Just when you thought things might slow down a bit - with the Breeders' Cup two weeks in the books and Thanksgiving right around the corner - comes the third Saturday in November. Nearly 30 stakes are on tap in North America, including loaded cards at Laurel Park and Delta Downs, and we've got it covered in Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud.
Delta Downs runs its two signature events, the $1 million Grade 3 Jackpot and the $400,000 Grade 3 Princess, on a card that features six other stakes.
Tip of the hat to the racing office at the Maryland Jockey Club for putting together the Fall Festival of Racing at Laurel. The day features seven stakes worth $825,000, including the Grade 3 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash.
It's also Opening Day at Fair Grounds. Seems strange to write that and it not be the former traditional Thanksgiving Day opener. Oh well, times change.
We didn't even mention the stakes at Aqueduct, Churchill Downs and Del Mar, but we do in this week's primer. Good luck and enjoy.
Laurel Park. Race 2. 12:26. First of seven stakes on the card is the $100,000 Smart Halo for 2-year-old fillies. The three main contenders are on the outside, Perfect Wife, Riley's Choice and Tequilita.
Laurel. Race 4. 1:21. Rockshaw, a son of Maclean's Music described by Ron Moquett in his Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour as a "tank," ships from Kentucky for $100,000 James F. Lewis III. Cal Lynch carried flag for the locals with El Areeb, a $340,000 Exchange Rate colt and impressive winner Oct. 15 at track and trip.
Aqueduct. Race 4. 1:47. Condo Prince moves to the turf after three straight seconds sprinting on the main track. Son of Paddy O'Prado looks tough in 1-mile grass maiden.
Laurel. Race 5. 1:48. Monster field of 14 for $100,000 Richard W. Small, including the Todd Pletcher-trained Tommy Macho and Woodbine shipper Ami's Holiday.
Laurel. Race 6. 2:14. Another full field of 14 for $100,000 Safely Kept, a group led by Grade 2 Raven Run and Grade 3 Victory Ride runner-up Malibu Stacy and Kelsocait.
Aqueduct. Race 5. 2:17. Full field of 12 New York-breds for $100,000 Notebook going 6 furlongs.
Laurel. Race 7. 2:41. Hot Seat wades into deeper water after back-to-back dominating victories at Parx for Jason Servis. Son of Unbridled's Song takes on 13 opponents in $100,000 City of Laurel.
Delta Downs. Race 1. 2:45. Jackpot Day gets started with 2-year-old maiden for state-breds going 7 furlongs. That's two turns down in Vinton.
Aqueduct. Race 6. 2:47. Not many more chances to run on the grass on the New York circuit. Armoire takes on older fillies and mares after good win in Keeneland allowance for Arnaud Delacour in her last start.
Laurel. Race 8. 3:08. Two-turn grass allowance looks like a stakes with Maryland Million Turf winner Phlash Phelps, stakes winner Chamois and ultra-consistent English Minister in the field.
Churchill Downs. Race 6. 3:30. Miss Medaglia, filly by Medaglia d'Oro out of Mr. Prospector daughter of Missy's Mirage, makes debut for Charles Fipke and Dallas Stewart in 6 1/2-furlong maiden race.
Laurel. Race 9. 3:35. Interesting group for featured $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash. Ivan Fallunovalot rides three-race win streak, including back-to-back at Remington Park. Weekend Hideaway, entered main-track only in the Artie Schiller at Aqueduct, always runs his race. X Y Jet looks to bounce back from Grade 1 Vosburgh, which proved a tough spot for a comeback, while Stallwalkin' Dude bids for second straight graded score in Grade 3 sprint.
Woodbine. Race 6. 3:38. Just Be Kind and Let It Ride Mom, 1-2 in Ontario Debutante and beaten in Grade 1 Mazarine, meet again in $125,000 Glorious Song.
Delta. Race 3. 3:43. Bret Calhoun sends out Mizzen Mast filly Jazz Lady, second in Bolton Landing at Saratoga this summer, against other state-bred 2-year-old fillies in $150,000 Louisiana Jewel.
Aqueduct. Race 8. 3:47. Jay Gatsby has run as well as a horse can run in his last three starts without winning. Second in three straight stakes, son of Giant's Causeway looks good in $150,000 Artie Schiller against the likes of Kharafa, Blacktype, King Kreesa, Long On Value and familiar foe Heart To Heart.
