The Saturday Special – March 3

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While significant parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic dig out and dry out following Friday’s nor’easter, the show goes on and a loaded day of racing is previewed in this week’s edition of The Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud.

Gulfstream Park is again at the fore with the Grade 2 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth and a stellar card of eight supporting stakes on tap. The Fountain of Youth marks the 2018 debut of last year’s champion 2-year-old male Good Magic and he meets a field that includes the 2-for-2 Strike Power, Grade 1 winner Free Drop Billy, Marconi and Gotta Go as he takes the first significant step toward the Kentucky Derby.

Seven of the eight stakes on the Fountain of Youth undercard are graded, including the Grade 2 Davona Dale for 3-year-old fillies with an eye on the Kentucky Oaks. Potential Oaks contenders could also emerge from Santa Anita’s Grade 3 Santa Ysabel, won the last three years by champions Unique Bella, Songbird and Stellar Wind.

The 3-year-old fillies are also in action at Aqueduct, forced to call off racing Friday due to the storm, in the $100,000 Busher, while Fair Grounds and Oaklawn roll out cards with a pair of stakes.

The weather overseas this week was no better than late this week in the eastern U.S., as snow and cold weather scrapped meetings in England and Ireland. Saturday’s jump meetings at Newbury, Doncaster, Navan and Kelso were already abandoned by Friday morning here in the U.S. and it’s a game of wait-and-see for the all-weather tracks like Lingfield, Newcastle and Chelmsford hoping to race.

Here’s your primer for Saturday, March 3. Good luck and enjoy.

Gulfstream Park. Race 1. 11:30 a.m. Early start to the 14-race card and a $30,000 claimer going 6 1/2 furlongs to open.

Gulfstream. Race 4. 1:00 p.m. First stakes of the day is the $100,000 The Very One, a $150,000 event for fillies and mares going long on the grass. There’s another race by the same name at 5 furlongs on the grass in May on the Preakness undercard. Sean wrote about The Very One and her groom, NYRA valet Tony Millan, in his Cup of Coffee column in The Saratoga Special in 2014.

Gulfstream. Race 5. 1:30. The lone non-graded stakes of the day is the $100,000 Sand Springs, also for fillies and mares but only at 1 mile on the grass. Grade 1 winner Celestine stands out in field of seven but comes in off loss in similar spot off the layoff.

Fair Grounds. Race 1. 2:00. Claiborne-Dilschneider Louisiana-bred homebred Meter – that’s not something you hear every day – makes second start in state-bred allowance after easy win in debut last June at Evangeline Downs. Also not something you hear much.

Gulfstream. Race 6. 2:00. New York-bred Therapist puts 3-for-3 record on the line against Speed Franco, Maraud and Hawkish in Grade 3 Palm Beach. Those three might have the edge with starts this year while Therapist makes first since winning the Awad Stakes in late October.

Aqueduct. Race 3. 2:21. Lunar Beauty, son of Malibu Moon out of the stakes-placed Grand Slam mare Overandabeauty, was still unnamed when we stopped by Rick Violette’s barn last summer for his Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour. Violette thought September for the colt; it’s taken a bit longer but he only faces four for debut going 6 1/2 furlongs.

Gulfstream. Race 7. 2:30. Fillies take their turn in Grade 3 Herecomesthebride going long on the grass. Thewayiam is 3-for-4 since coming to the U.S. from France, including back-to-back wins this winter at Gulfstream in stakes.

Laurel Park. Race 6. 3:00. Nico Bree N Teej, second in back-to-back starts for Claudio Gonzalez, looks best of the half dozen entered in 1-mile allowance restricted to Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired which have never won a state-bred or state-sired race other than.

Gulfstream. Race 8. 3:00. The Grade 2 Davona Dale offers a $200,000 purse and 50 points to the winner toward a spot in the Kentucky Oaks field. Fly So High, dominating winner of her last two for Shug McGaughey, makes stakes debut from advantageous outside post. Take Charge Paula and Sultry, 1-2 in the Grade 3 Forward Gal last time, and impressive maiden winner Cache also in the field.

Aqueduct. Race 5. 3:23. The half dozen older horses for 9-furlong allowance includes blowout last-out maiden winner Ekhtibaar, Wild About Deb and Storm Prophet.

Laurel. Race 7. 3:30. Same conditions as the previous race at Laurel, this $35,000 allowance is at 6 furlongs and attracted field of seven.

Fair Grounds. Race 4. 3:45. Field of nine Louisiana-breds for $60,000 Dixie Poker going 1 mile on the turf. When in doubt in Louisiana go with a Zarbyev. Zarb’s Gift, behind Mageez and ahead of Gentlemens Agreement and Let Us Be Glad last time in allowance, fits the bill.

