Forget that early holiday shopping, just put it off until Sunday since you won’t want to miss a loaded day of racing from coast to coast.
The day features Grade 1s in New York and California, three of the final six for 2019 in fact, and a little bit of everything else from Florida to Maryland and Arizona to Ohio. Aqueduct’s Cigar Mile Day card leads the way, with the headliner featuring Maximum Security, Spun To Run, Whitmore and Bal Harbour. Five other stakes dot the undercard, including the Grade 2 Remsen and Grade 2 Demoiselle for the 2-year-olds.
Speaking of 2-year-olds, Los Alamitos Race Course hosts a pair of important events in the division with the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity and Grade 1 Starlet.
Gulfstream Park opened last week and keeps things rolling with another monster weekend that includes the Claiming Crown Saturday and Caribbean Classic Sunday.
A lot of ground to cover so let’s get to it. Here’s your primer for Saturday, Dec. 7. Good luck.
Aqueduct. Race 1. 11:30 a.m. Make note of the early post at the Big A. Ten maiden 2-year-olds go 1 mile in opener.
Aqueduct. Race 2. Noon. The $150,000 Winter Memories, rescheduled from Thanksgiving, at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
Gulfstream Park. Race 2. 12:18. The $110,000 Claiming Crown Express leads off the starter stakes for ex-claimers. Six-furlong event is for 3-year-olds and up who started for $8,000 or less lifetime. Brother Chub and Fast Pass finished second and third, respectively, in same race last year.
Laurel Park. Race 2. 12:53. Early restricted allowance on strong card looks like stablemate showdown between My Queen Michelle and One Two Three Go.
Aqueduct. Race 4. 1:00. Rocky Policy takes her show on the road again – maybe, she’s also entered at Turfway Park Saturday – for $125,000 Autumn Days at 6 furlongs on the grass. Winner of the Turf Amazon two back at Parx, Maryland-bred Rock Slide filly finished second to Hotshot Anna in Keeneland turf sprint allowance last time.
Woodbine. Race 1. 1:05. Penultimate Saturday card of 2019 season starts with $7,500 claimer at 5 1/2 furlongs.
Gulfstream. Race 4. 1:17. The $110,000 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper for older females who started for $12,500 or less since Jan. 1, 2018.
Laurel. Race 3. 1:22. Last Setas, off since finishing seventh in Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan May 17, returns for $75,000 Politely at 6 furlongs. She meets older foes for the first time and a group led by Maryland Million winner Anna’s Bandit and Majestic Reason.
Aqueduct. Race 5. 1:35. Second division of 1-mile maiden for 2-year-olds includes Or’effice. How’d he get that name? Check out Mark Hennig’s Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour from last summer for the scoop.
Tampa Bay Downs. Race 3. 1:41. Sure signs of winter with racing back at Tampa. Here’s the $100,000 Inaugural for 2-year-olds. Maybe too early to think about the Sam F. Davis and Tampa Bay Derby, but that won’t stop connections of Another Miracle, No Getting Over Me, Cajun Casanova or Breckenridge from thinking about those spots with a good run in 6-furlong stakes.
Gulfstream. Race 5. 1:47. The $110,000 Claiming Crown Distaff Dash at 5 furlongs on the grass for older females who started for $25,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2018. Band Of Angels probably keeps big day rolling for Jorge Navarro.
Mahoning Valley Race Course. Race 5. 2:06. Leona’s Reward, 10-for-14 in Youngstown, tops $75,000 Bobbie Bricker Memorial Handicap. Six-year-old Parents’ Reward mare shoulders 127 pounds, giving anywhere from eight to 15 pounds to the field in 1-mile stakes.
Aqueduct. Race 6. 2:09. First of four graded stakes, the $250,000 Go For Wand Handicap for older fillies and mares at 1 mile. Spiced Perfection ships from Churchill Downs, where she went following fourth in Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint for California-based trainer Peter Miller, and holds class edge. She’s a two-time Grade 1 winner at 7 furlongs.
