A memorable Breeders’ Cup World Championships in the books and a full slate of action on tap a week removed from the big two-day extravaganza at Del Mar. The Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud also returns after just a week’s hiatus and we’re ready to roll with plenty on tap.
The day starts overseas as the European jump season starts to wind up just as the American steeplechase campaign comes to a close. There’s graded turf stakes in Kentucky and New York, a graded 2-year-old stakes in California and Ben’s Cat Day in Maryland. South Florida is in the mix, too, with the Sunshine Millions Preview at Gulfstream Park West.
All that and more in the primer for Saturday, November 11. Enjoy, be safe and good luck.
Naas. Race 1. 7:05 a.m. Take notes early and often as maiden hurdlers begin their careers in the opener. Mortal looks immortal after a romp in a Limerick bumper in March.
Naas. Race 2. 7:35. Grade 2 chasers Ball D’Arc and American Tom cast long shadows for the usual players Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins. Ordinary World has a shot.
Naas. Race 3. 8:10. We’ve been loving Ex Patriot since he was a flat horse. He takes on a promising group here.
Naas. Race 4. 8:45. The most high-profile flat convert of the season, the mercurial Pallasator, makes his hurdle debut here for Gordon Elliott and Qatar Racing. Yes, that Qatar Racing.
Wincanton. Race 5. 9:25. Modus beat two runners in his chase debut, he’s got the same assignment here, although, Kalondra will be far tougher than Midnight Target. If you want to know where the money’s going, call our sorely missed friend, Richard Hutchinson.
Doncaster. Race 6. 9:40. Promising 3-year-old fillies Time Chaser and Vintage Folly clash in this listed contest going 10 furlongs. Indulged could indulge as well.
Aintree. Race 5. 9:50. As the American jump season fades away, the European season begins to come to life. Proper stayers Uknowhatimeanharry and Top Notch offer an early-season scrum in this three-horse affair.
Wincanton. Race 5. 10:00. Charbel steps back a notch from chasing to hurdling, he could win the Elite Hurdle.
Doncaster. Race 7: 10:15. An intriguing 23-horse handicap here, as some jumpers tune up and some solid flat horses look for one more check before calling it a year. We’re Wild Hacked fans around here.
Wincanton. Race 6. 10:35. No hard feelings. Paddy Brennan lost the ride on Cue Card, after they fell for the third time. He keeps the ride on Theatre Guide who gets his season started in the Badger Ales Trophy Chase.
Wincanton. Race 7. 11:10. Cheltenham clues on offer in the bumper. Follow the money.
Laurel Park. Race 1. Noon. Ben’s Cat Day starts with maiden claimer on the grass.
Laurel. Race 2. 12:30. First stakes of the day is $75,000 Geisha going 1 mile. My Magician exits runner-up in Maryland Million Distaff behind Crabcakes, who is not entered.
Gulfstream Park West. Race 2. 12:35. The first of eight Florida-bred stakes is the $75,000 Juvenile Fillies Sprint going 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt.
Woodbine. Race 1. 1:00. Can’t be many more of these opportunities remaining in Toronto – 6-furlong maiden on the grass for 2-year-olds. Mark Casse is well on his way to another Sovereign Award and he sends out formidable uncoupled entry of Harper P M and Thunder Ride.
Gulfstream Park West. Race 3. 1:05. Enterprising looks like standout in $75,000 Millions Turf Preview off his last three starts in the Grade 1 Canadian International, Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup and Grade 1 Arlington Million.
Woodbine. Race 2. 1:32. Strong allowance going 7 furlongs on the synthetic early on the card.
Gulfstream Park West. Race 4. 1:35. Ralph Nicks, still riding high from Caledonia Road’s win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, looks to add another victory in the $75,000 Juvenile Sprint with first-out winner Wildcat’s Legacy.
