Iowa Festival of Racing Preview: Thursday

This weekend, Picks and Ponderings takes a [figurative] road trip to Iowa for the Iowa Festival of Racing.  The Festival has been stretched across three days this year, with two stakes races on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  The focus of this preview will be Thursday’s stakes races: the Saylorville, a listed sprint for distaff dirt... Read more »

A Winning Homecoming for SARAH SIS in the Chicago Handicap

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — Just as we had not seen the Chicago Handicap at Arlington since the summer of 2014, we had not seen SARAH SIS here on race day since then.  Two years ago, as a juvenile, SARAH SIS marked herself a rising star right here on the local polytrack.  She won her debut by... Read more »

2016 Ohio Derby Preview

Once upon a time, Ohio had at least one graded stakes race. (In fact, more than one when counting action from downstate River Downs – now Belterra Park.) The richest of those races was the Ohio Derby, named for the state in which our race resides, and contested at Thistledown near Cleveland. The Ohio Derby... Read more »

2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita and Triple Bend Stakes Preview

Saturday’s card at Santa Anita features a pair of Grade I races, which form the focus of this piece.  The handicap division takes the spotlight in The Gold Cup at Santa Anita, a mile and a quarter test that offers a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic to its winner.  Extended sprint specialists also get... Read more »

2016 Chicago Handicap Preview

Our feature race this week at Arlington is the Grade Three, $100,000 Chicago Handicap on the polytrack.  Named for the urban area an hour west of Arlington International, the race has comfortably settled into  a late-June/early-July fixture. It carries a Grade 3 ranking, a purse of $150,000, and is a solid race on the calendar... Read more »

STORMIN ELLE, CAMMACK Reward Patient Connections with Stakes Wins at Arlington Park

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — Earlier this year, CAMMACK and STORMIN ELLE each returned to the racetrack after being laid off for over a year.  CAMMACK returned at Tampa Bay Downs in February, was second in his first start back, and then had rattled off a pair of wins leading into today.  STORMIN ELLE’s return had been... Read more »

Royal Ascot, Day Five: Diamond Jubilee Stakes Preview

Royal Ascot, five days of top-class turf racing, draws to a close on Saturday.  Continuing our look at the Group I events of the meet, this piece looks at Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Back on American shores, Paul Mazur has a look at stakes racing at two different tracks.  Saturday’s card at Arlington features a... Read more »

2016 Black Tie Affair Handicap and Mike Spellman Memorial Handicap Preview

Throughout the week, Picks & Ponderings has been on the green and pondering races from across the pond at Royal Ascot.   And Picks & Ponderings previews the action from Royal Ascot, with Nicolle Neulist diving into the Friday and Saturday action.  Back stateside, the marquee big event is the Stephen Foster Handicap Day at Churchill... Read more »

Royal Ascot, Day Four: Commonwealth Cup and Coronation Stakes Preview

Today, Picks and Ponderings returns to Royal Ascot for the second to last day of the meet.  The day’s card features a pair of Group I races for sophomores: the Commonwealth Cup for open three-year-old sprinters, and the Coronation Stakes for filly milers. Saturday’s final day of Royal Ascot features one final Group I race... Read more »

2016 Stephen Foster Handicap Day Preview

The Triple Crown season is over. Now what? Horse racing moves from its spring season to its summer season, and there’s a Kentucky Derby winner to celebrate. Trainer Doug O’Neill, who campaigned 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, will be on hand to accept his Kentucky Derby Trophy.  In fact, O’Neill’s appearance is mixed with the... Read more »