The Saturday Special – Oct. 28

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Now it’s crunch time. Less than a week until North America’s biggest two days of racing unfold at Del Mar for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

The show goes on elsewhere with the final Saturday cards of the autumn meetings at Belmont Park and Santa Anita Park taking center stage. The Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud brings you all the action from Long Island and Southern California, plus Closing Day at Keeneland and select racing from Woodbine, Laurel, Hawthorne, The Meadowlands and Golden Gate. We even tossed in a little Finger Lakes and Mahoning Valley for some variety.

Don’t forget the action overseas, which includes the start to the National Hunt season at Cheltenham (the first meeting is already in the books), the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster and the amazing Winx going for her third victory in the Group 1 Ladbrokes W. S. Cox Plate in Australia.

Here’s your primer for Saturday, Oct. 28. Take care and enjoy.

Moonee Valley. Race 6. 2:00 a.m. Set the alarm – or stay up late if the World Series runs over or if you’re on the West Coast – and see if Winx can win a third straight W. S. Cox Plate.

Cheltenham. Race 1. 9:00. And soon it will be March. The National Hunt season is back, the first meeting at Cheltenham started Friday, it continues here. Cogry wins the opener.

Newbury. Race 3. 9:15. Danehill Kodiak should make it two in a row as the Richard Hannon runner takes on 10 rivals in the Worthington’s ‘Indigo Leisure’ Stakes.

Cheltenham. Race 2. 9:35. Bedrock, a flat-bred son of Fastnet Rock, aims at his third in a row and continues his march to March.

Newbury. Race 4. 9:50. If you ever need new tires while you’re in Britain, make sure you get them from Bathwick Tyres. The company puts a lot of money into the sport. Here’s the Group 3 Bathwick Tyres Stakes for 2-year-olds.

Leopardstown. Race 4. 10:05. Making Light wins the Knockaire Stakes.

Cheltenham. Race 3. 10:10. We’ve been touting Double W’s for so long, we can put him down as a dependent on our tax returns. Maybe today is the day.

Doncaster. Race 4. 10:25. The Racing Post Trophy Stakes, a Group 1 stakes going a mile, offers a strong finale to the flat season. Roaring Lion, an undefeated American-bred son of Kitten’s Joy for John Gosden, takes on Saxon Warrior, an undefeated Japanese-bred for Aidan O’Brien. In search of a record, O’Brien unleashes four at the Group 1 stakes.

Cheltenham. Race 4. 10:45. The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle attracts 3-milers on their road to Cheltenham in March. Stick To The Plan looks stuck in at the weights, he carries a feathery 140.

Leopardstown. Race 6. 11:15. Two-year-olds take their shots at the Group 3 Eyrefield Stakes. Coolmore only entered two sons of Galileo.

Cheltenham. Race 5. 11:20. Alcala lost Sam Twiston-Davies two weeks ago. The favorite, aims to get back onto his winning streak here.

Leopardstown. Race 7. 11:50. Quality hurdler Ex Patriot, fourth in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, returns for a flat spin.

Cheltenham. Race 6. 11:55. Six swing at the novice hurdle. Mon Palois, Robbin’hannon and Calett Mad would make anybody’s list of top novices.

Mahoning Valley. Race 1. 12:15 p.m. Live racing returns to Northeastern Ohio with 1-mile maiden race for older fillies and mares.

Belmont Park. Race 1. 12:25. Double Cast looked to be on her way this spring and summer, then ran into a couple good ones at Belmont and Saratoga. She had no chance last time, stumbling at the break and could graduate in this spot going 10 furlongs on the grass.

Cheltenham. Race 7. 12:30. Fifty? Cracking Destiny won his Irish point-to-point by 50 lengths. He makes his debut for Nicky Henderson in the bumper. 

Keeneland Race Course. Race 1. 1:05. Closing Day card starts with $30,000 claimer going 7 furlongs. Grab some burgoo and bread pudding, last chance until April (not counting the January sale).

Belmont. Race 5. 2:37. One-mile maiden on the grass for 2-year-olds and everyone’s jumping in the pool.

Woodbine. Race 5. 2:59. Wild And Funny returns to the synthetic in 6-furlong maiden for 2-year-olds after two tries on the grass on NYRA circuit for Mark Casse.

Belmont. Race 6. 3:10. Barclay Tagg sends out the Jersey Town filly Golden Vale in 6-furlong maiden on the turf. Check out what he said about the chestnut filly this summer in his Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour.

Santa Anita Park. Race 1. 3:15. Final Saturday card of the meet starts with 9-furlong turf allowance. Pistol Packin Rose not only has a cool name but a good record, 2-2-3 in nine starts this season for Doug O’Neill.

Keeneland. Race 5. 3:18. Blue Lute stretches out and adds Lasix for second start on the grass for Brian Lynch. Midnight Lute colt chased Snapper Sinclair, who is on the also-eligible list for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, in 5 1/2-furlong debut at Saratoga. He’ll go 9 furlongs here; tall order.

