Zoe Metz

Weekend Stakes Rundown: Arrogate Returns

Four graded stakes at Santa Anita Park highlight the weekend.

Each week 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 four graded stakes at Santa Anita Park, the first Triple Crown prep of 2017, and more. Races are listed in chronological order (all times Eastern) and full previews can be found through the link for each race.

Saturday, Dec. 31

3:01 p.m.—$75,000 Tropical Park Derby at Gulfstream Park

Oscar Nominated is set to finish off a productive 2016 campaign. The Kitten's Joy  ridgling has amassed nearly $600,000 during a sophomore campaign that included three stakes triumphs, as well as a start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). He captured the Black Gold Stakes over the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots turf course in February before he earned a berth in the Kentucky Derby with a victory in the Spiral Stakes (gr. III) over Turfway Park's synthetic surface in March.

Entries: Tropical Park Derby

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 31, 2016, Race 7

  • STK
  • 1 1/16m
  • Turf
  • $75,000
  • 3 yo
  • 3:01 PM (local)
11J R 's Holiday (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEmisael Jaramillo120Jose Garoffalo20/1
22Berliner (KY)Paco Lopez118Nicholas Gonzalez10/1
33Mighty Mo (KY)Angel Cruz116William I. Mott15/1
44Franklin Towers (KY)Corey J. Lanerie120Jane Cibelli15/1
55Two Step Time (FL)Tyler Gaffalione120Michael J. Maker15/1
66Gimlet (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEdgard J. Zayas116Todd A. Pletcher6/1
77Tonedaddy (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateLane J. Luzzi116John Mattine30/1
88Inspector Lynley (KY)John R. Velazquez122Claude R. McGaughey III4/1
99Oscar Nominated (KY)Julien R. Leparoux120Michael J. Maker3/1
1010Giant Run (MD)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoe Bravo120Thomas Albertrani15/1
1111Stockyard (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEddie Castro116Todd A. Pletcher12/1
1212Strike Midnight (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJose Lezcano116Leah Gyarmati9/2
1313Direct Message (KY)Joe Bravo116Thomas Albertrani10/1

4:29 p.m.—$100,000 Midnight Lute Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita Park

With top California sprinter Masochistic denied entry in the wake of his post-race positive after the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), five will head postward in the $100,000 Midnight Lute Stakes (gr. III) for a chance at an initial graded score. Reddam Racing's Jimmy Bouncer looks to make the most of the opportunity, coming off back-to-back victories—a Nov. 18 allowance/optional claiming race sprinting five furlongs on the Del Mar lawn and the Harris Farms Stakes on the Fresno dirt.

Entries: Midnight Lute S. (G3)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, December 31, 2016, Race 3

  • Grade III
  • 6 1/2f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 1:29 PM (local)
11Tough Sunday (CA)Tyler Baze120Steven Miyadi7/2
22Solid Wager (CA)Victor Espinoza122Peter Miller8/1
33St. Joe Bay (FL)Kent J. Desormeaux120Peter Miller9/5
44Navy Hymn (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRafael Bejarano118Richard Baltas5/2
55Jimmy Bouncer (CA)Mario Gutierrez122Doug F. O'Neill5/2

4:59 p.m.—$100,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita Park

Arles will take another crack at adding an elusive graded stakes prize to her list of accomplishments. The 4-year-old Monsun filly finished second in her first two starts in North America, both grade III tests on grass. In her United States debut, she finished second to Suffused in the Glens Falls Stakes Sept. 3 at Saratoga Race Course before again securing runner-up honors in the Red Carpet Handicap Nov. 24 at Del Mar.

