Winter – already well underway officially – arrived in earnest over the last week with everything from major snowstorms to wind to biting cold over much of the eastern part of the country. We’re already thinking of warmer days ahead, knowing full well this is just the first of probably several blasts.

Thankfully there was plenty of racing to take in, either live or from the couch, along with a whacky final weekend the NFL regular season. Racing’s “regular” season is underway and the Pegasus World Cup looms large in a little more than two weeks’ time. Nominations and invitations are out for the big card at Gulfstream Park Jan. 29.

Our team hoped to take it in again, after missing last year thanks to Covid. The scheduling of the Eclipse Awards (not until Feb. 10 at Santa Anita Park) and the Pegasus, combined with the variants running rampant, probably make it impossible. So we’ll take them all in from said couches here and there.

But enough travel or non-travel plans.

Speaking of Eclipse Awards, voting for the equine and human categories closes today at 3 p.m. ET. Probably a lot of slam-dunks this year, especially with Knicks Go as Horse of the Year and champion older dirt male. The 3-year-old male race – between Essential Quality and the late Medina Spirit – should be interesting. Predicting how that might go will be tough for sure.

Hopefully you’ve been keeping tabs of racing through our now weekly previews in The Saturday Special. We’ve revamped the primer and offer more than just a race-by-race schedule, so be sure to check out the Jan. 8 edition and the Jan. 1 edition.

We also continue to keep a close eye on the New York-bred racing and breeding world, and posted six new items to the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc.’s website last week alone. Check them all out here, including a piece on the first foal born in the Empire State in 2022 and a recap of the state’s leading sires in 2021.

We’re also looking forward to the coming weekend, which features some good stakes action from Aqueduct, Tampa Bay Downs, Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park and Oaklawn Park. Don’t miss this week’s edition of The Saturday Special, when we also roll out full-card picks from one or more track every week from our team at The Saratoga Special.

 

Worth Repeating

“He takes care of himself like no one, probably, you’ve ever met.”
Agent Ron Anderson about jockey Joel Rosario who returns from a cracked rib at Oaklawn Park this week 

“That mile would hit him right between the eyes.”
Trainer Gary Sciacca on Lobsta’s next start in the Haynesfield Stakes March 20 at Aqueduct

  

By the Numbers

19: Miles to date for Joe Clancy, who accomplished the 1,000-mile Challenge presented by iRun Local in 2021

30: Miles to date for Tom Law, who accomplished the 1,000-mile Challenge presented by iRun Local in 2021

9.4: Miles to date for Sean Clancy, who failed to accomplish the 1,000-mile Challenge presented by iRun Local in 2021

21.20: Win return for The Saturday Special’s Play of the Day Ebasari at Cork

714: Days away from the track for Taunton Monday winner Cap Du Mathan

18: Wins for jockey Flavien Prat already in 2022.

4: Wins for Sonata Stable and End Zone Athletics to lead all owners in 2022

2: Wins for Commodore Perry, 2-for-2 at Turfway Park, and Jack Rabbit Quick, 2-for-2 at Tampa Bay Downs, already in 2022.

19: Invitations to the Pegasus World Cup Jan. 29 at Gulfstream Park – Dr Post, Eight Rings, Express Train, Flightline, Ginobili, Happy Saver, Knicks Go, Life Is Good, Mandaloun, Midnight Bourbon, Sir Winston and Super Stock, along with also eligibles Chess Chief, Concert Tour, Endorsed, Fearless, Officiating, Stilleto Boy, Title Ready.

 

Riverdee Stable Names of the Day

Surrey. The 3-year-old filly out of Surrey is in the first race at Fair Grounds. The Dovecote Bed and Breakfast in Surrey sounds like a nice escape right about now.

Fishin The River. The 4-year-old is 12-1 in the eighth at Turf Paradise. He’s by Many Rivers out of Catch Of The Day.

 

Thoroughbred Racing Calendar Monday Play of the Day

We like Mizzen Man in the fifth at Fair Grounds. The son of Mizzen Mast makes his turf debut.

 

Jockey of the Week

Flavien Prat was voted the Jockey’s Guild Jockey of the Week for three stakes wins and a rock-solid 10-for-27 skein. The French-born, California-based jockey came right back to go 10-for-17. Wow.