Aqueduct. Race 4. 1:47. More Than A Saint, a son of More Than Ready who cost $190,000 last summer at Saratoga, makes debut in 6-furlong state-bred maiden on the grass for Brad Cox. Big field also includes Collective Effort, a Mission Impazible colt who is stakes placed twice on the dirt making his turf debut.
Laurel. Race 5. 2:00. Time for the 2-year-olds. The $100,000 Smart Halo for fillies attracts Take Charge Paula, Pacific Gale and Tarawa, who exit graded stakes races, and Johozacat, Caught Dream’n, Frigid Sister and Gibby. Good race.
Gulfstream Park West. Race 5. 2:05. Nauti Boy, who we got to know a little bit this past summer at Saratoga before the Grade 3 Sanford and Grade 3 With Anticipation, makes first start for Lilli Kurtinecz in $75,000 Juvenile Turf.
Aqueduct. Race 5. 2:17. Not many horses left in Saratoga these days, but Mascarello is one for Jim Bond. A winner for $40,000 tag last time, he steps back into state-bred allowance company in 1-mile turf test.
Churchill Downs. Race 4. 2:30. Early allowance on the card could pass for small stakes with Big Changes, Oak Brook, Revved Up, Zambian and Flashy Chelsey in the field.
Laurel. Race 6. 2:30. El Areeb, once considered a top classics contender, makes return in $100,000 City of Laurel going 7 furlongs. Winner of the Grade 3 Jerome and Grade 3 Withers last winner for Cal Lynch, son of Exchange Rate suffered a knee injury when third in the Grade 3 Gotham and went to the sidelines. He faces Tale Of Silence, close fourth in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga; stakes winner No Dozing and last out winner Honor The Fleet.
Gulfstream Park West. Race 6. 2:35. Quijote finished fifth in Imperial Hint’s Grade 3 Smile Sprint and looks tough off the layoff in $75,000 Millions Sprint Preview.
Aqueduct. Race 6. 2:47. Keep an eye on races like this, a 7-furlong maiden on the main track for 2-year-olds. Chad Brown sends out two in Allured and Variant Perception, who both raced in same Aug. 19 maiden race at Saratoga. Shug McGaughey entered a pair – Personal Time and On Patrol – while Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin and Steve Asmussen send out first-time starters.
Laurel. Race 7. 3:00. Bellavais returns to the main track – where she finished second in off-the-turf stakes at Belmont in June – and makes Maryland debut in $100,000 Safely Kept for Jimmy Toner. She’s 20-1 on the line against the likes of Your Love, Shimmering Aspen, Dawn The Destroyer and Ms. Locust Point.
Del Mar. Race 1. 3:30. Ah, old Del Mar. A week removed from a successful Breeders’ Cup from just about every measure, Bing Crosby’s place gets its Saturday card started with filly and mare Cal-bred maiden on the grass.
Laurel. Race 8. 3:30. Kowboy Karma, Barry Lee and A Different Style stand out in short field for $100,000 James F. Lewis for 2-year-olds going 6 furlongs. Kowboy Karma finished fourth, beaten 3 ¾ lengths by Firenze Fire and less than that by eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Good Magic, last time in the Grade 1 Champagne for Larry Jones.
Churchill. Race 6. 3:36. Remember Tap To It? She chased Rachel’s Valentina in the Grade 1 Spinaway before a sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies as a 2-year-old in 2015, made one start at Gulfstream early in 3-year-old season then went to the shelf. Daughter of Tapit makes first start in more than 20 months in 6 1/2-furlong allowance.
Gulfstream Park West. Race 8. 3:36. Big field of 12 for the $75,000 Millions Distaff going 7 furlongs on the main track. Who’s The Lady broke her maiden at GPW last fall and should appreciate the return to state-bred ranks at a good price.
Aqueduct. Race 8. 3:47. Full field for the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap going 11 furlongs on the grass. Get Jets returns to open company after back-to-back state-bred stakes wins. Oscar Nominated chased runaway winner Bullards Alley when second in the Grade 1 Canadian International last time. Hunter O’Riley is no doubt a player if he gets pace.