Woodbine. Race 3. 2:16. Fact Checking and Ellanation stand out in 5-furlong allowance for fillies and mares.
Gulfstream. Race 6. 2:20. The $110,000 Claiming Crown Rapid Transit at 7 furlongs and for older horses who started for $16,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2018. Royal Squeeze certainly likes the track, he’s 8-for-17 on it including a stretch of four straight this spring. First Deal might be too tough though, off three straight wins that included back-to-back open stakes at Monmouth in August and September.
Mahoning Valley. Race 6. 2:34. Ohio-bred 2-year-olds line up for $75,000 Joshoa Radosevich Memorial. Jeff Radosevich, the late jockey’s uncle, looks to keep it in the family sending out Sweetnesscharm while David Wolochuk sends out impressive first-out winner Garrett.
Laurel. Race 6. 2:51. Solid field of nine for $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship. Hello Beautiful exits win in Maryland Million Lassie while Miss J McKay tries to bounce back from close loss on the grass at Aqueduct in return to the main track.
Gulfstream. Race 7. 2:52. Claiming prices getting higher, with the $110,000 Claiming Crown Canterbury for older horses who ran for $25,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2018. Shekky Shebaz, third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and a stakes winner at Saratoga, amazingly fits the condition and looms large.
Parx Racing. Race 7. 3:07. Dilly Dilly Philly rolled in Penn National allowance and returns to Pa-bred ranks for this two-turn allowance.
Turf Paradise. Race 2. 3:10. Robertino Diodroro, 240-plus wins and counting this year, sends out Arizona Sun in $30,000 Arizona Breeders’ Futurity division for 2-year-old fillies. She’s won three of six, two at Turf Paradise.
Aqueduct. Race 8. 3:13. Another one from Mark Hennig’s Stable Tour, Maedean makes graded stakes debut in Grade 2 Demoiselle off back-to-back victories that include 5 1/2-length core in Tempted Stakes last time. She meets Alandra, beaten favorite when third in Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades off flashy Saratoga debut win, and New York-bred stakes winner Critical Value and Daphne Moon from trainer Jeremiah Englehart’s deep barn. Don’t overlook Lake Avenue, a 12 3/4-length winner for Bill Mott last time out.
Tampa. Race 6. 3:19. Another sure-fire winter signal, Motion, Gleaves, Delacour and Harty among the trainers with runners in 2-year-old maiden on the grass.
Laurel. Race 7. 3:20. Paging Peter King. Monday Morning Qb impressed in back-to-back starts at Parx and moves into stakes company in $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity. Son of Imagining doesn’t get it easy with the likes of Racing Whiskey, Laddie Liam, Tommy Shelby and Sir Back In Black in the field.
Gulfstream. Race 8. 3:24. Time for two turns and the $110,000 Claiming Crown Iron Horse for 3-year-olds and up who started for $8,000 or less lifetime. Our old friend Ruler Of The Nile, once a $1 million 2-year-old in training purchase and an allowance winner last summer at Saratoga, fits the condition and comes off an optional score at Churchill last time for Mike Lauer.
Parx. Race 8. 3:34. Newstome, 3-for-4 so far with victories on dirt and synthetic, returns to place he broke maiden in debut Aug. 3 for $100,000 Pennsylvania Nursery. Son of Goldencents comes off victory in open company in James F. Lewis III at Laurel for Mike Trombetta.
Aqueduct. Race 9. 3:43. The Grade 2 Remsen looks like a good one on paper with Chase Tracker, Forza Di Oro, Clean Jones and Ajaaweed taking the first four slots from the inside out and Alpha Sixty Six from post 8 of nine. The latter gets the edge off adventurous fifth in Grade 1 Champagne last time for Todd Pletcher.
Laurel. Race 8. 3:49. Grade 2 winner Still Having Fun, last seen in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, returns against fellow older state-breds in $75,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial. Strong field also includes Alwaysmining, Lewisfield, Taco Supream and Clubman.
