Archive for April 2017

2017 Elusive Quality Stakes Preview

Sorry, fans of the Big A.  The spring meet on the outer course has drawn to a close, and this weekend New York racing resumes ten miles northeast, at Belmont Park. Anchoring Saturday’s card there is the Elusive Quality Stakes, a $150,000 event challenging older horses to run a distance and configuration rare at North... Read more »

MULTIPLIER Takes the Illinois Derby; RECOUNT, MY MERTIE Conquer Illinois-Breds

Spring is the season of rebirth.  On a crisp, sunny April day, a local tradition came back to life: the Illinois Derby (G3) returned after a year’s absence, with a well-matched field of three-year-olds seeking to become the next breakout star. Two other stakes races, both Illinois-bred sprints that were also absent from the 2016... Read more »

2017 Illinois Derby Day Stakes Preview

All spring, Picks and Ponderings wandered around the country for three-year-old races.  This weekend, there’s no need: after all, the Illinois Derby returns to our backyard.  Once again, the race offers no Kentucky Derby points, so do not expect any of the Illinois Derby runners to progress to Louisville.  However, it would be no surprise to... Read more »

Hawthorne Carryover Pick 5 Analysis: April 15, 2017

In yesterday’s Hawthorne 2nd, seven-year-old Vantastic Magic won for the first time in thirty starts.  Few expected to see that, as he went off at 52/1 in a field of six. His massive upset also keyed an $8,918 carryover into today’s Pick 5 pool.  So, if you’re looking to cash a signer on April 15, take a... Read more »

Scott Becker Trainee Stand and Cheer, Six Others Probable for Illinois Derby

After a one-year absence, the Grade 3 Illinois Derby returns to Hawthorne this spring.  Official entries will be drawn for the race on Wednesday, April 19.  The race, a mile and an eighth on the dirt for three-year-olds, will be run on Saturday, April 22.  First post that day will remain at its regular time,... Read more »

2017 Fantasy Stakes and Arkansas Derby Preview

The Derby and Oaks prep seasons draw to a close this weekend in Hot Springs. Friday’s card at Oaklawn features the Fantasy Stakes (G3).  The Hot Springs spur of the Oaks trail has been wide open, and this year’s Fantasy field reflects that — twelve fillies will take their shot, and the field lacks a clear... Read more »

2017 Wood Memorial and Gazelle Stakes Preview

This Saturday, three different spurs of the Kentucky Derby trail and Kentucky Oaks trail draw to a close.  This piece focuses specifically on the pair of Grade 2 races in New York: the Wood Memorial and the Gazelle.  In addition to the Wood and the Gazelle, Picks and Ponderings also previews two other pairs of... Read more »

2017 Santa Anita Derby and Santa Anita Oaks Preview

With the injuries of Mastery and Unique Bella, the Derby and Oaks trails on the west coast have become the most muddled three-year-old series in an unclear year from coast to coast.  This Saturday’s races, the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and the Santa Anita Oaks (G1), present one more chance for starts to emerge on the... Read more »

2017 Blue Grass Stakes and Ashland Stakes Preview

The Derby Trail is nearing its end. This weekend features the second to last Saturday of Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks points preps, and they will run from coast to coast.  This piece focuses on the pair of points preps at Keeneland: the Ashland (G1) for the fillies, and a loaded renewal of the Blue Grass... Read more »