2014 McKnight Handicap Day Stakes Preview

On the 26th of December, Santa Anita opens for its meeting with its traditional opening day feature of the G1 Malibu Stakes. And Nicolle breaks down the three graded stakes on the Friday Santa Anita program. With the opening of Santa Anita, it’s the start (if not already in earnest) of the winter racing season... Read more »

2014 Malibu Stakes Day Preview

The Winter/Spring Meet at Santa Anita traditionally begins the day after Christmas, and this year is no exception.  With the beginning of the new season come the final chances for three-year-olds to run against their own age group before being turned loose in the older horse divisions come January 1st.  The opening day card features... Read more »

2014 Prairie Bayou Stakes Preview

With the stakes season at Hawthorne over for the winter, Paul headed west to check in on some promising juveniles running in the Los Alamitos Futurity (GI).  I head southeast to Turfway Park, which drew a full field of three-and-up types ready to go eight and a half furlongs on the polytrack for their share... Read more »

2014 Los Alamitos Futurity Preview

Only one graded stakes is contested in the United States this weekend, yet it’s a goodie.  The G1 Los Alamitos Futurity is that graded stakes race and the focus of this space.  The name might throw a racing newcomer off, but this Grade One is essentially the CashCall Futurity at a different venue. For what... Read more »

2014 Jim Edgar and Pat Whitworth Recap

STICKNEY/CICERO — It is mid-December at Hawthorne, but one would hardly know it.  The mercury edged close to fifty degrees, and not a flake of snow could be found on the ground.  The crowd was lively, particularly due to the celebration for race caller Peter Galassi, who was calling his 65,000th race this weekend.  Though... Read more »

2014 Starlet Stakes Preview

The focus out east is on the older set.  A group of three-and-up dirt sprinters clashes in the Sugar Swirl Stakes (GIII) at Gulfstream, opening the graded stakes portion of their winter meet.  Start heading west, and the focus falls more and more sharply on the two-year-old set.  Saturday at Hawthorne is the final stakes... Read more »

2014 Edgar Futurity & Whitworth Debutante Preview

Typically, the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity and Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante are positioned as the last two stakes of the season in Chicago.  In recent years, the girls have gone a week before the boys and the Edgar is the year’s last stakes.  This year, both stakes share a single date. Once again, the Edgar... Read more »

2014 Sugar Swirl Stakes Preview

This week features the last two stakes of the year in Chicago, the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity and Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante for Illinois-bred juveniles. This week also features a seminal Grade One for frosh fillies, the Starlet Stakes (formerly Hollywood Starlet) from Los Alamitos. And for the second straight week, Picks & Ponderings also... Read more »

2014 Lightning Jet and Powerless Recap

STICKNEY/CICERO – On a mild, breezy December day at Hawthorne, the older state-breed sprinters took the spotlight.  Both co-featured stakes races today were for Illinois-breds, going six furlongs on the dirt.  The Lightning Jet was not restricted by sex; the Powerless was restricted to fillies and mares.  With last year’s Lightning Jet winner Work All... Read more »

2014 Claiming Crown Day Preview

We at Picks & Ponderings often focus our time and energies on stakes races in these handicapping previews. (We didn’t forget about you again, Hawthorne. We have a preview of this week’s Hawthorne Illinois-bred features, too.) Yet, when full card selections are done, claiming races are covered as well.  For an explanation of a claiming... Read more »
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