The Saturday Special: April 20

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All the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks preps are in the books so it seems like an opportune time to take a breather, regroup and ready for the next big thing. Not so fast.

Another big day of racing around the world looms, including the rich Charles Town Classic, the return of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships at Laurel, the last Saturday of the spring meet at Keeneland, closing weekend at Aqueduct, Opening Day at Woodbine and so much more.

We’ll kick things off as always with action from overseas. Here’s your primer for Saturday, April 20. Take care, enjoy and good luck.

Kempton. Race 1. 8:25 a.m. Two-year-old filly Electric Ladyland goes for her second career victory in the opener. Jimi would be proud.

Haydock. Race 1. 8:30. The proper National Hunt season fades out with the Challenger Series finals at Haydock. Aimee De Sivola wins the opener.

Haydock. Race 2. 9:05. For all the Cubs fans out there, Cubswin wins this.

Kempton. Race 3. 9:35. Start taking notes. Nausha makes her 3-year-old debut for Roger Varian. Daughter of Kingman won her debut at Newbury in October.

Haydock. Race 3. 9:40. How about the veterans? Loose Chips makes his 57th start, Uhlan Bute makes his 56th foray in the Challenger staying chase final.

Kempton. Race 4. 10:10. Kingman could have a big day, the stallion is represented by Riviera Nights here, he seeks his third straight win for Richard Hannon.

Haydock. Race 4. 10:15. Iroquois anyone? Three-mile hurdlers clash in the Challenger Hurdle final.

Musselburgh. Race 4. 10:35. Jaunt your way to Scotland for an enchanting card, including the Queen’s Cup Stakes at a cool 1 3/4 miles. England offers a plethora of distance races on the turf. Wonder if that’s why horses in this race have started 47, 32, 51, 37 times and ages range from 4 to 9.

Kempton. Race 5. 10:45. Think bookies offered a Tiger Roll, Tiger Woods, Tiger Eye Triple? Tiger Eye, a daughter of Frankel, seeks her fourth straight for James Fanshawe and Qatar Racing. Strong field lines up for the Raging TV Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes.

Haydock. Race 5. 10:50. The Bay Birch should score for the Sheppards in the Challenger Mares’ final handicap chase.

Haydock. Race 6. 11:20. Another big purse of $64,000 offered in the Challenger middle distance final. For some reason, we’ve been following A Place Apart.

Cork. Race 8. 12:20 p.m. A card chock full of promising maiden races, here’s one with an Austrian-bred. Don’t see that very often. Nobel Joshua (AUT) hasn’t shown much in two starts.

Charles Town Races. Race 1. 12:30. Rare afternoon post for Charles Town Classic Day. The card opens with $5,000 claimer for state-breds.

Woodbine. Race 1. 1:00. Welcome back. The 2019 season in Toronto opens with 5-furlong maiden optional claimer on the main track.

Charles Town. Race 3. 1:22. Tough to sort field of six that shows up for $35,000 Immortal Eyes Overnight Dash.

Aqueduct. Race 1. 1:30. The final Saturday for a while at the Big A starts with $32,000 claimer going 6 furlongs.

Oaklawn Park. Race 1. 2:05. Unchartered territory, somewhat, with racing in Hot Springs continuing past the Racing Festival of the South and Arkansas Derby this year.  

Charles Town. Race 5. 2:17. Burnin Ring O Fire, winner of his first three starts before a fourth in West Virginia Futurity, makes 2019 debut for Ollie Figgins III from the outside in $50,000 Coin Collector.

Keeneland. Race 4. 2:45. Sniper Kitten won 9-furlong allowance on the grass late in last year’s spring meet, albeit that one an a-other-than compared to a 3x here. Ramsey homebred son of Kittens Joy will appreciate class relief but meets decent foes in Nessy, Renaisance Frolic, Shahroze and others.

Charles Town. Race 6. 2:49. Back to two turns – albeit 7 furlongs – and back to state-breds for $50,000 Original Gold.

Gulfstream Park. Race 5. 2:49. First of two stakes on the card is $75,000 Game Face for 3-year-old fillies going 7 furlongs. A Bit Of Both should keep big month spring rolling for Jason Servis.

Laurel Park. Race 5. 3:12. First of seven stakes on Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships Day card is $100,000 Frank Whiteley, Jr. for older horses at 6 furlongs. Lewisfield, Rockinn On Bye and Laki meet again – they were 1-2-3 in some order in the Not For Love and Howard S. Bender Memorial.

Charles Town. Race 7. 3:23. Aaron’s Tap should relish return to state-bred company in $50,000 Confucius Say.

Aqueduct. Race 5. 3:36. Candygram stretches out to 1 1/8 miles after back-to-back efforts in South Florida going 7 furlongs.

Laurel. Race 6. 3:42. The $100,000 King T. Leatherbury. Field of 15 entered, unfortunately none from Leatherbury’s barn.

Woodbine. Race 6. 3:45. Mark Casse dominates north of the border annually. No reason to see him slowing down and he could get things rolling with Lady Grace in 5-furlong maiden.

Charles Town. Race 8. 3:55. Todd Pletcher ships Federal Case, Triple Crown-nominated son of Gemologist who finished second in Grade 3 Hutcheson last time out, from Florida for $100,000 Robert Hilton Memorial. Same distance as the Hutcheson, but two turns at Charles Town.

