The holiday weekend rolls on and a slightly abbreviated version of The Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud sets the stage for some big stakes action to help distract from Thursday’s monster calorie consumption.
Aqueduct, Churchill Downs, Del Mar and Hawthorne roll out stakes-heavy cards to keep you busy Saturday in between trips to the stores and watching college football. Here’s your primer for Saturday, November 25. Take care and good luck.
Churchill Downs. Race 1. 1:00 p.m. Stars of Tomorrow card starts with 6 1/2-furlong allowance.
Aqueduct. Race 4. 1:20. My Impression and Elysea’s World, second and third last time in the Grade 3 Athenia, meet again in $150,000 Forever Together.
Churchill. Race 2. 1:28. Full field of 12 2-year-old fillies for 1 1/16-mile allowance. Mia d’Oro posted two good seconds this summer then tossed in towel fairly early in 1-mile allowance last month for Steve Asmussen. Daughter of Medaglia d’Oro should appreciate more relaxed trip going two turns.
Aqueduct. Race 5. 1:50. Line Of Departure, colt by Tapit who cost $1.2 million last year, makes debut for Todd Pletcher, Teresa Viola and St. Elias in 6-furlong maiden.
Churchill. Race 3. 1:57. Auburn fans will be all over War Eagle’s Love when she runs in 1-mile allowance a little before the Tigers take on the Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Daughter of Birdstone won her debut at Keeneland, but that was for $30,000 tag.
Aqueduct. Race 6. 2:20. Boule cuts back a bit off second in Belmont allowance in this 1-mile allowance for fillies and mares.
Churchill. Race 4. 2:27. Honey Dont was a favorite around The Saratoga Special offices when he finished second at a big price in debut Aug. 12. He lost two since but returns to the grass for 1 1/8-mile maiden for Bill Mott.
Aqueduct. Race 7. 2:50. Blue Atlas comes into 1-mile allowance off back-to-back scores on the grass going 6 furlongs with state-breds. Daughter of English Channel steps up into open company here for Todd Pletcher.
Aqueduct. Race 8. 3:20. Inaugural running of $125,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship lures Conquest Panthera from Kentucky and Bucchero from Indiana. The latter finished fourth, beaten just a length, in Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and draws outside in this 6-furlong heat.
Churchill. Race 6 3:27. Mia Mischief embarrassed maiden field at Keeneland then finished second after giving up big lead in the stretch in Spendthrift Juvenile Fillies Oct. 29. She stands out in 6 1/2-furlong allowance.
Aqueduct. Race 9. 3:50. The Grade 3 Discovery is one of the last chances for straight 3-year-olds to land a graded stakes victory. True Timber knocked on the door this winter and spring, while Senior Investment looks to add another to score in Grade 3 Lexington at Keeneland. Bonus Points comes off Maryland Million win for Todd Pletcher while Spieth drives into stakes company for the first time.
Churchill. Race 9. 4:57. Keep and eye on Mia Mischief early in the card to get a read on Sultry, one of main contenders in Grade 2 Golden Rod. She’s one of two for Eddie Kenneally, along with Dessert Honesy. Mark Casse counters with Road To Victory while Brad Cox sends out the 3-for-3 Monomy Girl and Kelly’s Humor.
Del Mar. Race 4. 5:00. Air Vice Marshall started his career in Europe with Aidan O’Brien, ventured to New York with Jimmy Jerkens and now begins western sojourn with Doug O’Neill in 1-mile turf allowance.
Churchill. Race 10. 5:27. We’ve always been fans of Oskar Blues, perhaps because we liked his maiden win Aug. 12 at Saratoga or maybe because of the craft beer company by the same name. Take your pick.
Del Mar. Race 5. 5:30. Three from the Comma To The Top Stakes – Top Of The Gun, Irish Freedom and Curlin Rules – take on Breeders’ Cup Classic eighth-place finisher Mubtaahij in Grade 3 Native Diver going 9 furlongs on the main track.
Hawthorne Race Course. Race 4. 5:34. State-bred fillies and mares go 6 furlongs in $100,000 Powerless Handicap.
Churchill. Race 11. 5:56. The winner of the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club will not doubt rank high on many Kentucky Derby watch lists to start next year. Kiaran McLaughlin ships Champagne third Enticed down from New York to take on impressive Keeneland allowance winner Quip and Street Sense winner Gotta Go. And what about Givemeaminit? He’s a maiden still but owns a third in the Grade 1 Hopeful and a fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Del Mar. Race 7. 6:30. Mo Town makes return to stakes competition in Grade 1 Del Mar Derby. Son of Uncle Mo was considered classics contender in the spring before losing his way and then finding a new home on the grass, where he turned in sharp victory in October at Belmont. He takes on good group led by Sharp Samurai, Big Score, Bowies Hero and Channel Maker, they were the first four under the wire in Grade 2 Twilight Derby.
Hawthorne. Race 6. 6:30. The Grade 3 Hawthorne Gold Cup offers unique chance to go 10 furlongs for graded stakes money. Neil Howard ships Eagle from Kentucky looking to get back to winner’s circle after back-to-back losses in Grade 3 Iselin and Grade 3 Lukas Classic. He’s good on his day, provided there’s a little pace.
Golden Gate Fields. Race 7. 6:45. Full field of 14 for Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap. Hard Aces has faced much better in Southern California, including in trio of Grade 1s this year, but must overcome winless mark in three starts on synthetic.
Hawthorne. Race 8. 7:26. More state-breds tangle for $100,000 Lightning Jet Handicap.
Del Mar. Race 9. 7:30. Time for the 2-year-olds in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante. Daddy Is A Legend finished second to Rushing Fall in maiden race at Belmont then easily graduated at Keeneland for George Weaver. She’s been on West Coast for about a month and could be tough against fellow New Yorker shippers Raucous and Data Dependent, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf fifth Fatale Bere and Graham Motion’s Thewayiam.