The big slate of Triple Crown preps went down the last two weekends but don’t skip over this week with the Arkansas Derby and Lexington Stakes on tap for Saturday. The corresponding cards at Oaklawn Park and Keeneland Race Course offer plenty of interesting supporting events and we’ve got the preview in this week’s Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud, home of Alternation, Broken Vow and Cowboy Cal.
One meet ends with Oaklawn wrapping the 2016 season and a few others open for the season with Finger Lakes and Mountaineer Park getting going. Others continue on with just three weeks to go until the Kentucky Derby.
Here’s your primer for Saturday, April 16. Enjoy and good luck.
Ayr. Race 2. 9:25 a.m. Scintillating card at Ayr. It took the Mullins train to stop Bristol De Mai at Cheltenham. He aims to restart his win streak.
Ayr. Race 3. 10:00. Shrewd, a son of Street Sense, tries to continue his climb up the ladder, taking his biggest step in the Scottish Champion Hurdle.
Ayr. Race 5. 11:10. The Coral Scottish Grand National. Cheltenham hero Cause Of Causes, a son of Dynaformer, swerved Aintree and could win another here. Prepare for war.
Ayr. Race 8. 12:50 p.m. You don’t see many sons of Galileo make their debuts in bumpers. Well, Mere Ironmonger did and won. He aims at win No. 2 here.
Keeneland Race Course. Race 1. 12:35. Dream Dance chased Land Over Sea when second last time in Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, one of four runner-up finishes for Afleet Alex filly. Neil Howard doesn’t shoot for the moon again and drops into 1 1/16-mile allowance.
Finger Lakes. Race 1. 1:10. Now it’s really spring. Racing gets started in Farmington with $15,000 non-winners of two claiming heat.
Laurel Park. Race 1. 1:10. Time for 2-year-olds in the Mid-Atlantic. Field of eight set to dash 4 ½ furlongs, including entries for John Salzman (Next Street and Choice Prospect), Phil Schoenthal (Full Quest, Audacious Say Eye) and Wesley Ward (Dangerous Dan).
Oaklawn Park. Race 1. 1:30. Opener for final card of the 2016 season in Hot Springs, 1 1/16-mile maiden for 3-year-olds might be spot for Chevy’s Pharaoh to win debut.
Keeneland. Race 3. 1:41. Kareena ran very well in debut going 7 furlongs in early March at Gulfstream and shortens up to 6 furlongs against seven others for Godolphin and Kiaran McLaughlin.
Gulfstream Park. Race 4. 2:34. Connections thought enough of Fetisov to nominate to Triple Crown. Smart Strike colt makes debut going 1 mile on the grass for Todd Pletcher.
Keeneland. Race 6. 3:20. Allowance-optional going rarely used 1-mile trip on the main track.
Laurel. Race 6. 3:53. Strong field for $75,000 Dahlia going 1 mile on the grass, including All In Fun, Hope Cross, Nakuti and Bride To Be.
Keeneland. Race 7. 3:53. Noble Bird showed very little in comeback race at Oaklawn in February. Grade 1 winner tries again in Grade 3 Ben Ali that also draws Neck ‘N Neck, General A Rod and Eagle.
Keeneland. Race 8. 4:26. Always competitive and always a big field, the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway. Take a look at Exaggerated, she could be the next turf-sprint specialist for Lael Stables and Arnaud Delacour.
Aqueduct. Race 7. 4:38. Chad Brown gets started with Mrs McDougal in $100,000 Plenty Of Grace going 1 mile on the grass. Medaglia d’Oro filly won the Grade 2 Lake George and was fourth in Grade 1 American Oaks last summer.
Woodbine. Race 8. 4:49. Treasuring makes first start for Josie Carroll $125,000 Star Shooter after previously racing for Bob Baffert in Southern California.
Oaklawn. Race 7. 3:57. Adirondack winner Just Wicked looks to bounce back from loss to Durango in $150,000 Instant Racing. Cash Back looks to stay undefeated for Brad Cox in first start on the main track.
Keeneland. Race 9. 4:59. Not many Kentucky Derby points for the Grade 3 Lexington, so it’s more a Preakness prep than anything. Canadian champion Riker looks to emulate Blue Grass winner Brody’s Cause with a bounce-back effort after Tampa Bay Derby drubbing.
Gulfstream. Race 9. 5:19. R Limo Joe was impressive winning maiden race in late December 2014 and makes first start since in state-bred allowance-optional going 6 furlongs.
Keeneland. Race 10. 5:32. The Tepin show makes its next stop in Grade 1 Coolmore Jenny Wiley. Champion mare is 2-for-2 on the course, winning last year’s First Lady and Breeders’ Cup Mile. She’ll be tough again, but faces much better than she faced at Tampa Bay Downs with Recepta, Wakeela, Dacita and Akatea in the field.
Oaklawn. Race 8. 5:33. Sophomores not ready for the prime time tangle in $150,000 Northern Spur.
Oaklawn. Race 9. 6:09. The Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap lures Santa Anita Handicap winner Melatonin from California and Effinex and Upstart from New York.
Fonner Park. Race 9. 6:22. Field of 10 for $25,000 Dowd Mile. Three turns for this one.
Mountaineer Park. Race 1. 7:00. The 2016 season gets underway in Chester, West Virginia, with $5,000 claimer going 5 furlongs.
Oaklawn. Race 11. 7:18. Familiar cast for $1 million Arkansas Derby with first three from the Rebel – Cupid, Whitmore and Creator – looking to lock up spots for the Kentucky Derby. Strong field also includes Gettysburg, Suddenbreakingnews and American Pioneer.
Oaklawn. Race 12. 7:48. Starter allowance going 1 3/4 miles closes the meet.