Proper jump racing at Kelso and Newbury and a belter of a card at Gulfstream Park that includes the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. Who do you like? In between, you have it all – start in England and finish in West Virginia, here’s your Saturday Special.
Newbury. Race 2. 9:05. A useful and successful initiative, the veterans’ handicap chaser division is going strong with 12 old friends lining up for $38,500. You’ll know the names – The Last Samuri, Joe Farrell, Houblon Des Obeaux, Theatre Guide. Legends.
Kelso. Race 2. 9:15. Of all the races being run today, of all the horses and all the horsemen competing today, root for Tonto’s Spirit in this novice chase. The nine-time winner goes out for trainer Ken Slack, who died Thursday. The 51-year-old trainer stitched a colorful patch in racing’s quilt.
Newbury. Race 3. 9:40. Sixteen converge for the Grade 3 Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase. If Valdez wins, the beer is on us – for the rest of the year.
Kelso. Race 3. 9:45. Kelso was miffed that more horsemen didn’t support its strong purses, well, who wants to go to Kelso to take on Black Corton in the Premier Chase? Four others to be exact. The 13-time winner shoots a long shadow here.
Doncaster. Race 3. 10:00. How about this streak? Bonza Girl, representing trainer Jeremy Scott, seeks her sixth career win in the listed mares novice hurdle. We’ve always had a crush on Shantung.
Kelso. Race 4. 10:15. Rouge Vif hit our tracker a while ago, the 5-year-old could add his biggest accolade here in the Grade 2 Premier Kelso Novices’ Chase.
Navan. Race 4. 10:25. The Cheltenham lull has begun. Just four line up for this Grade 3 novice chase. Duca De Thaix and Jetz look like standouts.
Doncaster. Race 4. 10:35. Rocky’s Treasure carries top weight and top billing in the Grimthorpe Chase. It won’t be easy as he clashes with solid veterans Barney Dwan, Dingo Dollar and four others.
Lingfield. Race 5. 10:50. Graded stakes placed filly Chynna makes her 3-year-old debut against five colts and geldings in the Ladbrokes Spring Cup Stakes.
Gulfstream Park. Race 4. 1:00. A Thread Of Blue, a front-running son of Hard Spun, seeks his third straight in the Palm Beach.
Gulfstream Park. Race 5. 1:30. Hembree, a $50,000 claim in April, and Cowboy Culture, a $40,000 claim in November, look strong in the Canadian Turf. Breaking The Rules, a blue-blood Phipps homebred, should win.
Gulfstream Park. Race 6. 2:00. Recruiting Ready needs to break from the rail and flee in the Gulfstream Park Sprint.
Gulfstream Park. Race 7. 2:30. Don’t forget the The. Holy Helena tries to snap a six-race losing streak in the The Very One Stakes. If you’re wondering, this is the long version of two stakes named after the Mid-Atlantic turf star.
Fair Grounds. Race 4. 2:54. Marquee Prince, Spectacular Gem and Bluegrass Parkway, 1-2-3 in February, square off in the Black Gold.
Gulfstream Park. Race 8. 3:00. French-bred Primela makes her stateside debut for Dixiana Farm and Cherie DeVaux and French-bred Golconda makes her stateside debut for Dubb, Madaket and Chad Brown in the Herecomesthebride.
Tampa Bay Downs. Race 6. 3:19. Reride makes his first start for Ignacio Correas after winning four races and tussling in numerous stakes, including the Jim Dandy, for Steve Asmussen. The 4-year-old adds zest to a tough three-other-than allowance on the turf.
Fair Grounds. Race 5. 3:23. There’s still time. Two-turn 3-year-olds climb the next rung in their ladder to stardom in this tough first-level allowance. Tab the winner and maybe a few others (Americandy, Aquadini…?) for later in the year.
Gulfstream Park. Race 9. 3:30. San Saria, an Irish-bred daughter of Australia, makes her debut for Lewis Lakin and Bill Mott.
Fair Grounds. Race 6. 3:53. Brendan Walsh has gradually upgraded his talent, the Irish native unveils Scilly Isles, a $500,000 Coolmore son of Uncle Mo, in this turf maiden.
Gulfstream Park. Race 10. 4:00. It’s rare you see a maiden become a key race for a Grade 2 stakes later in the card, but High Amplitude finished 14 lengths behind Fountain of Youth contender Hidden Scroll in their debuts. High Amplitude makes his second start here.
Fair Grounds. Race 7. 4:23. Another solid two-turn maiden offers an opportunity for the likes of Scalper ($850,000 yearling) Rubin Hurricane ($1 million yearling) and Hip Hip Jorge (My Meadowview son of Tapit).
Gulfstream Park. Race 11. 4:30. Unbelievable card keeps delivering with the Honey Fox, a Grade 3 stakes for fillies and mares on the turf. Precieuse hasn’t been seen since finishing second in her American debut in the De La Rose at Saratoga in August. Bellavais has gradually rolled into form for Todd Pletcher. Javier Castellano goes for the former.
Santa Anita. Race 4. 4:56. La Shirimp, an American-bred daughter of Noble Mission, finished second at Naas in her career debut before swapping barns and returning to America. She looks strong in this turf sprint.
Aqueduct. Race 8. 4:50. Weather Wiz makes his stakes debut against an eclectic group in the Bernardini Stakes at 1 5/16 miles.
Fair Grounds. Race 8. 4:53. The Dixie Poker Ace keeps the hits rolling on an entertaining card as 12 line up for the turf stakes for Louisiana-breds.
Gulfstream Park. Race 12. 5:01. Well, hello champion. Jaywalk kicks off her 2019 campaign in the Davona Dale.
Oaklawn Park. Race 8. 5:32. The hard-trying Vertical Oak seeks her 10th career win as she breaks from the outside in the Spring Fever.
Gulfstream Park. Race 13. 5:32. The Xpressbet Fountain of Youth. Saratoga maiden winner Code Of Honor tries to bounce back, undefeated Vekoma tries to keep sailing, Signalman tries to replicate the Kentucky Jockey Club, Hidden Scroll tries to put Bill Mott squarely on the Derby Trail, Global Campaign tries to make it 3-for-3…it’s that time of year.
Santa Anita. Race 6. 5:56. Bob Baffert with a turf horse? The Hall of Famer sends out Much Better in the Pasadena. Neptune’s Storm makes stakes debut for William Morey.
Gulfstream Park. Race 14. 6:06. Whew, you can take the dog for a walk after this. The Mac Diarmida serves as the finale on a long, scintillating day in Florida.
Santa Anita. Race 8. 7:00. Flor De La Mar toyed with five rivals, the daughter of Tiznow should improve to 2-for-2 for Godophin and Baffert in this allowance race.
Charles Town. Race 1. 7:00. Have you ever stopped and looked at what Jeff Runco achieves at Charles Town year in, year out? A winner of 141 races last year, he sends out First Talent and With The Wind in the Saturday night opener. As for the rest of your Saturday night, there’s racing at Charles Town, Penn National, Sam Houston…we’re going to reintroduce ourselves to our children and our loved ones. Good night.