Laurel. Race 9. 4:00. Page McKenney carries the flag for the locals against shippers Watershed, Securitiz, Fear The Cowboy and Just Call Kenny in $100,000 Richard W. Small.
Churchill. Race 7. 4:06. Deadline and Mahvelous Kitten exit second and third, respectively, behind impressive Shug McGaughey firster Subtle Step in turf maiden race at Keeneland. They should factor in this 1-mile maiden on the grass, along iwht Love Mo, Pretty At War and Tapitai.
Gulfstream Park West. Race 9. 4:06. The $75,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf Preview features two favorites – Homemade Salsa and Gift Of Glory – who come out of off-the-turf races in their most recent starts.
Woodbine. Race 7. 4:08. Another good turf allowance, this one going 1 1/16 miles for older fillies and mares. You’re Mine hopefully gets the chance to run on the grass after two strong races in off-the-turf events for Malcolm Pierce and Pin Oak Stable.
Gulfstream Park West. Race 10. 4:37. Richard The Great, who tried graded company last time in Keeneland’s Grade 2 Phoenix, stretches out for the first time in $75,000 Millions Classic Preview. Mr. Jordan, Zipping, Red Crescent and Jaiden’s Best are also in the mix in the day’s feature.
Woodbine. Race 8. 4:40. The $125,000 Jamemed Lovely. We dug into the history books for this one, named for the filly who beat the boys in the 1967 Queen’s Plate. Ghostly Presence hasn’t tried that route yet, but daughter of Ghostzapper has been successful in stakes competition. She comes in off back-to-back seconds going longer for Roger Attfield and should be tough in rematch with Mythical Mission.
Churchill. Race 9. 5:06. I’m A Lucky Guy, 3-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway out of champion Blind Luck, makes debut in 1 1/16-mile maiden for owner-breeder Mark Dedomenico (who raced Blind Luck) and Hall of Famer Jack Van Berg.
Woodbine. Race 9. 5:12. Admiralty Pier was unlucky to catch sloppy track at Keeneland when a close fourth in off-the-turf Grade 3 Bourbon last time. He’s back in Canada for first start on synthetic in 7-furlong allowance for Barbara Minshall.
Del Mar. Race 5. 5:30. Mourinho, son of Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver named for the Manchester United boss, looks to turn the tables on Beautiful Shot in the Grade 3 Bob Hope. Beautiful Shot beat him in the Speakeasy last month at Santa Anita and they both need to contend with Run Away, winner of the Grade 2 Best Pal and third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity this past summer.
Churchill. Race 10. 5:36. Mr. Misunderstood is heavy favorite on the early line for Grade 3 Jefferson Cup and rightly so. Son of Archarcharch comes in on three-race win streak, including the Jefferson Cup at Churchill in September. Possible upsetter? How about Tiz A Slam, coming in from Woodbine for Roger Attfield.
Turf Paradise. Race 7. 5:40. Field of nine for the $30,000 Luke Kruytbosch, named for the late great announcer who was an even better guy.
Del Mar. Race 7. 6:30. Six-furlong maiden features another 2-year-old named for a coach. Pitino, son of Union Rags named for the ousted Louisville men’s basketball coach, makes debut for Doug O’Neill.
Del Mar. Race 8. 7:00. Peter Miller, who took down the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint exacta with Stormy Liberal and Richard’s Boy, goes for this 5-furlong turf allowance with Painting Corners.
Charles Town Races. Race 8. 10:19. The $50,000 A Huevo, named for the ill-fated winner of the Grade 1 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash in 2003. Five who ran on West Virginia Breeders Classics card – Charitable Annuity, North Atlantic, Weekend Liberty, Ello Govna and Royal Blue – are in the field. Charitable Annuity won the headline event that night, going the same 1 1/8-mile trip.