Weekend Stakes Rundown: El Areeb Back at Aqueduct

Weekend Stakes Rundown: El Areeb Back at Aqueduct
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA
El Areeb wins the Jerome Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct Racetrack

Each week BloodHorse.com looks forward to the weekend's biggest races. Consider this your weekly guide to the best stakes races in North America. This week we have full slates of stakes at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park, and a Triple Crown prep in New York. Races are listed in chronological order (all times Eastern) and full previews are available through the links below.

Saturday, Feb. 4

2 p.m.—$200,000 Swale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park

Three Rules, the standout colt of the Florida-bred crop last year, will make his 2017 debut. Last year over the local track, Three Rules tore through the lucrative Florida Sires races of the six-furlong Dr. Fager Stakes, seven-furlong Affirmed Stakes, and 1 1/16-mile In Reality Stakes, earning $600,000 for the breeder/owner team of Bert Pilcher's Shade Tree Thoroughbreds, Geoff Roy,  and Tom Fitzgerald.

Swale S. (G2)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, February 04, 2017, Race 5
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo
  • 2:00 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Derek's Smile (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEmisael Jaramillo116Kelly J. Breen15/1
22Sonic Mule (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez120Todd A. Pletcher7/2
33Three Rules (FL)Cornelio H. Velasquez120Jose Pinchin7/5
44Favorable Outcome (KY)Javier Castellano116Chad C. Brown8/5
55Vanish (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoel Rosario120Mark E. Casse12/1
66Impressive Edge (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateLuis Saez116Dale L. Romans15/1

2:30 p.m.—$200,000 Forward Gal Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park

Pretty City Dancer is also set to make her sophomore debut. The daughter of Tapit   has not raced since finishing in a dead-heat victory with Sweet Loretta in the Sept. 3 Spinaway Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course and she was given the rest of 2016 off due to a minor training setback.

Forward Gal S. (G2)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, February 04, 2017, Race 6
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 2:30 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11My Lerler (FL)Jose Lezcano116Antonio Cioffi30/1
22Tequilita (KY)Luis Saez120Michael R. Matz12/1
33Bode's Dream (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez120Todd A. Pletcher4/1
44Pretty City Dancer (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJulien R. Leparoux122Mark E. Casse7/5
55Brahms Cat (FL)Luca Panici116Larry Bates30/1
66Ms Locust Point (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoel Rosario120John C. Servis5/1
77Wildcat Kate (FL)Eduardo O. Nunez120Kathleen O'Connell6/1
88Summer Luck (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJavier Castellano116Mark E. Casse6/1
99Lirica (FL)Edgard J. Zayas120Antonio Sano20/1

4 p.m.—$150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park

Without a clear favorite among the five entered, trainer Doug O'Neill—who has three of the five—is hopeful any or all of his horses will seize an opportunity to move forward. The O'Neill trainees share only three wins between them, but each has shown at least a glimmer of reason to think more talent might be there.

Robert B. Lewis S. (G3)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, February 04, 2017, Race 2
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $150,000
  • 3 yo
  • 12:59 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Royal Mo (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateVictor Espinoza120John A. Shirreffs5/2
22Irap (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill3/1
33Dangerfield (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKent J. Desormeaux122Doug F. O'Neill7/2
44Term of Art (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Baze124Doug F. O'Neill9/2
55Sheer Flattery (KY)Mike E. Smith120Jerry Hollendorfer2/1

4:20 p.m.—$250,000 Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct Racetrack

After three straight dominating wins, including an 11 1/4-length score in the Jerome Stakes (G3) Jan. 2, El Areeb is back for another Aqueduct score. El Areeb has won his past three starts by a combined 25 1/4 lengths. He rolled to a maiden win in a six-furlong test Oct. 15 at Laurel Park in his third attempt and then won the James F. Lewis III Stakes at the same distance there Nov. 19 to close out the year.

