The Saturday Special – May 13

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Kentucky Derby winner Mage is on target for next weekend’s 148th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. Coady Photography.

Turn the page. Another memorable Kentucky Derby in the books – for both the right and a few wrong reasons – and time to look ahead to next week’s Preakness Stakes. If it were only that simple.

Some of the shrapnel from Derby Week remains, with five scratches including the morning-line favorite and an uncomfortable amount of equine fatalities still casting a shadow over the great race. How great was or is the race? Consider the numbers below to see what the event means to America.

Now we turn the page. Everyone wants to know if Mage can win the Preakness. We know for sure that he’s on track to at least run in it, something we didn’t get last year from the connections of Rich Strike.

But before we get to any of that there’s another big Saturday of racing, here and abroad, from Ascot to Woodbine, Belmont to Santa Anita and so much more. Here’s the primer for Saturday, May 13. Enjoy and good luck.

By the Numbers

150,335: Attendance for Saturday’s 149th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

106,381: Attendance for last Friday’s Kentucky Oaks.

14.4 million: Viewers that tuned into NBC to watch the Derby, down 9 percent from last year but still one of the best non-football sports broadcasts of the year.

288.7 million: Dollars in all-sources handle on the Kentucky Derby Day program, breaking last year’s record of $273.8 million.

188.7 million: Wagering dollars on the Kentucky Derby, also a record and topping the previous mark of $179 million set in 2022.

412 million: Dollars in all-sources handle for Derby Week, topping last year’s record $391.8 million.

74.9 million: Dollars in all-sources betting on Kentucky Oaks Day, topping last year’s record $74.6 million.

Worth Repeating

“It still really hasn’t sunk in that we won the Kentucky Derby. It’s been a surreal last few days. The most important thing is the horse looks great. He’s kept his weight and relaxed when training.”
Co-owner and assistant trainer Gustavo Delgado Jr. on Derby winner Mage

“I’ll never forget the feeling (turning for home in front). The view of the stretch, the crowd and the feeling I was going to win.”
Jockey Jareth Loveberry, who rode Two Phil’s to a runner-up finish in the Kentucky Derby

“His race in the Derby wasn’t bad. I’ve got more respect for him now than ever, because he was close to a very fast pace. He was in hand. He looked like he was comfortable. But it was just a little too fast and that compromised his finish. It’s that simple. This is no fault of James, (but) if we’re 3 or 4 lengths back – one more second, in other words – we have horse to finish and the whole outcome could be totally different. I don’t blame James because I’m the one who trained him, and we were putting speed in his works. We were aggressive in his works, so that’s my fault. I had him a little too keen, and that’s why he didn’t finish.”
Trainer Keith Desormeaux on Derby 10th-place finisher Confidence Game and jockey James Graham

Handicapper’s Report

Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Weekend didn’t treat the This is Horse Racing and The Saratoga Special handicapping team too well, although Sean Clancy was able to come up with six winners over the two days. Sean added to his team-leading haul with four winners on Derby Day – Zozos in the Knicks Go, General Jim in the Pat Day Mile, Cody’s Wish in Churchill Downs and Up To The Mark in Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic.

Rob Whitlock sits alone in second with four winners, after coming up with three winners Saturday in General Jim, Cody’s Wish and Up To The Mark.

Joe Clancy, Jessica Paquette, Paul Halloran, John Shapazian and Tom Law have three winners and Charles Bedard has two.

The Bankroll Challenge participants came up with spotty results on the weekend. Jessica still shows a profit of $159. Rob couldn’t parlay a positive Oaks Day into Saturday but remains second with losses of $51.75. Charles scraped by Saturday, cashing one wager but losing his others. He’s third with losses of $230.60. John and Tom didn’t cash a bet, and are down $300 in mythical wagers.

We’ll reset for Preakness Weekend, since we’re talking mythical money anyway.

As for the races …

Ascot. Race 1. 8:35 a.m. Veteran Mill Green hit the board at Cheltenham and Aintree. The 11-year-old carries top weight in the Long Distance Hurdle.

Ascot. Race 3. 9:40. The indomitable Accidental Agent continues his 9-year-old season in the Victoria Cup, a granite 23-horse handicap. An upset win would inch him ever closer to the $1 million echelon.

