2019 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Preview

The final set of Breeders’ Cup preps has drawn to a close, but there is still plenty of classy racing going on between now and the Breeders’ Cup at the end of the month.  Picks and Ponderings keeps it green this weekend, previewing a pair of nine-furlong turf stakes.  This preview will focus on the... Read more »

Fall Stars Saturday Picks and Ponderings

Here in Chicago, it’s almost time for racing to resume; Hawthorne’s meet gets underway on October 10, with entries drawing October 7.  But, it’s as lively in Lexington as it is calm in Chicago, with Keeneland’s fall meet getting underway this weekend. Saturday’s card at Keeneland is a suitably excellent one: eleven races total, including... Read more »

2019 Rodeo Drive Stakes Preview, Plus Belmont and Santa Anita Stakes Selections

Breeders’ Cup prep hits fever pitch on Saturday, with stakes-laden cards at both Belmont and Santa Anita that have serious Breeders’ Cup implication.  Here at Picks and Ponderings, we’ll take a detailed look at the Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1), a Win and You’re In race (and local prep) for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare... Read more »
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2019 Pennsylvania Derby and Cotillion Stakes Preview

Saturday is the biggest day of the year at Parx: Pennsylvania Derby Day.  The card features a pair of million-dollar Grade 1 races for three-year-olds: the Pennsylvania Derby and the Cotillion Stakes.  Both races often serve as final preps for three-year-olds before tackling older foes in the Breeders’ Cup.  And, as a nod to that,... Read more »

2019 Pocahontas Stakes and Iroquois Stakes Preview

Surprise!  The leaves haven’t turned yellow yet, it’s still hot and humid this week, but the Road to the Kentucky Derby and the Road to the Kentucky Oaks both begin on Saturday at Churchill Downs, with the Iroquois Stakes (G3) for open two-year-old company, and the Pocahontas Stakes (G2) for juvenile fillies.  Both races offer... Read more »

2019 Arlington-Washington Futurity and Arlington-Washington Lassie Preview

The stakes portion of this summer’s Arlington meet draws to a close Saturday afternoon with a pair of juvenile races: the Arlington-Washington Futurity and the Arlington-Washington Lassie.  The races, seven-furlong listed polytrack stakes that offer purses of $75,000, are both the only two-year-old stakes on the calendar, and are once again the first juvenile races... Read more »
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2019 Hopeful Stakes Preview

Though the beginning of the meet keeps getting earlier every year, it seems, we can still depend on Labor Day as the last day at the Spa.  The meet draws to a close Monday, though not before The Hopeful has been a fixture at Saratoga since 1904, and nowadays it is the first Grade 1... Read more »

2019 Spinaway Stakes Preview

This is closing weekend at Saratoga, and the featured races for the final two days of the meet are a pair of Grade 1 races for juveniles.  Sunday’s feature is the Spinaway, a $350,000 race for two-year-old fillies, going seven furlongs on the dirt.  In a separate piece, we will also look at Monday’s Hopeful... Read more »

2019 Travers Stakes Preview

This Saturday’s card at Saratoga is the biggest of the meet, and features the meet’s cornerstone race: the Grade 1 Travers Stakes. Colloquially dubbed the Mid-Summer Derby, the Travers has been run at Saratoga since 1864.  The race has always been named after William R. Travers, president of the Saratoga Racing Association when the race... Read more »
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2019 Pacific Classic Preview

Saturday marks the 29th edition of the Pacific Classic, Del Mar’s marquee race for the handicap division. The race has always been contested at a mile and a quarter over the Del Mar main: polytrack from 2007 through 2014, and dirt otherwise.  The race offers a $1,000,000 purse, as well as a Win and You’re... Read more »