2019 Hal's Hope Stakes Preview

Racing may still be on hiatus in Chicago for another three weeks, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t following locals in big races.  This Saturday’s card at Gulfstream is anchored by the Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3), a race that marks the four-year-old debut of Illinois-bred rising star Sir Anthony. The son of Mineshaft, owned by... Read more »

2019 Risen Star and Rachel Alexandra Stakes Preview

If you’re on the road to the Kentucky Derby or the Kentucky Oaks, the ante has gone up.  The next round of three-year-old preps begins on Saturday at Fair Grounds, with the Risen Star Stakes (G2) and the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2).  Both of those races offer 50-20-10-5 points, respectively, to their top four finishers... Read more »

2019 Sam F. Davis Stakes Day Preview

This weekend, the Derby trail visits Tampa Bay Downs — and so does Picks and Ponderings.  We visit in a sense of writing this preview of all four stakes races on Saturday’s card.  But, we also visit in a literal sense.  This half of P&P will be on the ground at Tampa Bay Downs, so make sure to follow... Read more »
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2019 Holy Bull and Forward Gal Stakes Preview

This week, Picks and Ponderings stays in Hallandale Beach, and looks at a pair of three-year-old points races. Gulfstream has been a live spur of the Kentucky Derby trail in recent years, and the first of its prep series is this Saturday’s Holy Bull Stakes (G2).  The race offers a $350,000 purse, as well as... Read more »

Pegasus World Cup and Pegasus World Cup Turf Preview, and Saturday Gulfstream Stakes Selections

For the two years since its inception, the Pegasus World Cup Invitational has been the world’s richest horse race, with a $12 million purse in 2017 and $16 million the year later.  Both times, the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner has come back triumphant in South Florida: Arrogate won the inaugural running, and Gun Runner... Read more »

2019 Lecomte S. and Silverbulletday S. Preview

This week the Derby trail and the Oaks trails wind through New Orleans.  For the Oaks-bound, Saturday’s card features the $150,000 Silverbulletday stakes at a mile and seventy yards on dirt. One race later, Louisiana’s spur of the Derby trail begins with the Lecomte Stakes (G3), a $200,000 race over the same mile and seventy... Read more »
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Hawthorne Closing Day, 1.12.19: Full-Card Picks and Analysis

Even though the Hawthorne Thoroughbred meet ran two weeks longer than usual, even such good things must inevitably end.  Saturday, January 12 marks the final day of the fall meet.  Unlike last winter there will be no harness meet through January and February; Thoroughbred horses who stay in town will still be allowed to stable... Read more »

2019 Sham Stakes Preview

Arlington Park has a Grade 1 turf race named after the hero of the 1973 Triple Crown series.  Santa Anita, on the other hand, has a Grade 3 dirt race — an early-stage Derby prep — named after that year’s perpetual bridesmaid.  Perhaps if Sham were born in any other year, his name would be nestled... Read more »

Hawthorne Race 8 Preview: Super High Five Mandatory Payout

Though the meet at Hawthorne Race Course runs through Saturday, January 12, state law dictates that all carryover pools must pay out at the end of the calendar year.  Today is Hawthorne’s last race day of 2018, meaning the $52,170 carryover in the Super High Five pool has to go, no matter how many winning tickets... Read more »
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2018 Malibu Stakes and La Brea Stakes Preview, and Wednesday Stakes Selections

Southern California horse racing gets back underway at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday, December 26, after a ten-day break. The card features five stakes races, including the pair of Grade 1 races for three-year-olds that have become the cornerstone of Santa Anita’s December opening day.  The pair of top-level races includes the Malibu, a seven-furlong... Read more »