The Friday Special – Jan. 21

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Bonus Coverage. Here’s your Friday Special. And don’t worry, we’re coming right back Saturday with the traditional Saturday Special, including winners – lots of winners – from our intrepid handicappers who tackle a robust card at Fair Grounds Saturday.

Friday ushers in Day 1 of the Winter Million at Lingfield. The lucrative card attracts stars on both sides of the Irish Sea. Sean Doyle chases the money with Lucky Max. The German-bred rides a win streak to Lingfield.

“Lucky Max seems to be in very good form, fingers crossed he travels over OK,” Doyle said. “After maturing really well, he has started to hurdle properly. He was a little up in the air, even going back to his point-to-points, and it has taken him a while to get his jumping together. He probably wasn’t quite right last season either, but he seems a different horse now. We are hoping for the best – it is a competitive race and definitely a step up on anything he has faced before. If he could pick up some nice prize money, we would be delighted.”


Worth Repeating

“I thought he could move forward. Did I know he was going to be in the Breeders’ Cup? No, not a chance. But he started to develop. We gave him the time he needed, spaced the races out and he rewarded us.”
Paradise Farm Corp’s Peter Proscia, co-owner of National HBPA Claiming Horse of the Year Special Reserve


Thoroughbred Racing Calendar Plays of the Day

Short prices but you can go the bank with Last Ammo in the second at Southwell and Dulas in the seventh at Golden Gate.


By the Numbers

12: Percent takeout on Friday’s Stronach 5 wager featuring races from Laurel Park, Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park and Golden Gate Fields all run in less than an hour.

13: Stakes scheduled for the 15-day Aqueduct spring meeting that runs March 31 to April 24.

2.7 million: Dollars in purses for the 13 stakes at the Aqueduct spring meet.

1 million: Purse value in dollars for the Grade 2 Wood Memorial if a Grade or Group 1 winner is declared an official starter.


Riverdee Stable Names of the Day

Holding Court. Gulfstream Park. Race 1. The 3-year-old filly is by Will Take Charge out of Tell A Great Story.

Ofalltheginjoints. Aqueduct. Race. 7. Oh, what a line in cinematic history. The 3-year-old filly is out of Casablanca Blues.


Now for the Races… 

Southwell. Race 2. 7:40 a.m. We touted Last Ammo in early December, the Charlie Appleby trainee duly obliged and he’ll do it again. Sent off favorite that day, he’ll go off favorite again as he stretches out again against eight rivals. Derby-winning jockey Adam Kirby takes the ride. Watch a fascinating interview with a one-of-a-kind character. 

Lingfield. Race 1. 7:50. The first day of the Winter Million rolls off the blocks with Love Envoi putting her undefeated record on the line in a deep edition of the Winter Million Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

Lingfield. Race 4. 9:25. Five standard-bearers with a combined 38 wins to their credit clash in the Cazoo Hurdle.

Lingfield. Race 6. 10:35. Irish raider Lucky Max rides a three-race win streak and British standard Metier rides a three-race losing streak into the hurdle feature worth a cool $137,000.

Meydan. Race 4. 10:45. The indomitable Lord Glitters makes his 9-year-old debut in the Group 2 turf stakes. Godolphin is represented by five of the 11 starters in the 9-furlong stakes.

Laurel Park. Race 2. 12:38 p.m. Kobe Tough, who was once named He Gone, aims to break his maiden after a fruitless try in stakes company.

Laurel. Race 7. 2:58. Versatile stakes winner Air Token breaks from the rail in a tough three-other-than allowance sprint.

Tampa Bay Downs. Race 7. 3:13. Nothing like a turf maiden at Tampa. Could be any kind in here.

Laurel. Race 8. 3:26. Plot The Dots drops a notch into a tough three-other-than allowance going long. The stout Maryland-bred should handle this assignment for Mike Trombetta, who also sends out Torch Of Truth.

Santa Anita Park. Race 6. 6:06. Beautiful Gift returns for her turf debut after a seventh in the Black-Eyed Susan in May.

Fair Grounds. Race 8. 6:36. Solid turf maiden caps off a Friday card in New Orleans, the precursor to a big Saturday card. High Deff makes his first start since selling at Keeneland November.

Santa Anita. Race 7. 6:38. Some potential stars aim to break their maidens. South Street, a son of Quality Road and Miss Catomine, regroups for John Shirreffs. Kerouac, a $420,000 purchase, makes his debut. 

Golden Gate Fields. Race 7. 6:55. We bet Dulas at 18-1 in his American debut, he finished third after a wide, ambitious trip. He’ll win this. He won’t be 18-1.

Turfway Park. Race 6. 8:46. What else is there to do on Friday night in January? Here’s a mile and half allowance for fillies and mares.