Happy Valentine’s Day. With all that corporate generated holiday celebrating out of the way Friday night it’s time to get back to the serious business at hand and dig into a big day of racing Saturday from coast to coast.
Fair Grounds lead the way with a six-stakes card billed Louisiana Derby Preview Day and topped by split divisions of the Grade 2 Risen Star and the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra that features the return of 2019 champion 2-year-old filly British Idiom. Two other graded stakes support the card in New Orleans.
Laurel Park also rolls out a strong Saturday card topped by five stakes including a pair of Grade 3s with the General George and Barbara Fritchie. Elsewhere there’s stakes action at Aqueduct, Santa Anita, Golden Gate, Tampa Bay Downs, Oaklawn and Turf Paradise.
Plenty to keep you busy as we pass the midpoint of February and roll toward the groundhog-predicted early spring. Here’s your primer for Saturday, Feb. 15. Good luck and enjoy.
Ascot. Race 2. 8:50. Stop thinking about love and start thinking about winners. Valentine’s Day is over. Solid card at Ascot to open the day. Novice chasers clash in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown. Sam Brown has won his two starts, by a combined 37 lengths, since a three-year layoff. He gets an acid test against the likes of Two For Gold, Pym and Copperhead.
Haydock. Race 2. 9:05. Nine-time winner The Worlds End towers large in the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle.
Ascot. Race 3. 9:25. Gaggle of tough veterans wade in the paint again Swinley Chase.
Haydock. Race 3. 9:40. Rockadenn makes the well-worn path from French jump racing to British jump racing.
Gowran Park. Race 4. 9:54. The story of the day is Kaiser Black and our friend Jack Doyle. Welcome back, champion jockey.
Haydock. Race 4. 10:15. Conversation has turned to the Grand National. Most of the talk centers around Tiger Roll. Well, here are some of his rivals primping and prepping for the big one in the Unibet Grand National Trial Chase.
Ascot. Race 5. 10:35. Cyrname is the only horse to beat Altior. The 8-year-old chaser should cruise home over three rivals in the Betfair Ascot Chase.
Fair Grounds. Race 1. 1:00. Start the day with a 1-mile turf maiden.
Gulfstream Park. Race 3. 1:04. Rag Tag, off since runner-up effort at odds-on in Keeneland maiden race back in April, returns in 1-mile event for Todd Pletcher.
Fair Grounds. Race 2. 1:29. Nine-furlong event for 3-year-olds leads off back-to-back stretch of 3-year-old maiden events. Steve Asmussen stretches out Airstreem, son of Tapit out of graded stakes winner Lotta Kim.
Laurel Park. Race 4. 1:50. Laurel hosts its traditional winter stakes menu with Jennings winner Alwaysmining kicking it off in the John B. Campbell.
Fair Grounds. Race 3. 1:58. The fillies go 6 furlongs in this spot, including a couple high-priced firsters in Nasty and Anima Gemella.
Gulfstream. Race 5. 2:04. Money Moves, son of Candy Ride who cost $975,000 at last year’s OBS April sale, makes debut for Todd Pletcher in 6-furlong maiden.
Laurel Park. Race 5. 2:18. Country Life Farm’s Bella Aurora won the Gin Talking, she comes right back to take on eight foes in the Wide Country.
Laurel Park. Race 6. 2:51. Wow, 14 ½ lengths. Dreams Untold hops out of a maiden romp and into the stakes pool in the Miracle Wood. Memories of Smarty Jones as the son of the Derby and Preakness winners carries the blue and white silks of Someday Farm.
Fair Grounds. Race 5. 2:58. Another 9-furlong event, this an optional claimer for 3-year-olds draws $2 million juvenile buy Chestertown, Sharecropper and Shake Some Action.
Laurel Park. Race 7. 3:20. Grade 3 fillies and mares rumble in the Runhappy Barbara Fritchie.
Fair Grounds. Race 6. 3:28. The $100,000 Colonel Power at 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass leads off the day’s stakes action.
Golden Gate Fields. Race 7. 3:45. Bob Baffert ships Azul Coast north for $100,000 El Camino Real Derby. Son of Super Saver chased Authentic last time in the Grade 3 Sham and could be tough with top local threat Anneau d’Or out of town in New Orleans for the Risen Star.
Laurel Park. Race 8. 3:49. Local horse Still Having Fun tries to snap a 10-race losing streak in the General George. Some streak – Saratoga, Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Mahoning Valley, Santa Anita, Laurel, Keeneland, Churchill, Laurel and Aqueduct. Millionaire Firenze Fire looks imposing here.
Fair Grounds. Race 7. 3:59. Back to the main track and the 3-year-old maiden ranks for wide-open 6-furlong event.
Aqueduct. Race 8. 4:25. Six state-bred fillies and mares entered for $100,000 Broadway.
Fair Grounds. Race 8. 4:30. Bill Mott ships Mitchell Road back from Florida to defend her title in the $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial. Older half sister to 2019 Kentucky Derby winner Country House used 1 1/16-mile stakes as springboard to graded success down the road and looks good again.
Fair Grounds. Race 9. 5:01. The first four from the Grade 3 Louisiana – Silver Dust, Blended Citizen, Gun It and Roiland – are back for the Grade 3 Mineshaft along with the comebacking and always well supported Hofburg and Sunland Derby winner Cutting Humor.
Gulfstream. Race 11. 5:04. Coach Rocks, now part of the WinStar Stablemates Racing LLC group and trained by Todd Pletcher, among the five taking on the comebacking Restless Rider in the Grade 3 Royal Delta.
Fair Grounds. Race 10. 5:32. Synchrony back to defend title, and put his 4-for-5 mark on the local grass course, in Grade 3 Fair Grounds.
Fair Grounds. Race 11. 6:05. The champ returns. British Idiom, who capped unbeaten season in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, takes on Finite and five others in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra presented by Fasig-Tipton. The latter rides four-race win streak, including a prep for this in the Silverbulletday.
Oaklawn Park. Race 9. 6:09. Specially takes her show on the road for the Dixie Belle. McLean Robertson stands tall with undefeated Ring Leader and Sassy Seneca.
Fair Grounds. Race 12. 6:38. First division of the Grade 2 Risen Star features Grade 3 Lecomte winner Enforceable and the two who chased him to the wire in Silver Slate and Mr. Monomoy, along with Lecomte fifth Scabbard and Lecomte sixth Shashashakemeup.
Santa Anita. Race 8. 7:00. Comforting and encouraging to see John Shirreffs with another good horse. Hard Not To Love will make it 5-for-6 in the Santa Monica.
Fair Grounds. Race 13. 7:12. Anneau d’Or, second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity last season, starts possible classics campaign in second division of the Grade 2 Risen Star. Based at Golden Gate Fields with Blaine Wright, son of Medaglia d’Oro ran huge in the Breeders’ Cup off only a maiden win on the grass back home.