Aqueduct. Race 6. 4:09. The $100,000 Woodhaven marks return of Forty Under, winner of last year’s Grade 3 Pilgrim and sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Uncle Mo colt spent winter with Jeremiah Englehart’s string at Palm Meadows and sports steady works for 2019 debut in 1 1/16-mile turf stakes.

Laurel. Race 7. 4:12. Linda Rice ships Starwithsilver in from New York for $100,000 Primonetta and she’ll face Ms Locust Point, Cairenn, Shimmering Aspen and others in 6-furlong stakes.

Keeneland. Race 7. 4:24. Mominou ran well off the bench to be fourth in small stakes at Gulfstream last month. Daughter of Congrats should improve for Jimmy Toner in 5 1/½-furlong turf allowance that also includes several other stakes competitors.

Charles Town. Race 9. 4:29. Line Judge, winner of back-to-back starts in December and January on another small racetrack down at Delta Downs, ships in for $75,000 Russell Road Stakes for Tom Amoss and Maggi Moss.

Laurel. Race 8. 4:42. Back to the turf course for the $100,000 Dahlia. Named for Nelson Bunker Hunt’s champion and Hall of Famer, the 1-mile stakes marks 2019 debut for top New York-bred La Moneda, Grade 1 competitor Secret Massage and Viva Vegas. Good race.

Woodbine. Race 8. 4:51. First day, first stakes. Six line up for the Grade 3 Whimsical at 6 furlongs. Sly Beauty looks the best off Gulfstream prep for Casse.

Keeneland. Race 8. 4:57. Quick Entry, half brother to Viva Majorca and Quick Quick Quick, appeared in last year’s Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour with Ian Wilkes. He ran well in debut behind Code Of Honor before graduating in the slop in late September. Off since then, son of Point Of Entry returns in 6-furlong optional for 3-year-olds.

Charles Town. Race 10. 5:01. Lake Ponchatrain, Isotope and Devine Mischief all prepped in the Dance To Bristol Prep and they’re back for the $100,000 Dance To Bristol Stakes. Just like the racing office drew it up.

Laurel. Race 9. 5:12. Back to the main track and two turns for the $125,000 Weber City Miss. Seven 3-year-old fillies look to secure a spot in next month’s Black-Eyed Susan. Las Setas brings 4-for-4 record to the table and should get it done again.

Aqueduct. Race 8. 5:15. Field of nine 3-year-old fillies for $200,000 Park Avenue division of New York Stallion Series. Jeremiah Englehart can keep potential big day rolling with Stonesintheroad.

Oaklawn. Race 7. 5:20. Tapit Star, who is not by Tapit, stands out against fellow Arkansas-bred 3-year-olds in $100,000 Rainbow Stakes.  

Keeneland. Race 9. 5:30. One of these days it feels like Canessar will put it together and win a graded stakes. Perhaps it’s here in the Grade 2 Dixiana Elkhorn, where he finished sixth last year for Arnaud Delacour. Turf marathon goes through the Mike Maker trained duo of Zulu Alpha and Bigger Picture.

Charles Town. Race 11. 5:37. The featured Grade 2 Charles Town Classic didn’t attract its strongest field but it does feature the Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Discreet Lover, Santa Anita Handicap third in Mongolian Groom, multiple stakes winner Diamond King, the comebacking Rally Cry and distance specialist War Story. Someone will enjoy the payday of $1 million stakes.

Laurel. Race 10. 5:42. Alwaysmining deserving of 1-5 morning-line odds for $125,000 Federico Tesio with string of five straight victories. Tough to get past him in automatic qualifier for next month’s Preakness Stakes.

Aqueduct. Race 9. 5:48. Kosciuszko isn’t just the name of a bridge on I-87 or a Polish military general who played a key role in the battle of Saratoga. He’s also a son of Smart Bid who takes on 11 others in Times Square division of New York Stallion Series. Solid field also includes Bankit, fresh off a seventh in the Louisiana Derby.

Keeneland. Race 10. 6:03. Don’t run off to West Sixth just yet – Tom Law this means you – stick around for the finale, a 6 1/2-furlong maiden for 3-year-olds. The gang’s all here for this one, including Chad Brown with a first-time starter by Tapit out of stakes winner Tap Your Feet named Highest Honors from the rail.

Gulfstream. Race 11. 6:04. Garter And Tie back at more sensible level following 10th in Grade 1 Florida Derby and sixth in Grade 2 Holy Bull. He won the Smooth Air going 1 mile back in December and returns to one turn for $75,000 Roar at 7 furlongs.

Charles Town. Race 12. 6:07. Not done yet, here’s the $50,000 Its Binn Too Long for state-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Santa Anita Park. Race 5. 6:12. When will Kona Gold get the Hall of Fame call? Perhaps soon, but in the meantime he’s got a Grade 2 stakes named in his honor. Field of five here, with Dr. Dorr shortening up a little more for Bob Baffert.

Oaklawn. Race 8. 6:25. Arkansas-bred 3-year-old fillies take their turn in $100,000 Rainbow Miss Stakes. 

Charles Town. Race 13. 6:36. The finale is 7-furlong allowance for state-breds.