Belmont. Race 7. 3:43. Big field of fillies and mares for Grade 3 Athenia going 1 1/16 miles on the grass. My Impression took to Kentucky Downs last time, winning the One Dreamer, and is back in New York for another graded stakes try for Shug McGaughey. Decked Out also returns to New York. California-based filly finished close fourth to Breeders’ Cup-bound Avenge in Grade 1 Rodeo Drive last time for Keith Desormeaux.

Finger Lakes. Race 7. 4:04. Charlton Baker ships So Noted north from Belmont looking for a win in 6-furlong state-bred allowance.

Belmont. Race 8. 4:16. Miss Sky Warrior, the third choice when eighth of 14 in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, makes her first start since that day against older fillies and mares in Grade 3 Turnback The Alarm. A decent group awaits, including Verve’s Tale, Birdatthewire and Eskenformoney.

Keeneland. Race 7. 4:24. Mr Cub, who broke his maiden at last year’s fall meet, drops back to allowance ranks and cuts back to 1 mile after fifth in Jefferson Cup last time for Ian Wilkes. Good field includes pair for the Ramseys and Mike Maker – Bingo Kitten and Gorgeous Kitten – on the outside.

Woodbine. Race 8. 4:37. Familiar foes Southern Ring, River Maid, Minks Aprise and Moonlit Promise meet New York shipper Stormy Victoria in Grade 3 Ontario Fashion going 6 furlongs on the synthetic.

Belmont. Race 9. 4:49. The Breeders’ Cup Sprint is next week but the Grade 3 Bold Ruler features a couple that wouldn’t have been out of line to be among the pre-entries. Divining Rod, Mr. Crow, Seymourdini, Stallwalkin’ Dude and Tom’s Ready are all capable on their best days. And don’t forget Beasley, a 3-year-old set for stakes return after back-to-back allowance wins.

Keeneland. Race 8. 4:57. Shar Run, who topped Thursday Keeneland winner Miss Kentucky in maiden race in late April at Churchill, makes belated return in 6-furlong allowance. What about Fun? Second in the Schuylerville in 2016, she’s back in main track sprint for first time since fourth in the Grade 1 Spinaway last September.

Laurel Park. Race 10. 5:00. All that Monavista Crossing does is win. She’s 6-for-9, including four of five on the grass, and West Virginia-bred daughter of Hunt Crossing looks tough against 5 1/2-furlong turf allowance.

Santa Anita. Race 5. 5:18. Bob Baffert said this week he’d like more distance for Hoppertunity than the 1 mile of the $70,000 Comma To The Top Stakes offers, but he figures he needs to start somewhere with multiple Grade 1 winner. Small stakes is a prep for the Grade 1 Clark and he’ll need to beat stablemate Irish Freedom and the in-form Top Of The Game.

Belmont. Race 10. 5:22. The $100,000 Awad offers chance for the not-quote-ready 2-year-old turf horses to get some black type as opposed to the oversubscribed Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. War Chest impressed winning first out for Shug McGaughey and $500,000 son of War Front looks to make it 2-for-2.

Keeneland. Race 9. 5:30. Final stakes of the meet – the Grade 2 Hagyard Fayette – is a good one with Honorable Duty, McCraken, Neolithic and The Player all in the mix.

Santa Anita. Race 6. 5:49. Painting Corners is 2-for-2 on the downhill turf course and looking good from post 11 in filly and mare allowance.

Keeneland. Race 10. 6:03. Well Humored might get her chance to run on grass; she blitzed field in off-the-turf maiden race at Delaware Park last time. Daughter of Distorted Humor takes on Into Summer, Lovin Empire, Awesome Song and others in meet finale going 1-mile allowance on the grass.

Hawthorne Race Course. Race 6. 6:30. The amazing run of Voodoo Song came to an end in Grade 3 Commonwealth Derby last time at Laurel. The son of English Channel, who won three races at Saratoga, finished second by less than a length that day and is back for $100,000 Hawthorne Derby.  

Santa Anita. Race 8. 6:49. Next week’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile deservedly receives the attention but races like this, a 7-furlong maiden in late October, can also produce horses to watch for next year’s spring classics. Bob Baffert  unveils a pair in McKinzie and Paint Me Lucky while Jerry Hollendorfer sends out Shivermetimbers.

Golden Gate Fields. Race 7. 7:04. The $75,000 Pike Place Dancer might be the spot for Multiplayer to land stakes win after two close tries in Southern California.

Santa Anita. Race 9. 7:19. No Breeders’ Cup this year in Arcadia? No problem, the show goes on with the Grade 2 Twilight Derby – a usual fixture on one of the Breeders’ Cup undercards. Field of 11 3-year-olds includes Sharp Samurai, Big Score and Bowies Hero, the first three from the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby, and eastern shippers Cowboy Culture (Brad Cox), Just Howard (Graham Motion), Channel Maker (Bill Mott) and Profiteer (Shug McGaughey). Cool race.

Santa Anita. Race 11. 8:19. Proper field of Cal-breds for the finale, only instead of a maiden claimer this is maiden special weight going 1 mile on the grass. Get out with Copper Wind.

Meadowlands. Race 7. 8:30. Good field for 1-mile turf allowance. Hawana finished fifth in a similar spot last month for Graham Motion and might be worth a look at a price against the likes of If You Say So, Mo Justice and Fuerza.