Haydock. Race 4. 10:15. The Swinton Handicap Hurdle offers a cool $120,000 for 2-mile hurdlers. Irish raider Byker should rebound from a second at Cheltenham in March.

Haydock. Race 5. 10:50. The dual-purpose card continues with the Pertemps Network Spring Trophy, a 7-furlong dash for the likes of hard-hitting Angel Bleu and The Wizard Of Eye.

Navan. Race 5. 11:05. Aidan O’Brien adds blinkers to Covent Garden for the Yeats Stakes. Stablemate Peking Opera returns for his 3-year-old season at 7-5.

Pimlico Race Course. Race 1. 12:25 p.m. Hi Ho Pimlico. Our team will be out in force next weekend, check back in this space for all the picks and previews of the 148th Preakness Day and supporting stakes Friday and Saturday.

Monmouth Park. Race 1. 12:40. Now it’s starting to feel like summer. The opener on Opening Day at the Jersey Shore, a 6-furlong optional and a field of eight.

Belmont Park. Race 5. 3:07. The Grade 1 Man o’ War kicks off trio of graded stakes. Godolphin and Charlie Appleby have enjoyed successful raids of U.S. turf stakes and look to add another with Warren Point, who takes on Red Knight, Channel Maker, Soldier Rising and others in 11-furlong turf stakes.

Gulfstream Park. Race 6. 3:27. Never too soon for a juvenile turf stakes, and here’s the $100,000 Royal Palm Juvenile at 5 furlongs. Six make their debut with the Bretheren colt Reaper the lone winner in the field of 10.

Belmont. Race 6. 3:40. All eyes on the Preakness next week but what about four weeks from now and the Belmont Stakes? Sophomores look to punch ticket to that race here in the Grade 3 Peter Pan. Field of nine includes the 2-for-2 Bishops Bay, Sunland Park Derby third Henry Q (with Frankie Dettori) and Wood Memorial fifth Classic Catch.

Pimlico. Race 8. 3:57. Miss Carol Ann finds softer spot for second U.S. start here in $58,000 allowance optional going 1 mile on the grass.

Monmouth. Race 8. 4:05. Eight line up for the $100,000 Long Branch, including once aspiring classic hopefuls Slip Mahoney, Haynes Strike, Ninetyprcentmaddie and Coffeewithchris.

Woodbine. Race 8. 4:48. Our Flash Drive, Miss Speedy and Ambassador Luna pack pretty strong punch for Mark Casse in the Grade 3 Whimsical at 6 furlongs on the synthetic. Our Flash Drive, a winner on the grass last summer at Saratoga, is just as good on synthetic with three wins in four starts.

Gulfstream. Race 9. 5:01. Similar situation in the $100,000 Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies as the prior stakes in South Florida, with seven making their debut and the Khozan filly She Has Class the lone winner in the field of 11.

Belmont. Race 9. 5:18. Drafted returns to defend title in the Grade 3 Runhappy. Last year’s renewal was one of four victories for the 9-year-old gelding, who comes in off back-to-back defeats. Good field also includes Twisted Ride, Beren and Candy Man Rocket.

Churchill Downs. Race 10. 5:26. Gaslight Dancer looks to add $225,000 William Walker to his victory last time out in the Palisades at Keeneland. Son of City Of Light faces familiar foes in Two Of A Kind, Chiringo, Crispy Cat, Private Creed and No Nay Hudson – who finished second through sixth, respectively – in the Palisades.

Santa Anita Park. Race 9. 8:11. Dicey Mo Chara stretches out some more and takes on Offlee Naughty and others in Grade 3 San Luis Rey going 12 furlongs.

Prairie Meadows Race Track. Race 7. 9:42. Second day of the meet and the featured $50,000 Goldfinch for 3-year-old fillies.

Charles Town Races. Race 7. 10:02. Great Spirit saw his unbeaten run come to an end last time and tries to get back on track here in the $75,000 Coin Collector for 3-year-old West Virginia-breds. Son of Great Notion takes on seven here, including Juba’s Notion and Honeyquist.