2019 Belmont Stakes Preview and Saturday Stakes Selections

This year’s Triple Crown season has been a rollercoaster.  The Derby featured its first-ever disqualification of a first-place finisher for interference in the race, after Maximum Security drifted out to interfere with War of Will, Bodexpress, and Long Range Toddy.  Two weeks later, in the Preakness, War of Will found his redemption. Bodexpress, on the... Read more »

2019 Belmont Gold Cup Preview and Belmont Thursday-Friday Stakes Selections

As the Breeders’ Cup is in the fall, the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival is at the end of spring. The weekend has established itself as American racing’s top midyear showcase, and the action begins Thursday. Picks and Ponderings will, of course, turn its eyes toward Belmont this week.  In addition to fully previewing the Belmont Gold Cup here,... Read more »

2019 Arlington Matron Preview

The Arlington Matron, nowadays the only nine-furlong polytrack stakes for fillies and mares, will be run for the eighty-second time this year.  Several past and present local stakes namesakes have counted the Arlington Matron among their victories.  Pucker Up (1957) has a turf stakes run in her name on Arlington Million Day, Old Hat (1965) still... Read more »
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Santa Anita Memorial Day Grade 1 Triple

With the Memorial Day holiday, this weekend stretches to Monday.  Locally, it means a holiday race card at Arlington on Monday.  (Chicago Race of the Day can help keep you on top of that!)  Nationally, it means the three Grade 1 races of the weekend all happen on Monday.  They’re all at Santa Anita.  The... Read more »

Announcing: Chicago Race of the Day

There’s Grade 1 action at Santa Anita coming up on Monday, so that’s where we’ll be looking with our race previews. But, if you’re looking for racing analysis sooner and closer to home, you’re in luck!  This spring I’ve started a podcast called Chicago Race of the Day, in which I discuss one race every... Read more »

2019 Preakness Stakes Preview

For the first time since Grindstone in 1996, the Kentucky Derby winner won’t be in the Preakness, since Country House bowed out a few days after the Derby.  Even so, this Saturday’s Preakness is a race worth getting excited about.  It drew a field of 13, with a fascinating mix of Derby horses hoping to... Read more »
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2019 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Preview

This week, horse racing shifts its attention to Old Hilltop.  We, as well, will turn our focus there: this piece will examine Friday’s feature, the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) for three-year-old fillies.  In a separate piece, we take a horse-by-horse look at Saturday’s Preakness Stakes. The Black-Eyed Susan began its life in 1919 as a... Read more »

Versatile LANIER Dominates Hanshin Cup, Becomes Trainer Santangelo's First Stakes Winner

When he claimed Lanier for $40,000 from a race at Churchill last November, trainer Brett Santangelo had one place in mind: Florence, Kentucky. “We claimed him because I was going to Turfway for the winter and he had a ton of good synthetic form over there last year.  We thought he may be able to... Read more »

2019 Hanshin Cup Preview

Saturday, the stakes season at Arlington gets underway with the Grade 3 Hanshin Cup.  Now a $100,000 race for three-year-olds and up, going the one-turn mile over the Arlington polytrack, this race was originally christened in 1941 for Equipoise, a Hall of Fame racehorse whose stakes wins included a pair of top-notch local triumphs: the 1933... Read more »
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2019 Kentucky Derby Preview and Saturday Churchill Downs Stakes Selections

It’s finally here, after months of prep races: the Kentucky Derby!  As we do here every year, Picks and Ponderings will give you the scoop on every horse in the field. If you’re specifically interested in who’s coming into the Derby (and the Oaks!) hot, and who isn’t, Nicolle has a piece over at the TwinSpires blog that delves into... Read more »