Gulfstream. Race 9. 3:56. Purses also starting to rise with the $125,000 Claiming Crown Tiara going two turns on the grass for fillies and mares who started for $25,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2018.
Aqueduct. Race 10. 4:16. The Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap could go a long way toward Maximum Security staking claim at 3-year-old male championship. A win here gives him three Grade 1s on the season, a win over older sprinters in a Grade 3 stakes and that race in May at Churchill Downs that continues to burn bright in the minds of many. Another 3-year-old could upset in Spun To Run, who did just that at 9-1 in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last time. Whitmore, a Grade 1 winner at 7 furlongs, and Bal Harbour, a three-time winner at 1 mile, fly the flag for the older horses.
Tampa. Race 8. 4:21. Fillies division of 2-year-old maiden on the grass attracts runners from Contessa, Harty, Clement, Stidham, Thomas, Delacour and Motion.
Gulfstream. Race 10. 4:28. Here’s your headliner, the $200,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at 9 furlongs on the main track. For 3-year-olds and up who started for $35,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2018, race drew field of nine led by Maryland Million Classic winner Forest Fire and 2019 graded stakes competitors Leitone, Third Day and Noble Thought. Ekhtibaar makes first start off the claim for Jorge Navarro and first run since Closing Day at Saratoga. He’s 10-1 on the line and would be very tempting at that price.
Tampa. Race 9. 4:51. The 2-year-old fillies take their turn in $100,000 Sandpiper at 6 furlongs. Lucrezia returns to the main track after back-to-back turf starts, including a $100,000 stakes at the Big A, while Two Sixty looks to bounce back from ninth in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita.
Los Alamitos Race Course. Race 4. 4:58. Anneau d’Or nearly pulled off upset at 28-1 in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, losing by just a head to 45-1 Storm The Court off only a maiden win at Golden Gate. He starts Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity from rail at 9-5 and meets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile third Wrecking Crew and Bob Baffert’s duo of Thousand Words and High Velocity in 1 1/16-mile stakes. Field of only four for race that used to be Grade 1.
Gulfstream. Race 11. 5:00. Back to the grass for the $125,000 Claiming Crown Emerald, for older horses who started or $25,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2018. Tusk and Hieroglyhpics met in $32,000 claimer at Belmont Oct. 2 and square off again, along with Muggsamatic, Dontblamerocket and Patriot Drive.
Turf Paradise. Race 6. 5:12. The $25,000 Cactus Wren Stakes, for 3-year-olds and up bred in Arizona and graduates of any of the Arizona Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association fall sales.
Turf Paradise. Race 7. 5:43. The $25,000 Cactus Flower for fillies and mares carries same conditions as previous stakes.
Turf Paradise. Race 8. 6:13. Finish off all-stakes pick 3 with the $30,000 Arizona Breeders’ Futurity. Arizona Jeremy won $72,000 stakes last time out for second straight win and meets Annie’s Boy and eight others in 6-furlong stakes.
Turfway Park. Race 1. 6:15. First Saturday card of the season in Florence (Y’all) starts with 6-furlong maiden claimer.
Los Alamitos. Race 7. 6:28. The Starlet retained its Grade 1 status for 2019 and it features a field worthy of the level with Grade 1 Chandelier winner and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies third Bast, Juvenile Fillies runner-up Donna Veloce and Chandelier third K P Dreamin in the mix. Only five entered.
Golden Gate Fields. Race 8. 7:15. The action out West doesn’t end with Los Al. Here’s the $75,000 Gold Rush for 2-year-olds at 1 mile. Field of 10 led by Bettor Trip Nick, winner of the Golden Nugget last time, and Absolute Weapon, a 6 1/4-length winner at Santa Anita Oct. 31.
Penn National Race Course. Race 5. 7:54. Don’t start strategizing the holiday shopping just yet. Moon Chant, Cutefacechubywaist and Art Form meet in 1-mile state-bred allowance.
Turfway. Race 7. 9:12. One for the hardcores, 6 1/2-furlong optional claimer with a field of 12. Remember Gettysburg? Sure you do, he factored big in here.