Weekend Stakes Rundown: One Step Closer to the Derby
Photo: Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir
Girvin is the favorite in the Louisiana Derby

Each week BloodHorse.com looks forward to the weekend's biggest races. Consider this your weekly guide to the best stakes in North America. This week we have cards loaded with stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and Gulfstream Park, Dortmund's return to dirt, and more. Races are listed in chronological order (all times Eastern) and full previews are available through the links below.

Saturday, April 1

1:24 p.m.—$200,000 Appleton Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream Park

Following two efforts on dirt, Stronach Stables' Delta Prince, a half brother to champion filly Royal Delta, was switched to the grass and broke his maiden first out in December. He came back to score an allowance victory at Gulfstream in February.

Appleton S. (G3T)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, April 01, 2017, Race 4
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 1:24 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Diamond Bachelor (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateNicky Figueroa119Patrick L. Biancone10/1
22Our Way (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez121H. James Bond2/1
33All Included (KY)Javier Castellano119Todd A. Pletcher9/5
44My Point Exactly (FL)Paco Lopez119Elizabeth L. Dobles12/1
55Market Outlook (KY)Nik Juarez117Nick J. Mastronardi, Jr.30/1
66Siding Spring (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJulien R. Leparoux117Mark E. Casse8/1
77Delta Prince (KY)Jose L. Ortiz117James A. Jerkens3/1

1:53 p.m.—$200,000 Orchid Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream Park

Olorda had a short but productive season in 2016, when she won Gulfstream's The Very One Stakes (G3T) and Bewitch Stakes (G3T) in her only two starts a year ago, besting eventual grade 1 winners Dacita and Al's Gal in the process.

Orchid S. (G3T)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, April 01, 2017, Race 5
  • 1 3/8m
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 4 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 1:53 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Olorda (GER)Javier Castellano119Chad C. Brown9/5
22Summersault (NY)Paco Lopez119Mark A. Hennig7/2
33Temple Fur (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEdgar S. Prado119Jessica J. Campitelli4/1
44Maquette (KY)Jose L. Ortiz117William I. Mott5/2
55Quiet Kitten (KY)Luis Saez117Dale L. Romans5/1

4:25 p.m.—$300,000 Honey Fox Stakes (G2T) at Gulfstream Park

After dispatching fellow grade 1 winner Catch a Glimpse in her 2017 debut, Moyglare Stud Farm's Celestine will look to continue her roll by defending her title in the Honey Fox. The 5-year-old Scat Daddy mare was impressive in the Sand Springs Stakes March 3 at Gulfstream, where she set the pace, never gave in to the pressing Catch a Glimpse, and pulled clear to win by two lengths.

Honey Fox S. (G2T)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, April 01, 2017, Race 10
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $300,000
  • 4 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 4:25 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Lori's Store (FL)Javier Castellano119Martin D. Wolfson6/1
22Dad's Princess (KY)Luis Saez117Patrick L. Biancone15/1
33Inside Out (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduatePaco Lopez117Martin D. Wolfson15/1
44Josdesanimaux (FL)John R. Velazquez119Ralph E. Nicks8/1
55Celestine (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJose L. Ortiz121Christophe Clement3/5
66Mississippi Delta (KY)Jose Lezcano119Mark E. Casse8/1
77Linda (KY)Julien R. Leparoux123Ian R. Wilkes5/1

4:39 p.m.—$400,000 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds

Honorable Duty will try for a third straight stakes win at the Fair Grounds meeting and the most prestigious victory of his career. He enters Saturday's 1 1/8-mile test for older horses off a half-length score over International Star in the Mineshaft Handicap (G3) Feb. 25 at Fair Grounds.

New Orleans H. (G2)

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Saturday, April 01, 2017, Race 8
  • 1 1/8m
  • Dirt
  • $400,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 3:39 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Breaking Lucky (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateLuis Contreras118Reade Baker8/1
22Iron Fist (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDavid Romero Flores116Steven M. Asmussen6/1
33International Star (NY)Tyler Gaffalione118Michael J. Maker6/1
44Honorable Duty (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJames Graham119Brendan P. Walsh6/1
55Aglimpseofgabby (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateC.J. McMahon112Dallas E. Keen50/1
66Hawaakom (KY)Miguel Mena118Wesley E. Hawley4/1
77Roman Approval (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRajiv Maragh114Michael J. Maker12/1
88Mo Tom (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRobby Albarado115Thomas M. Amoss10/1
99Noble Bird (KY)Florent Geroux121Mark E. Casse7/2
1010Eagle (KY)Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.118Neil J. Howard6/1

4:57 p.m.—$250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) at Gulfstream Park

Overlooked prior to her 14-1 upset of the Forward Gal Stakes (G2) six weeks ago, Dorothy Alexander Matz's homebred Tequilita figures to be one of the horses to beat when she returns to Gulfstream Park for the Oaks.

Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, April 01, 2017, Race 11
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $250,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 4:57 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Conquest Sorceror (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMiguel Angel Vasquez122Rasharn Creque50/1
22Tequilita (KY)Luis Saez122Michael R. Matz5/1

5:06 p.m.—$300,000 Muniz Memorial Handicap (G2T) at Fair Grounds

A trio of Mike Maker-trained graded stakes winners, two owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, will face eight others when they line up for the Muniz. With graded stakes-placed Roman Approval, Maker has a total of four entrants in the approximately 1 1/8-mile turf test.

Muniz Memorial H. (G2T)

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Saturday, April 01, 2017, Race 9
  • About 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $300,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 4:06 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Enterprising (FL)Tyler Gaffalione119Michael J. Maker5/1
22Blarp (KY)Miguel Mena114Thomas M. Amoss8/1
33Sky Flight (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRichard E. Eramia114Michelle Lovell20/1
44Roman Approval (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRajiv Maragh115Michael J. Maker8/1
55One Mean Man (KY)James Graham115Bernard S. Flint8/1
66Granny's Kitten (PA)Shaun Bridgmohan119Michael J. Maker6/1
77Pumpkin Rumble (PA)Mitchell Murrill114Gary M. Scherer20/1
88Kasaqui (ARG)Robby Albarado118Ignacio Correas, IV7/2
99Bullards Alley (KY)Marcelino Pedroza116Tim Glyshaw12/1
1010Oscar Nominated (KY)Florent Geroux119Michael J. Maker4/1
1111Special Ops (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateBrian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.113Brad H. Cox15/1

5:41 p.m.—$400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) at Fair Grounds

Coffee Pot Stables' homebred Farrell will look to score her fourth straight stakes win and keep her status atop the Road to the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard. Already assured a spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs May 5 with 70 qualifying points, the Malibu Moon   filly could cement her status as the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) favorite.

Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (G2)

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Saturday, April 01, 2017, Race 10
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $400,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 4:41 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Majestic Quality (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRichard E. Eramia122J. Keith Desormeaux6/1
22Daria's Angel (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRobby Albarado122W. Bret Calhoun6/1
33Wicked Lick (KY)Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.122Brendan P. Walsh12/1
44Corporate Queen (KY)Florent Geroux122Mark E. Casse5/1
55Vexatious (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKent J. Desormeaux122Neil D. Drysdale6/1
66Farrell (KY)Channing Hill122Wayne M. Catalano8/5
77Summer Luck (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduatePatrick Husbands122Mark E. Casse9/2
88Queen Bernardina (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMiguel Mena122W. Bret Calhoun20/1

6:06 p.m.—$200,000 Pan American Stakes (G2T) at Gulfstream Park

The first three finishers out of the Jan. 28 W. L. McKnight Handicap (G3T) will again face one another in the Pan American. Taghleeb, who got the job done in the McKnight with a driving rally from well off the pace, will be going for his third straight black-type victory. He also won the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes in December.

Pan American S. (G2T)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, April 01, 2017, Race 13
  • 1 1/2m
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 6:06 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Designed for War (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoel Rosario117Michael J. Maker10/1
22Sadler's Joy (KY)Julien R. Leparoux117Thomas Albertrani3/1
33Taghleeb (KY)Jose L. Ortiz123Michael J. Maker7/2
44Snag (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez117Todd A. Pletcher15/1
55Patterson Cross (KY)Jose Lezcano117William I. Mott4/1
66Reporting Star (FL)Javier Castellano119Brendan P. Walsh6/1
77Montclair (IRE)Nik Juarez119Armando De la cerda12/1
88Mr Maybe (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduatePaco Lopez119Chad C. Brown5/1

6:21 p.m.—$1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds

In a Triple Crown prep season that has been full of chaos, Brad Grady's Girvin will hope to supply a bit of stability. The Tale of Ekati   colt has played his part in the chaos. Last time out he upset the Risen Star Stakes (G2) at odds of 8-1, but will have to play the favorite in Fair Grounds' final prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).

Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2)

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Saturday, April 01, 2017, Race 11
  • 1 1/8m
  • Dirt
  • $1,000,000
  • 3 yo
  • 5:21 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Patch (KY)Tyler Gaffalione122Todd A. Pletcher9/2
22Hollywood Handsome (KY)Francisco C. Torres122Dallas Stewart12/1
33Local Hero (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlorent Geroux122Steven M. Asmussen7/2
44Senior Investment (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateChanning Hill122Kenneth G. McPeek12/1
55Monaco (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRajiv Maragh122Todd A. Pletcher12/1
66Guest Suite (KY)Robby Albarado122Neil J. Howard4/1
77Sorry Erik (KY)Kent J. Desormeaux122J. Keith Desormeaux30/1
88Girvin (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateBrian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.122Joe Sharp8/5
99Hotfoot (KY)James Graham122Joe Sharp30/1

6:40 p.m.—$1 million Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park

Even as trainer Antonio Sano considers the Gunnevera's greatest challenge yet, from a difficult outside post under Javier Castellano, his confidence is unwavering. "We're going to be dropping to the rail," Sano said. "Castellano knows what to do. He knows this track better than anyone. And my horse comes from behind, so it's not a problem for us."

Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, April 01, 2017, Race 14
  • 1 1/8m
  • Dirt
  • $1,000,000
  • 3 yo
  • 6:40 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11State of Honor (ON)Julien R. Leparoux122Mark E. Casse8/1
22Talk Logistics (FL)Joe Bravo122Edward Plesa, Jr.30/1
33Charlie the Greek (FL)Leonel Reyes122Mikhail Yanakov50/1
44Always Dreaming (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez122Todd A. Pletcher4/1
55Quinientos (KY)Carlos Montalvo122Enrique A. Sanchez50/1
66Coleman Rocky (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJose L. Ortiz122Gustavo Delgado30/1
77Unbridled Holiday (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateNik Juarez122Patrick L. Biancone30/1
88Impressive Edge (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey J. Lanerie122Dale L. Romans12/1
99Battalion Runner (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez122Todd A. Pletcher3/1
1010Three Rules (FL)Luis Saez122Jose Pinchin8/1
1111Gunnevera (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJavier Castellano122Antonio Sano9/5

7 p.m.—$75,000 Santana Mile at Santa Anita Park

In the March 11 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (G1T)—his first start for trainer Art Sherman and the first grass try of his career—Dortmund looked uncomfortable on the turf throughout and never seriously threatened, so he'll switch back to the surface where he's won eight races in the Santana Mile.

Santana Mile S.

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, April 01, 2017, Race 8
  • STK
  • 1m
  • Dirt
  • $75,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 4:10 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Magic Mark (CA)Joseph Talamo120Ronald W. Ellis8/1
22Dalmore (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateStewart Elliott122J. Keith Desormeaux8/1
33Dortmund (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateVictor Espinoza120Art Sherman6/5
44Clever Royal (FL)Corey S. Nakatani120Kristin Mulhall12/1
55Collected (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMartin Garcia120Bob Baffert3/1
66Mithqaal (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRafael Bejarano122Doug F. O'Neill8/1
77Avanti Bello (CA)Flavien Prat122Doug F. O'Neill9/2

Sunday, April 2

5:17 p.m.—$200,000 Top Flight Invitational Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct Racetrack

William Schettine's Isabelle showed she could handle stakes competition with two wins in her last three starts. She now will see if that success translates to a higher level. The 6-year-old Successful Appeal   mare went gate to wire for an impressive 12-length victory last time out in the Heavenly Prize Invitational Stakes March 4.

Top Flight Invitational S. (G3)

Aqueduct Racetrack, Sunday, April 02, 2017, Race 8
  • 1 1/8m
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 4 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 5:17 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Disco Rose (PA)J. D. Acosta116Robert E. Reid, Jr.20/1
22Oasis At Midnight (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRajiv Maragh116Joseph F. Orseno20/1
33Verve's Tale (KY)Paco Lopez123Barclay Tagg5/2
44Isabelle (NY)Kendrick Carmouche123William I. Mott8/5
55Mo' Green (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateIrad Ortiz, Jr.116John C. Servis3/1
66Winter (KY)Trevor McCarthy118Cathal A. Lynch5/1

7 p.m.—$100,000 Tokyo City Cup (G3) at Santa Anita Park

With a relatively short turf prep race under his belt, Michael House's Big John B will attempt to repeat his 2016 victory in the 1 1/2-mile dirt test. Also a two-time grade 2 winner on grass, the son of Hard Spun   has run on dirt just twice in 16 starts for trainer Phil D'Amato—he has 15 wins from 41 starts overall—but he's won them both.

Tokyo City Cup S. (G3)

Santa Anita Park, Sunday, April 02, 2017, Race 8
  • 1 1/2m
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 4:07 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Beach View (MD)Keeneland Sales GraduateStewart Elliott120Leonard Powell5/1
22Infobedad (ARG)Tyler Baze120John W. Sadler5/1
33Hi Happy (ARG)Tiago Josue Pereira120Felipe N Souza5/2
44Irish Surf (KY)Flavien Prat120Dan L. Hendricks12/1
55Big John B (FL)Rafael Bejarano122Philip D'Amato8/5
66Hard Aces (KY)Santiago Gonzalez124John W. Sadler7/2

Most Popular Stories