Archive for March 2017

2017 Florida Derby and Gulfstream Park Oaks Preview

Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet culminates this Saturday with Florida Derby day.  The Florida Derby always draws interest — and two of its last four winners have gone on to wear the roses.  With the year’s Derby picture as fuzzy as it is, such a recently live prep will draw even more interest. In addition, its... Read more »

2017 Louisiana Derby and Fair Grounds Oaks Preview

The Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks draw closer, and we move into the final phases of each track’s prep series.  This piece focuses on the final preps at Fair Grounds: the Louisiana Derby (G2) and the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). The Derby prep series and the Oaks prep series have had different complexions so... Read more »

More Carryovers Saturday at Hawthorne!

Yesterday, first-time starter Meadowlee’s Afleet won the 2nd race at Hawthorne, a $15,000 maiden claimer at six furlongs on the dirt.  The five-year-old Ohio-bred was a 60/1 longshot — and his victory keyed a carryover of both the Pick 5 and the early Pick 4 going into Saturday’s card at Hawthorne.  $6,289 carries over into the Pick... Read more »
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2017 Dubai World Cup Preview

Saturday’s card at Meydan features nine graded stakes races, including the $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup.  The World Cup attracted a field of fourteen dirt runners from all over the world, headlined by Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup winner ARROGATE.  Here, Paul and I discuss the field horse by horse, and present our selections... Read more »

Dubai World Cup Day Picks and Ponderings

Saturday, March 25 features the richest day in horse racing: Dubai World Cup day!  Albeit only metaphorically, Picks and Ponderings is there. The card features nine races, all graded stakes.  This piece will feature Nicolle Neulist’s analysis of the UAE Derby (G2) and the Dubai Turf (G1).  The UAE Derby is a Kentucky Derby points... Read more »

Scenes from Springtime at Hawthorne

The sun is out, and the dirt is freshly worked.  It's a good day to be at the track.
Hawthorne’s spring meet started on March 3, and I have been out there for every race day so far.  It’s my home track, and the evening post times mean I get to enjoy racing under the lights all the time. Between the beautiful horses, the thrilling action, and the friendly people, there is no place... Read more »
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2017 Rebel Stakes Preview

Saturday’s 57th running of the Rebel Stakes brings a field of eleven three-year-olds to contend for Kentucky Derby points (50-20-10-5) and their share of a $900,000 purse.  The Rebel is the third of Oaklawn’s four Kentucky Derby prep races.  The listed Smarty Jones Stakes and the Southwest Stakes (GIII) came before it, with the Arkansas... Read more »

2017 Santa Anita Handicap Day Preview

This Saturday, Picks and Ponderings goes west for a big day of racing — specifically, Big ‘Cap Day.  Anchored by the Santa Anita Handicap (G1), the card at Santa Anita features a total of five graded stakes races.  In addition to the Big ‘Cap, there are two other Grade 1 races: The Triple Bend for... Read more »

Friday's Double-Carryover Pick 5 at Hawthorne

The first two days of racing at Hawthorne were full of surprises, but last weekend’s chaos could be your gain.  No one hit the Pick 5 on either of the first two days of the meet, so there is a two-day carryover of $32,621 into Friday’s Pick 5 at Hawthorne. If you usually play the... Read more »
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Rethinking Illinois Champion Categories

Late last week, we published our votes for 2016 Illinois champions, along with rationale. Ever since compiling my ballot, I have had my mind on a shortcoming in the Illinois-bred awards categories.  Illinois should replace “Older Male” and “Older Female” with more specific categories that recognise older males and females that go route distances on the main track. There... Read more »