Archive for February 2016

A Tangible Reminder of Tough Times

News broke Wednesday that Hawthorne will probably cut stakes races from their spring schedule. I have spent the last few days trying to find a way to talk about this.  I’m still not sure I have the right words, so much as I have sadness.  Frustration.  Anger. I have a litany of feelings that I... Read more »

2016 Fountain of Youth and Davona Dale Stakes Preview

Myths of the Fountain of Youth have come in many forms over the centuries.  However, for one weekend a year, the Fountain of Youth is a reality. This Saturday’s card at Gulfstream Park features South Florida’s next steps down both the Derby trail and the Oaks trail.  Open sophomores will contest the Fountain of Youth... Read more »

2016 Busher Stakes Preview

The modern standard of sophomore filly campaigns is usually cited as Rachel Alexandra or Ruffian.  Predating and perhaps eclipsing both of them was Busher, who is honored with  a stakes in her name at the Big A.  Busher turned in a three-year-old campaign for the ages with a win against her own gender in the... Read more »
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2016 Risen Star and Rachel Alexandra Preview

This week, we follow the Derby Trail and the Oaks Trail to the Big Easy. Things got underway with a pair of ten-point preps last month, the LeComte (GIII) and the Silverbulletday.  They up the ante this time around with the Risen Star for Derby-bound types, and the Rachel Alexandra for the fillies.  Not only... Read more »

2016 Southwest Stakes Preview

President’s Day often means a day off school for the kids and a great sale on a mattress.  As it’s a Monday, it’s often taken as part of a three-day weekend.  Picks & Ponderings tackled the racing at the start of the weekend with Paul Mazur looking at the G3 El Camino Real Derby from... Read more »

Illinois-breds Lovely Loyree, Missalaney Face Stakes Company in Tampa

TAMPA  — This Saturday is Festival Preview Day from Tampa Bay Downs at Tampa Bay Downs.  During the stakes portion of the card, two Illinois-breds will get their chance to show their best. Lovely Loyree faces graded stakes company for the first time in tomorrow’s Endeavour Stakes (GIII), a mile and a sixteenth turf race... Read more »
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2016 Sam F. Davis Stakes Day Preview

Most of the time, when we “take a trip” to cover a race outside of the Chicago area, that trip is figurative. Not so, this weekend.  This half of Picks and Ponderings has flown south to Tampa Bay Downs for this weekend’s Sam F. Davis day card. In addition to the Grade III Sam F.... Read more »

2016 El Camino Real Derby Preview

This week, love is in the air. Oh sure, Valentine’s Day is soon and that holiday’s obvious connotations.  But it’s also a weekend with three Kentucky Derby prep races and a chance to fall in love with a horse you can root for the in the Derby.  Whether you plunked down cash in the futures,... Read more »

2016 Robert B. Lewis and Las Virgenes Stakes Preview

The western spurs of both the Derby trail and the Oaks trail continue at Santa Anita this weekend. Derby-bound types will begin to show who really likes going a route of ground, stretching out to a mile and a sixteenth for the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (GIII). Headlining the field for the Lewis is Bob... Read more »
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2016 Donn Handicap and Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap Preview

Picks & Ponderings kicks off February with a coast-to-coast examination of sophomore races and Grade One races.   Out west, Nicolle Neulist will look at the three-year-olds in the G2 Las Virgenes for fillies and the G3 Robert B. Lewis for the boys, with the races providing Oaks and Derby points, respectively.  Another chance at Oaks... Read more »