’s 4/5 on the morning line while facing four rivals and stretching out to 2 1/2 miles.
Newbury. Third Race. 9:20. Group 3 for 3-year-old fillies. American-bred J Wonder for Andrew Rosen and Brian Meehan makes her first start since August.
Ayr. Third Race. 9:40. Nicky Henderson puts a hood on My Tent Or Yours, trying to settle the hard-pulling hurdler. Second in the Champion Hurdle, he’s even-money in the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle.
Newbury. Fourth Race. 9:55. The Greenham Stakes.
Navan. Fourth Race. 10:35. Promising 3-year-olds from the likes of Bolger, O’Brien and Oxx clash in the Group 3 contest.
Ayr. Fifth Race. 10:50. Lose your rider early in the Grand National? Next stop, the Coral Scottish Grand National for 15-time winner Tidal Bay. He takes on 29 rivals.
Woodbine. First Race. 1:00 p.m. The return of live action. Save us a seat for the Valedictory in December.
Keeneland. Second Race. 1:05. Good So Far, a 90,000-pound purchase at Tattersalls December, makes American debut for Christophe Clement. The Juddmonte-bred daughter of Empire Maker won once in six starts in France. She should love America.
Aqueduct. First Race. 1:20. Trainer Cathal Lynch travels north from Parx, he aims at the first with Prohibition, a $7,500 claim last fall. He’s gone 4-for-5 since the move. Lynch also runs Calamondin, a 10-length winner of his latest, in the allowance feature.
Tampa Bay Downs. Third Race. 1:43. Nothing like a maiden turf race for fillies and mares at Tampa. Dellarobia, a $575,000 purchase last year, rates a long look. Rachel Halden unveils Nash’s Joy, a homebred daughter of Kitten’s Joy for Chiefswood.
Parx. Fourth Race. 1:46. Robert La Penta and Chad Brown plunder Parx again, this time with 0-for-4 Engine.
Keeneland. Seventh Race. 3:40. The Commonwealth at 7 furlongs on the Polytrack. Veteran Laugh Track, beaten just a neck in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last year, draws the rail while nine-time winner Longhunter draws the 7 post.
Calder. Seventh Race. 4:00. The Calder Oaks. Trainer John Servis tries to erase a loss in the Gulfstream Park Oaks March 29 with three-time winner Joint Return. Todd Pletcher counters with Fierce Boots. Her Special Way is 2-for-2 since joining Bill White’s Calder-based barn.
Gulfstream Park. Sixth Race. 4:00. Fast Anna, a 3-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro out of Breeders’ Cup winner Dreaming of Anna, makes his debut for owner/breeder Frank Calabrese and trainer Kathy Ritvo.
Keeneland. Eighth Race. 4:11. World traveler Havelock returns to defend his title in the Shakertown. Potential world traveler Ancil preps for a potential Royal Ascot tilt this summer.
Golden Gate Fields. Second Race. 4:15. Grade 3 winner Black Spirit, winless since taking the Dubai Duty Free Arc Trial at Newbury in 2012, slides down the ladder, entered for a $20,000 tag on the turf.
Oaklawn Park. Seventh Race. 4:35. Maidens go two turns. Tab for later.
Keeneland. Ninth Race. 4:42. The Madison. Six-time winner Judy The Beauty seeks her first Grade 1 score for Wesley Ward.
Pimlico. Ninth Race. 4:55. Kennesaw Mountain and Stolen Love square off again, the former aims at third straight for Dale Capuano.
Gulfstream Park. Eighth Race. 5:02. The Hollywood Beach. Classic Point tries to snap a seven-race losing streak that includes two hard-fought neck losses in stakes, for The Chief. Vuiton makes her debut for trainer Eddie Kenneally after winning four times for trainer Steve Asmussen last year.
Oaklawn Park. Eighth Race. 5:10. Three-year-olds build their careers in 1-mile stakes.
Keeneland. Tenth Race. 5:13. The hits just keep on coming. Wow, what a card at Keeneland. Fillies and mares clash in the Jenny Wiley. Stephanie’s Kitten makes her first start for Chad Brown after an amazing seven-win docket with trainer Wayne Catalano. Come on Kurt Becker…Kitten’s Point, Stephanie’s Kitten, Emotional Kitten break from the inside three posts.
Santa Anita. Fifth Race. 5:30. Irish-bred of the Day. Macaabra (Ire) goes for fourth career victory, in the Las Cienegas.
Gulfstream Park. Ninth Race. 5:33. Maryland-bred Arch Street makes his American debut after finishing off the board in two starts in Ireland. Terri Pompay puts blinkers on Aheadofthecurve.
Keeneland. Eleventh Race. 5:45. Toyota Blue Grass. Bobby’s Kitten makes first start on synthetic for Ramseys, Brown and Castellano. Come on Coastline, let’s get Stew Elliott back in the Derby. Fourteen with one on the also-eligible list and we say goodbye to Polytrack and say hello to dirt next year. Oh boy, I can see Sinister Minister now.
Oaklawn Park. Ninth Race. 5:49. Bob Baffert and Gary Stevens team up with Jojo Warrior, a debut winner at Del Mar in September and a Triple Crown nominee in the sprint stakes. Wesley Ward counters with undefeated Sweetmarys Success.
Santa Anita. Sixth Race. 6:00. Hello, America. Lolo El Canonera, a runaway winner of his debut at Monterrico in Peru. Son of Street Cry makes his first start in America for trainer Peter Miller and owner Dona Licha.
Keeneland. 12th Race. 6:17. Nine furlongs on the turf, Flaxman’s Bravodino makes debut for Graham Motion. Perfect Timber, second in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer last year, returns for Roger Attfield. We’ll say it again, wow, what a race.
Oaklawn Park. 10th Race. 6:27. Will Take Charge and Moreno clash again. A lot of water under the bridge (current through the chord?) since last year’s Travers. Hard to fault Golden Lad for Pletcher and Stevens, winner of his last four.
Santa Anita. Eighth Race. 7:00. Five-time winner Wine Police returns from Sunland Park in the Potrero Grande. Wild Dude and Big Macher guard the cellar.
Oaklawn Park. 11th Race. 7:07. Any stars? Tapiture, Ride On Curlin, Bayern, Strong Mandate…the Arkansas Derby.
Charles Town. Eighth Race. 10:11. Don’t envy the announcer when Dangerous Vixen, Red Vixen, Wildcat Honey and Wildcat Appeal clash in the allowance feature.