Withers S. (G3)

Aqueduct Racetrack, Saturday, February 04, 2017, Race 8
  • 1 1/16m
  • Inner track
  • $250,000
  • 3 yo
  • 4:20 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11True Timber (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKendrick Carmouche116Kiaran P. McLaughlin8/1
22Apartfromthecrowd (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateIrad Ortiz, Jr.116Chad C. Brown5/1
33Jaime's Angel (NY)Alan Garcia116Richard Metivier50/1
44El Areeb (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTrevor McCarthy122Cathal A. Lynch6/5
55Bonus Points (MD)Manuel Franco116Todd A. Pletcher12/1
66Fillet of Sole (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRajiv Maragh116Todd A. Pletcher10/1
77Always a Suspect (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateAntonio A. Gallardo116Kiaran P. McLaughlin20/1
88Small Bear (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDylan Davis118Gary Sciacca30/1
99Square Shooter (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFrankie Pennington118Michael Lerman12/1
1010J Boys Echo (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRobby Albarado116Dale L. Romans4/1

4:30 p.m.—$200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park

At the head of the short cast is Altamira Racing Stable's St. Joe Bay, a dead-heat winner of the Midnight Lute Stakes (G3) with Solid Wager at 6 1/2 furlongs Dec. 31. The 5-year-old gelding by St. Anddan preceded that effort with a score in a Del Mar allowance sprint Dec. 4.

Palos Verdes S. (G2)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, February 04, 2017, Race 3
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 1:29 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Ike Walker (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlavien Prat120Jerry Hollendorfer8/1
22Distinctive B (FL)Tyler Baze120Peter Miller7/2
33St. Joe Bay (FL)Kent J. Desormeaux122Peter Miller8/5
44Ocho Ocho Ocho (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateSantiago Gonzalez120James M. Cassidy7/2
55Moe Candy (KY)Victor Espinoza120John W. Sadler2/1

4:38 p.m.—$125,000 King Cotton Stakes at Oaklawn Park

Ivan Fallunovalot will look for a third score in the King Cotton and will seek his fifth consecutive victory. A quarter-crack sidelined him several months after last year's King Cotton. He returned to win a Sept. 1 allowance at Remington Park, defended his title in the David M. Vance Sprint Stakes Sept. 25 at Remington, and scored his biggest victory to date in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes (G3) Nov. 19 at Laurel.

King Cotton S.

Oaklawn Park, Saturday, February 04, 2017, Race 8
  • STK
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $125,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 4:38 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Helooksthepart (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoseph Rocco, Jr.115Daniel C. Peitz20/1
22Ivan Fallunovalot (TX)Calvin H. Borel122W. T. Howard6/5
33Mr. Z (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMarlon St. Julien115D. Wayne Lukas20/1
44Apprehender (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateAlex Birzer115Gene Jacquot10/1
55Storm Advisory (PA)Geovanni Franco115Robertino Diodoro10/1
66Conquest Twister (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateRicardo Santana, Jr.122Ron Moquett12/1
77Recount (IL)Chris Landeros122James P. DiVito6/1
88Rockport Kat (OK)Keeneland Sales GraduateRamon A. Vazquez122Robertino Diodoro5/2
99Crewman (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDidiel A. Osorio117Dee Poulos20/1

5:05 p.m.—$100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream Park

Having saddled the winners of the last five editions of the Sweetest Chant, trainer Chad Brown will look to add to his race-specific dominance when he leads over 9-5 morning line favorite Rymska. In her last start the filly finished fifth, beaten 3 1/4 lengths, by stablemate New Money Honey in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T).

Sweetest Chant S. (G3T)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, February 04, 2017, Race 11
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 5:05 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Okinawa (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJavier Castellano114Chad C. Brown6/1
22Tamit (IRE)Julien R. Leparoux114Mark E. Casse5/1
33Compelled (FL)Jose Lezcano118Thomas F. Proctor5/2
44Mo Justice (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Gaffalione114Christophe Clement10/1
55A Great Time (MD)Emisael Jaramillo114Michael J. Trombetta20/1
66Just Sassy (FL)Jorge Ruiz114David R. Brownlee50/1
77Rymska (FR)Joel Rosario118Chad C. Brown9/5
88Bahama Halo (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateLuis Saez114Todd A. Pletcher12/1
99Fifty Five (NY)Nik Juarez114Thomas M. Bush10/1

5:35 p.m.—$350,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park

Aside from his well-documented mental lapse at the start of the Hopeful Stakes (G1), where he dropped jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. out of the gate, Classic Empire has not had a misstep. He proved handy enough during his win in Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) to overcome a lousy break and still recover with an off-the-pace rally, and he just as easily can sit on or near the front end, as he did in both the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) and the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1).

