The Saturday Special – Dec. 10

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Dr B and Irad Ortiz Jr. cut the corner on the way to historic victory in last week’s Grade 3 Go For Wand at Aqueduct. Dom Napolitano/NYRA Photo.

Rolling toward the end of 2022 and sure signs the winds of winter are on the way.

Woodbine winds down its meet while Oaklawn Park revs up for the season in Hot Springs. Aqueduct, Fair Grounds and Los Alamitos keep things rolling after a strong few days to kick off December last weekend.

A somewhat abbreviated version of The Special this week, but we cover the bases with the primer and some old favorites.

Here’s The Special for Saturday, December 10. Be safe and good luck.

Worth Repeating
“It’s a Grade 1 turf course, like it should be. Gulfstream is a Grade 1 racetrack.”
Jose Ortiz after guiding Souper Quest to victory – the jockey’s 199th of the season – in a 5 ½-furlong maiden Thursday

“We love that New York money and it’s worth that trip up the turnpike. I didn’t know if she’d maintain the fractions; I was a little surprised she was on the lead, but she broke so sharp. She’s got a bit of a tender mouth on her and Irad just did a tremendous job and let her do her thing.”
Trainer Butch Reid after Dr B won last week’s Grade 3 Go For Wand at Aqueduct

“I didn’t even realize that we got 76 for him out at Mahoning Valley [with Disco Ebo in the Youngstown Oaks] and we got 77 for him today.”
Reid on jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.’s record-setting 77 stakes wins in 2022 aboard Dr B

“If you like horse racing, you’ve got to love this horse. He’s cool.”
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher on Cigar Mile winner Mind Control

By the Numbers
6: Cigar Mile victories for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher after Mind Control won the Grade 1 stakes last week.

17: Grade 1 stakes wins in 2022 for Pletcher after Mind Control’s Cigar Mile score. The group also includes a Belmont, two Breeders’ Cups and the Pegasus World Cup.

18: Grade 1 stakes in 2022 for Chad Brown, including 11 on the grass, after Regal Glory took last weekend’s Matriarch at Del Mar.

77: Record stakes wins for Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. after he guided Dr B to an easy victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Go For Wand.

1,509: Horses originally cataloged for the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale that runs Jan. 9-12 in Lexington. An additional 69 were supplemented to the sale Thursday.

744.68: Total handle in dollars in 2022 at Del Mar, a record in a non-Breeders’ Cup year at the seaside track.

As for the races …
Gulfstream Park. Race 4. 1:38. p.m
The $75,000 Pulpit looks like a feature during the Championship Meet, with runners from Todd Pletcher (Ari Gold and Sendero), Congruent coming out of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for Antonio Sano and a big threat from Mark Casse in Lights Of Broadway.

Fair Grounds. Race 1. 2:15. Louisiana Champions Day kicks off with $50,000 Ladies Starter going 5 1/2 furlongs on the main track.

Tampa Bay Downs. Race 6. 3:01. State-bred fillies and mares go 7 furlongs in FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes. R Adios Jersey is 2-for-2 at Tampa and could be tough off the layoff.

Fair Grounds. Race 3. 3:19. Not On Herb puts 2-for-2 record on line against Tumbarumba, Late September and Half Full in $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile.

Gulfstream. Race 8. 3:38. Two-year-old fillies take their turn in the $75,000 Wait A While. Delight didn’t fire in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf but a return to her prior form gets it done here.

Aqueduct. Race 8. 3:40. The $120,000 Garland of Roses Stakes. New York-breds Betsy Blue and Snicket run back on a weeks’ rest while Hot Peppers makes her first start since fourth in the Grade 2 Prioress on closing weekend at Saratoga. They all might be up against it with Smash Ticket and Beguine also in the field.

Fair Grounds. Race 4. 3:51. The 2-year-old fillies take their turn in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie. Free Drop Maddy, winner of the local prep last month, faces seven others led by Norah G and Tensas Candy.

Oaklawn Park. Race 7. 4:18. The $150,000 Ring the Bell, the first of two stakes on the opening weekend card in Hot Springs.

Fair Grounds. Race 5. 4:23. Free Like A Girl, unbeaten in her last five against state-breds, will appreciate the return to those ranks in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint. She faces tall order in the form of Ova Charged, a daughter of Star Guitar who rides four-race win streak and 6-for-7 mark overall.

Tampa. Race 9. 4:31. Willy Boi, well-beaten in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint but a graded stakes winner and Grade 1-placed this season, looks to cap big season in $100,000 FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes.

Oaklawn. Race 9. 5:14. Coach, fourth as the favorite last time in the Grade 3 Chilukki, returns to Hot Springs for the $150,000 Mistletoe Stakes going 1 mile.

Fair Grounds. Race 7. 5:27. Fort Polk and Winning Romance, 1-2 in last year’s Louisiana Champions Ladies Distaff, are back again.

Woodbine. Race 10. 5:40. Not much racing remaining for the year north of the border. Here’s the $100,000 La Prevoyante for fillies and mares sired by a stallion standing in Ontario for his entire season the year of conception and registered with the CTHS or Ontario Racing for that season. Plenty of conditions, but nine meet them.

Fair Grounds. Race 8. 5:59. The featured $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic. Bret Calhoun could be in for a big day and he sends out odds-on favorite Who Took The Money here in 9-furlong test.

Los Alamitos Race Course. Race 7. 6:30. Looks like graduation day for Navy Man.

Fair Grounds. Race 9. 6:31. Full field of 14 and a couple AEs for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint to close the card.

Los Alamitos. Race 9. 7:30. Faiza impressed at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale and again in her debut. Now the daughter of Girvin tries to add a Grade 1 victory in the $300,000 Starlet. She’ll run against fellow Bob Baffert trainees Doinitthehardway and Fast And Shiny. Pride Of The Nile probably looms the biggest threat.