Churchill. Race 7. 4:00. Older horses stretch out to 11 furlongs for allowance on the grass.
Fair Grounds. Race 1. 4:00. Racing gets underway in New Orleans with 6-furlong maiden for 2-year-old Louisiana-bred fillies.
Delta. Race 4. 4:13. Another big purse for $250,000 Delta Mile. Shippers make up the whole field, including Rise Up, Fear The Cowboy, Great Minds and Hesinfront.
Churchill. Race 8. 4:30. Dazzling Gem's comeback in Keeneland allowance didn't go as planned and connections try again in 1 1/16-mile allowance. Cherry Wine, second in Exaggerator's Preakness, went off the tracks in three subsequent starts and makes first out since Aug. 13 in Grade 1 Secretariat.
Del Mar. Race 3. 4:30. Juddmonte Farms and Bob Baffert, who teamed to win the Breeders' Cup Classic with Arrogate, send out Sidney's Candy first-time starter Fielder in 6 1/2-furlong maiden.
Laurel. Race 11. 4:35. The last of the stakes, the $75,000 Geisha for older fillies and mares going 1 mile on the main track. Rematch of Rockin Jojo, Cee Bee Gee Bee, Lovable Lady and Scip's Sonata, first three from Maryland Million Distaff.
Woodbine. Race 8. 4:40. Top Decile, second in two Grade 1s as a 2-year-old in 2014, makes first graded stakes appearance since in Grade 2 Bessarabian. She's in tough against Southern Ring, Midnight Miley, River Maid and Minks Aprise.
Delta. Race 5. 4:43. The Truth Or Else beat a better field at Keeneland than he'll see in restricted Sam's Town Stakes going 7 furlongs.
Churchill. Race 9. 5:00. Holy Boss form features appearances in nine straight graded stakes. The $80,000 Bet On Sunshine looks like a Grade 3 with Alsvid, W. B. Smudge, Den's Legacy, Schivarelli and Island Town in the field.
Del Mar. Race 4. 5:00. Ten entered for 1-mile maiden on the grass, including Tiznow firster Irap and Mizzen Mast second-timer Avalanche.
Fair Grounds. Race 3. 5:12. Theoryintopractice should find drop from open company and restricted stakes into state-bred maiden race to his liking.
Delta. Race 6. 5:15. Co-featured Grade 3 Delta Downs Princess attracts Jilly and Shane's Girlfriend from California, Dude Fantasy and Cajun Delta Dawn from Florida and Caroline Test and Golden Mischief from Kentucky.
Churchill. Race 10. 5:30. Baker's dozen entered for Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap. Don't sleep on The Tea Cups, New York-bred daughter of Hard Spun for Jeremiah Englehart, or Salama for Charlie LoPresti.
Del Mar. Race 5. 5:30. California Diamond a bit of a throwback by today's standards with seven starts - including five wins - and he goes in Grade 3 Bob Hope against small field led by impressive Bob Baffert debut winner Mastery.
Fair Grounds. Race 4. 5:44. The $50,000 Mr. Sulu, a 1-mile stakes for Louisiana-breds.
Delta. Race 7. 5:45. Gunnevera provided an emotional moment for Antonio Sano winning the Grade 2 Saratoga Special and son of Dialed In looks to serve up an even bigger one in $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot. Javier Castellano rode at Saratoga and rides again in Grade 3 stakes going 1 1/16 miles. No cakewalk though against the likes of Thirstforlife and Our Stormin Norman from Mark Casse's barn and Dangerfield and Hot Sean from California.
Delta. Race 8. 6:15. The stakes aren't done yet, with the $150,000 Louisiana Legacy for 2-year-old colts and geldings.
Fair Grounds. Race 5. 6:16. Michael Stidham gets to work on defending his training title with Jockamo's Song in $50,000 Heitai Stakes for Louisiana-breds going 6 furlongs.
Delta. Race 9. 6:45. Kathballu, close in several stakes in her career, fits conditions of $75,000 Orleans Stakes for fillies and mares which have never won a stakes.
Fair Grounds. Race 6. 6:48. The stakes keep coming, this the $50,000 Happy Ticket for state-bred fillies and mares.
Delta. Race 10. 7:15. Go ahead, try and separate Savings Account, Steel Cut and Danzatrice in $200,000 Treasure Chest.