Lambholm South Holy Bull S. (G2)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, February 04, 2017, Race 12
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $350,000
  • 3 yo
  • 5:35 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Gunnevera (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJavier Castellano122Antonio Sano9/2
22Perro Rojo (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateNik Juarez116Nicholas P. Zito30/1
33Classic Empire (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJulien R. Leparoux122Mark E. Casse3/5
44Talk Logistics (FL)Paco Lopez116Edward Plesa, Jr.12/1
55Irish War Cry (NJ)Joel Rosario120H. Graham Motion15/1
66Fact Finding (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez120Todd A. Pletcher6/1
77Shamsaan (KY)Luis Saez116Kiaran P. McLaughlin20/1
88Cavil (KY)Jose Lezcano116Kiaran P. McLaughlin15/1
99Fire for Effect (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey J. Lanerie116Dale L. Romans20/1

7 p.m.—$300,000 San Antonio Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park

Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman's Hoppertunity will look for his second straight score in the San Antonio. The 6-year-old, Bob Baffert-trained son of Any Given Saturday took the 2016 edition by a nose over Imperative and went on to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup, his second grade 1 score, in October at Belmont Park.

San Antonio S. (G2)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, February 04, 2017, Race 8
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $300,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 4:02 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Hoppertunity (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlavien Prat125Bob Baffert2/1
22Avanti Bello (CA)Mario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill12/1
983Prospect Park (KY)SCRATCHED0UNKNOWN-
34El Huerfano (CA)Victor Espinoza120Peter Miller12/1
45Mor Spirit (PA)Mike E. Smith122Bob Baffert3/1
56Dalmore (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateKent J. Desormeaux122J. Keith Desormeaux8/1
67Accelerate (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Baze125John W. Sadler5/2
78Hard Aces (KY)Santiago Gonzalez122John W. Sadler6/1

7:30 p.m.—$200,000 San Marcos Stakes (G2T) at Santa Anita Park

Only one horse in the field of 14 has been able to win back-to-back turf stakes—David Bienstock and Chuck Winner's Flamboyant. Texas Ryano, a 6-year-old son of Curlin   who won the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2T) last time out Nov. 25, could be added to that category with a win in the San Marcos.

San Marcos S. (G2T)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, February 04, 2017, Race 9
  • 1 1/4m
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 4:35 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11A Red Tie Day (KY)Corey S. Nakatani119Richard Baltas15/1
22Flamboyant (FR)Brice Blanc121Patrick Gallagher4/1
33Itsinthepost (FR)Tyler Baze119Jeff Mullins12/1
44Blue Tone (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMartin Garcia121Robert B. Hess, Jr.12/1
55Texas Ryano (KY)Joseph Talamo124Carla Gaines3/1
66Power Ped (KY)Stewart Elliott119Neil D. Drysdale20/1
987Gustnado (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateSCRATCHED0UNKNOWN-
78Perfectly Majestic (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKent J. Desormeaux119Robert B. Hess, Jr.10/1
989Conquest Daddyo (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateSCRATCHED0UNKNOWN-
9810Some in Tieme (BRZ)SCRATCHED0UNKNOWN-
811Isotherm (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlavien Prat119George Weaver6/1
912Hi Happy (ARG)Altair Domingos119Felipe N Souza10/1
1013Twentytwentyvision (KY)Mike E. Smith119Richard E. Mandella6/1
1114Frank Conversation (KY)Mario Gutierrez124Doug F. O'Neill6/1

Sunday, Feb. 5

4:30 p.m.—$200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park

Champagne Room will be in a unique position in the Las Virgenes. The champion 2-year-old filly of 2016 and the 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner likely won't be favored. The horse of the moment, Unique Bella, off back-to-back freakish performances, should assume that mantle.

Las Virgenes S. (G2)

Santa Anita Park, Sunday, February 05, 2017, Race 6
  • 1m
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 1:28 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Mopotism (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlavien Prat118Doug F. O'Neill6/1
22Champagne Room (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMario Gutierrez123Peter Eurton5/2
33Mistressofthenight (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey S. Nakatani118Richard Baltas15/1
44Unique Bella (PA)Keeneland Sales GraduateMike E. Smith120Jerry Hollendorfer3/5
55Miss Southern Miss (KY)Kent J. Desormeaux118J. Keith Desormeaux6/1

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