We're less than a week out until the Breeders' Cup rolls out the purple carpet at Santa Anita Park for the 33rd World Championships. Still plenty of action across the country and around the world and it's all covered in this week's Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud, home of Alternation, Broken Vow and Cowboy Cal.
The action gets underway early with flat and jump racing in Europe, including a strong card at Leopardstown in Ireland, and continues to the U.S. with Closing Day at Keeneland, the final Saturday of the Belmont Park Fall Championship meeting and some action from the Breeders' Cup site.
Here's your primer for the last Saturday in October. Enjoy and good luck.
Newmarket. Race 1. 8:20 a.m. A baker's dozen 2-year-old maiden fillies line up for the opener, including American-bred Raven's Pass filly Zafaranah for Sheikh Hamdan and trainer Roger Varian.
Leopardstown. Race 1. 8:30. Aidan O'Brien sends out four of the 21 entered for opener, 7-furlong maiden for 2-year-old fillies. Who's the best of the group? It might be the Galileo filly Puppetshow, narrowly beaten in debut at Naas.
Newmarket. Race 2. 8:50. Ambrosia, daughter of Frankel who was close sixth in debut Oct. 12 on the all-weather at Kempton, makes grass debut in 7-furlong maiden.
Leopardstown. Race 2. 9:00. Another field of 21 for 2-year-old maiden for colts and geldings, including the Galileo colt Cliffs Of Moher. Ever been to the Cliffs of Moher? We can't recommend it enough.
Wetherby. Race 3. 9:45 a.m. Ballyoptic rides four-race win streak, dating back to February, on the line in $59,000 Bet365 Hurdle.
Wetherby. Race 4. 10:20. Featured event on the card, the $147,000 Bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, features popular 10-year-old gelding Cue Card. He won it last year and it served as a springboard to three Group 1 victories.
Ascot. Race 4. 10:35. A dozen line up for Group 3 Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap, a 3-mile steeplechase worth $147,000.
Leopardstown. Race 5. 10:40. Kentucky-bred filly Queen Anne's Lace takes on fillies and colts in The Tote.com Eyrefield Stakes going 9 furlongs on the grass. Open to 2-year-olds that have not won a Group 1 race, $51,000 race also lures Galilean, Diodorus, Bound and Butterflies from Ballydoyle.
Leopardstown. Race 6. 11:15 a.m. We've said it many times before, love the variety of racing overseas. Consider this heat, the Tote November Handicap going 1 7/8 miles on the grass. Horsemen like it, too, as there's a field of 25 entered. Yes, 25.
Newmarket. Race 7. 11:40. Murad Khan, French-bred colt by Raven's Pass, puts three-race win streak on the line in $54,500 'Hats Off' to Steve Brown Ben Marshall Stakes going 1 mile on the grass.
Belmont Park. Race 1. 12:55. Strong turf maiden on the grass opens final Saturday card of the Fall Championship meet. Oiseau de Guerre couldn't handle Oscar Performance in Grade 3 Pilgrim and is back with maidens. Chad Brown also sends out Concomitant, Todd Pletcher goes with Kahramani, Bill Mott sends out Donwell and Shamsaan ships down from Greentree for Kiaran McLaughlin.
Belmont. Race 3. 1:57. Jimmy Jerkens said Macho Dancer wasn't quite as forward as American Guru, who is still unraced but working steadily, when we stopped in for a Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour at the end of the Saratoga meet. Homebred Macho Uno colt for Stronach Stables makes second start in 6 ½-furlong maiden race.
Laurel Park. Race 4. 2:00. The presidential election is less than two weeks away. GOP backers will be all over Jump For Trump, who is 12-1 and about the same odds as the Republican's best hope for the White House.
Belmont. Race 4. 2:28. Lewis Bay takes on older fillies and mares for the first time in Grade 3 Turnback The Alarm Handicap after second in Grade 1 Mother Goose and Grade 1 Test. Rachel's Temper, winner of Summer Colony and off the board in Grade 1 Beldame, could kick off big stretch for trainer Charlton Baker.
Belmont. Race 5. 3:00. Commend just missed in Quick Call in last start and makes first start in nearly two months in 6-furlong turf allowance for Bill Mott.
Keeneland Race Course. Race 5. 3:18. Dear Elaine ran very well in return from short layoff Oct. 12 and returns in similar spot from inside post for Charlie LoPresti. She could be a fair price with Thrilled again in the field, along with the Steve Asmussen-trained duo of Forecast and Taxable. .
Gulfstream Park West. Race 5. 3:21. Todd Pletcher sends out second-time starter Lemonist, son of Lemon Drop Kid who didn't run terribly in debut on the slop July 31, for the Wertheimer brothers in 1-mile maiden on the grass for 2-year-olds.
Santa Anita Park. Race 1. 3:30. State-breds dash down the hill in allowance opener. In week's time it will be Breeders' Cup Saturday in Arcadia.
Laurel. Race 7. 3:30. Virgo Rising, second in back-to-back starts at Presque Isle and the Meadowlands, among 10 entered for 5 1/2-furlong allowance on the grass.
