Archive for September 2015

2015 Jockey Club Gold Cup Preview

Though Picks and Ponderings is devoting most of its space this weekend to Fall Stars at Keeneland, as there are graded stakes there on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  However, we take one detour this weekend.  Absent from the plethora of Breeders’ Cup preps in Lexington is a race for the handicap division.  That set, instead,... Read more »

2015 Fall Stars Friday Preview: Alcibiades Stakes and Phoenix Stakes

Once again, the fall meet at Keeneland gets underway with Fall Stars weekend: a series of nine graded stakes races over the first three days of the meet that attract top horses in each division.  Fall Stars always has Breeders’ Cup implications, due to its timing, but this year those implications loom particularly large.  Not... Read more »

Illinois-bred Multiple Graded Stakes Winner Free Fighter Retired

After a racing career that spanned 77 races over nine seasons, Illinois-bred Free Fighter has been retired. The ten-year-old son of Out of Place, out of Illinois blue hen Taxable Deduction, won three graded stakes races during his career: the Stars and Stripes Stakes (GIII) at Arlington in both 2009 and 2011, and the Louisville... Read more »

Notte d' Oro, Key To Power are Victorious in Closing Day Stakes

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — On a picture-perfect Autumn afternoon, Arlington International ended its yearly meet with a pair of stakes.  Both stakes were on the turf, contested at a mile, and for three-and-up types.  Females went first in the Melanie Frances Stakes while open company followed a half-hour later in the Teleprompter. Melanie Frances Stakes: NOTTE... Read more »

2015 Beldame Stakes Day Preview

This year’s fall Breeders’ Cup prep races at Belmont are split into two weekends.  This weekend features the first set of them: five graded stakes races, of which two are Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In events.  A pair of Grade I events provides automatic berths to the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland next month: the... Read more »

2015 Teleprompter Stakes & Melanie Frances Stakes Preview

Arlington International runs it final day of racing for the year this upcoming Saturday, and the northwest suburban oval is giving its fans – and bettors – a going-away present.  A pair of stakes, each worth fifty thousand dollars for horses aged three and up, serve as co-features on the program.  Each race is slated... Read more »

2015 Pennsylvania Derby Day Stakes Preview

The latest handicapping whistlestop for Picks & Ponderings takes us to Philadelphia and to Parx Racing.  Once again, two million dollar races go back-to-back on the program at Parx as their Fall Festival, and the year as a whole, reaches its high point.  The two million dollar races are for the three-year-olds in the G1 Cotillion... Read more »

2015 Woodbine Mile Day Preview

This week Picks & Ponderings is going green.  We’re not talking ways to help the planet, but instead the greenery of grass. Monday’s (rescheduled from Saturday Sept. 12) program at all-turf Kentucky Downs is previewed by Nicolle Neulist, which is headlined by the G3 Kentucky Turf Cup and three ungraded stakes on their undercard.  This... Read more »

2015 Kentucky Turf Cup Day Preview

With the end of Saratoga and Del Mar, summer begins to fade into the fall.  However, the time for top-notch turf racing has not yet drawn to a close, and Picks and Ponderings focuses almost exclusively on the grass. The day’s racing action features four six-figure stakes races, headlined by the Grade III Kentucky Turf... Read more »

2015 Hopeful Stakes and Bernard Baruch Handicap Preview

This Monday, September 7th, the Saratoga meet draws to a close.  The Labor Day card features a pair of graded stakes races to close the meet: the Hopeful Stakes (GI) for juveniles, and the Bernard Baruch (GII) for older grass horses.  Though the Baruch lacks the sparkle of last year’s — Wise Dan is making... Read more »