Gulfstream. Race 10. 4:00. Highland Sky back to the grass after disaster in Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, March drops in class after Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf and the ageless Hogy bids for third graded stakes – and ninth overall – in Grade 3 Canadian Turf.

Santa Anita Park. Race 2. 4:00. Definitely a day of interesting conditions. Check out this 1-mile maiden race, restricted to horses sold at public auction for $100,000 or less. Four of the five are nominated to the Triple Crown. The one that isn’t, More Honor, finished second in back-to-back starts in races with same conditions.

Oaklawn Park. Race 5. 4:08. Two-turn allowance-optional for 3-year-olds might produce a starter or two for a classic prep down the road. Brad Cox probably hopes so for Exclamation Point, son of Concord Point who broke his maiden in his debut the day before the Super Bowl.

Gulfstream. Race 11. 4:31. Personal Time, son of Malibu Moon out of winning Unbridled mare Lady Liberty, looks like the type to want two turns and gets it in start No. 4 in 1 1/16-mile maiden for 3-year-olds.

Tampa Bay Downs. Race 9. 4:50. Ian Wilkes ships Demolition from Palm Meadows for two-turn maiden. Son of Blame finished fourth in maiden races at Keeneland and Gulfstream last fall and this winter but needs to improve to compete with Navy Armed Guard, Freedonia and Brave Nation.

Aqueduct. Race 8. 4:56. Shippers War Heroine (California) and My Miss Lilly (Florida) look like the ones to beat in $100,000 Busher. How about one who won last time at Mahoning Valley in Ohio? Youvegottopaytopla ships in from Mercury Equine Center (in Lexington) for Jerry Jamgotchian and trainer Eric Reed.

Gulfstream. Race 12. 5:02. Back to stakes for the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint. Tough to sort out the big field of 11, which includes Grade 1 Malibu third Favorable Outcome, Grade 3 winner Noholdingback Bear, Classic Rock, Eight Town and Extravagant Kid going first off the claim for Brendan Walsh.

Oaklawn. Race 7. 5:09. Eight Arkansas-breds go 6 furlongs in $100,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes. Racer won it last year and is back, riding a seven-race losing skid, and so is the runner-up in Weast Hill. Five O One is the one to beat.

Tampa Bay. Race 10. 5:21. Tom Proctor runs two in 1-mile turf allowance – Full Of Joy and West Coast Bias. The latter comes off four-month freshening after running well in Southern California last summer and fall.

Santa Anita Park. Race 5. 5:30. Donworth, veteran of last year’s Grade 1 Pacific Classic and Awesome Again, runs for $40,000 tag in 1-mile allowance-optional. He was claimed by Peter Miller for that amount back in November and has won once in four starts for his new connections. Lookie Loo doesn’t run for the tag in this spot and should get it done.

Gulfstream. Race 13. 5:34. Sadler’s Joy was good from the beginning. Brandon Valvo wrote words of that ilk last summer in The Saratoga Special when he won the Grade 1 Sword Dancer on the Travers undercard. He went on to finish fourth in the Grade 1 Turf Classic and Breeders’ Cup Turf after that victory and returns from layoff in Grade 2 Mac Diarmida going 11 furlongs on the grass.

Oaklawn. Race 8. 5:38. Juddmonte bought Golden Mischief, a multiple stakes-winning daughter of Into Mischief for $475,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale. She makes first start for new owner and trainer Brad Cox against good group of fillies and mares in $100,000 Spring Fever.

Fair Grounds. Race 8. 5:53. Second of two stakes on the card – this one for open company and 3-year-olds – is the $50,000 Black Gold.

Santa Anita. Race 6. 6:00. Good placement of feature, the $100,000 Santa Ysabel. Dream Tree, winner of Grade 1 Starlet last year and Grade 2 Las Virgenes last time, looks to stay unbeaten and possibly add her name to recent greats winning this race.

Gulfstream. Race 14. 6:09. The day’s feature is $400,000 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth, which carries 100 points to the winner toward a spot in the Kentucky Derby field. Good Magic broke his maiden in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and secured the divisional title. How good will he be this year? After the 1 1/16 miles of this heat we’ll know more. We’ll also know how good the other nine entered might be.

Gulfstream’s publicity department also put out a video with interviews from eFive Racing’s Bob and Casi Edwards. Check it out.

Oaklawn. Race 9. 6:09. Gettysburg, Gun Runner’s former workmate and the pacesetter who set up Creator’s victory in the 2016 Belmont Stakes, tries again in 1-mile allowance after fading in first start off five-month break last time.

Turfway Park. Race 6. 8:45. Bound For Nowhere broke his maiden last winter at Turfway then won an allowance at Keeneland to earn trips to Royal Ascot and Deauville. He’s back in Northern Kentucky this winter and stands out in 6-furlong allowance for Wesley Ward.