Belmont. Race 6. 3:32. A few also-rans from Pilgrim and Bourbon line up for $100,000 Awad Stakes for 2-year-olds on the grass.
Finger Lakes. Race 6. 3:48. Chris Progno sends out Broman entry of Shadow Of A Doubt and Shade Seeker, who found the water a bit deep at Belmont Park, in 2-year-old maiden special going 5 1/2 furlongs.
Keeneland. Race 6. 3:51. Ian Wilkes in the midst of strong meet in Lexington and he sends out Giant Payday, disqualified from first in 1-mile maiden at Churchill, in 1 1/16-mile turf maiden for 2-year-olds.
Gulfstream Park West. Race 6. 3:54. Amp'd Up, named Hot As Hades when Eric Guillot hosted us for a Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour in early August, makes his third start and looks to make amends for seventh as favorite on the turf Oct. 14. He's one of nine entered for 6 ½-furlong test on the main track.
Belmont. Race 7. 4:04. Big Handsome ran extremely well in debut, just missing in the mud Sept. 24 for Tony Dutrow, and makes second start going 6 1/2 furlongs.
Parx Racing. Race 8. 4:04. Catsadiva won debut in early August at Saratoga then lost all chance in allowance in late September at Belmont. Tale Of The Cat filly stretches out for Todd Pletcher in 7-furlong allowance.
Gulfstream Park West. Race 7. 4:26. Howell Mountain ran well in grass debut and tries again for Pletcher-Stonestreet.
Woodbine. Race 8. 4:38. Pink Lloyd puts unbeaten mark on the line in restricted $125,000 Overstake Stakes. Son of Old Forester is 3-for-3 for Robert Tiller and makes stakes debut in 7-furlong test.
Keeneland. Race 8. 4:57. Strong allowance race on the grass for fillies and mares. Tough group to sort out, so we'll lean toward La Piba, a winner on the grass at the spring meet for Ignacio Correas.
Laurel. Race 10. 5:00. Top Of Mind just missed in Grade 2 Commonwealth Turf Cup last month at Laurel. Son of Curlin drops into allowance ranks but doesn't get a pass against the likes of Chiropractor, English Minister and Domo Artiegato.
Belmont. Race 9. 5:08. Economic Model, second in Grade 3 Dwyer and Grade 1 King's Bishop in last two starts for Chad Brown, takes on older horses for the first time in Grade 3 Bold Ruler.
Keeneland. Race 9. 5:30. Divining Rod returns to scene of his biggest win - the 2015 Coolmore Lexington Stakes - for Grade 2 Hagyard Fayette Stakes. Noble Bird, who got back on track in softer spot last time at Churchill, stands in the way along with Kasaqui, Prayer For Relief and Iron Fist.
Keeneland. Race 10. 6:03. The book closes on racing in Lexington for 2016 with allowance on the Beard course. That's 7 furlongs and 184 feet kids.
Golden Gate Fields. Race 6. 6:15. Short field of five for $75,000 Pike Place Dancer going 1 mile on the grass. Jerry Hollendorfer, who trained the race's namesake who won the 1996 Kentucky Oaks, sends out heavy favorite Tapped against the Doug O'Neill duo of Simmy's Temple and Noble Dancer.
Santa Anita. Race 7. 6:30. Sonneteer has improved with each start and stretches out a bit more to 1 1/16 miles in 2-year-old maiden that also draws two from Bob Baffert's barn in Sports Reporter and Show Me Da Lute.
Santa Anita. Race 8. 7:00. Graham Motion looks to continue October to remember in Grade 3 Autumn Miss with Danilovna, Dansili filly who won U.S. debut Sept. 22 at Belmont. The locals won't make it easy though, with Belvoir Bay, Nodiac, Barleysugar and Lady Valeur in the field.
Indiana Grand. Race 5. 7:57. Indiana-bred 2-year-old fillies stretch out for $100,000 Miss Indiana. Field of 12 - not counting the two on the also-eligible list - include stakes winners Defining Hope and I Came To Praise and 13 1/2-length Mountaineer winner Mia Valentina.
Indiana Grand. Race 6. 8:25. Ron, Sung and Running Strait, 1-2-3 in the Crown Ambassador, top field for $100,000 Indiana Futurity.
Indiana Grand. Race 7. 8:53. Another big field for Indiana-breds, the $150,000 Frances Slocum attracts She Mabee Wild, Lady Fog Horn and Joyous Lady.
Indiana Grand. Race 8. 9:21. Bucchero, showed speed and faded in Grade 3 Woodford on the grass last time out at Keeneland, back on more friendly ground for $150,000 To Much Coffee. That's not a typo, To Much Coffee was Indiana-bred stakes winner in the 1990s.
Charles Town Races. Race 7. 9:49. Candy Man One, a winner on debut Sept. 30, meets John Barleycorn, who adds blinkers after troubled fourth in only start for Jeff Runco, in $50,000 Tri-State Futurity.