Entries: Robert J. Frankel S. (G3T)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, December 31, 2016, Race 4

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 1:59 PM (local)
12Keri Belle (KY)Norberto Arroyo, Jr.122John A. Shirreffs6/1
23Frenzified (GB)Santiago Gonzalez122James M. Cassidy6/1
34Arles (FR)Joel Rosario120H. Graham Motion9/5
45Pretty Girl (ARG)Drayden Van Dyke120Paulo H. Lobo5/1
56Ryans Charm (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRafael Bejarano125Patrick Gallagher4/1
67Goodyearforroses (IRE)Corey S. Nakatani122Richard Baltas6/1
78Into The Mystic (IRE)Flavien Prat120Richard E. Mandella6/1

7 p.m.—$300,000 American Oaks (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park

Trainer Graham Motion, who has made a habit of swooping in to win graded grass races in Southern California, will look to add another to the list. Queen Blossom will represent Motion in the American Oaks, her first U.S. start. Under the care of previous trainer P.J. Prendergast, Queen Blossom won the Lodge Park Stud E.B.F. Park Express Stakes (Ire-III) to start her 2016 campaign in March, but finished a well-beaten fifth and sixth in two subsequent stakes starts in Ireland before moving to Motion's barn at Fair Hill Training Center.

Entries: American Oaks (G1T)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, December 31, 2016, Race 8

  • Grade IT
  • 1 1/4m
  • Turf
  • $300,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 4:00 PM (local)
11Lady Valeur (IRE)Rafael Bejarano119Patrick Gallagher15/1
22Stays in Vegas (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlavien Prat121Jerry Hollendorfer7/2
33Dreamarcher (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateLuis Contreras119Jerry Hollendorfer30/1
44How Unusual (CA)Norberto Arroyo, Jr.119Michael Pender30/1
55Cheekaboo (CA)Mike E. Smith121Peter Eurton8/1
66Sassy Little Lila (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateLuis Saez119Brad H. Cox9/2
77Decked Out (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKent J. Desormeaux121J. Keith Desormeaux4/1
88Queen Blossom (IRE)Joel Rosario121H. Graham Motion9/2
99Mrs. Norris (KY)Victor Espinoza119Eoin G. Harty30/1
1010Sheeza Milky Way (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJamie Theriot119Peter Eurton12/1
1111Dynamic Mizzes K (KY)Corey S. Nakatani119Mark Glatt30/1
1212Barleysugar (IRE)Tyler Baze119Edward R. Freeman12/1
1313Mokat (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDrayden Van Dyke121Richard Baltas6/1

Sunday, Jan. 1

1:30 p.m.—$100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park

Delta Bluesman will attempt to return to winning form in the six-furlong test, following a disappointing sixth in the Nov. 5 TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I). The soon-to-be 7-year-old son of Wagon Limit, who has been training sharply at Gulfstream Park West, earned his way into the Breeders' Cup Sprint with a win in the Smile Sprint Stakes (gr. II), a "Win & You're In" race, July 2.

Entries: Mr. Prospector S. (G3)

Gulfstream Park, Sunday, January 01, 2017, Race 4

  • Grade III
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 1:30 PM (local)
11El Deal (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez119Francisco D'Angelo6/1
22Squadron A (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey J. Lanerie117Dale L. Romans10/1
33Candip (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Gaffalione121Michael A. Tomlinson5/1
44Yourdreamsormine (FL)Paco Lopez121Milton W. Wolfson6/1
55Shaft of Light (ON)Edgard J. Zayas121Jorge Navarro2/1
66Delta Bluesman (FL)Emisael Jaramillo123Jorge Navarro9/5

7 p.m.—$200,000 San Pasqual Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park

California Chrome had his prep for the Pegasus World Cup (gr. I) Dec. 17 at Los Alamitos Race Course. Now it's Arrogate 's turn across town. Juddmonte Farms' gray colt, who upended California Chrome's undefeated season Nov. 5 in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), hopes to use the San Pasqual as a springboard to the $12 million race Jan. 28. Fellow grade I winner Midnight Storm  looms as a potential challenger in the San Pasqual.

Entries: San Pasqual S. (G2)

Santa Anita Park, Sunday, January 01, 2017, Race 8

  • Grade II
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 4:00 PM (local)
11Prospect Park (KY)Norberto Arroyo, Jr.120Clifford W. Sise, Jr.10/1
22Accelerate (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Baze125John W. Sadler8/1
33Dalmore (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateKent J. Desormeaux122J. Keith Desormeaux20/1
44Midnight Storm (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRafael Bejarano125Philip D'Amato4/1
55Arrogate (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMike E. Smith125Bob Baffert1/5

Monday, Jan. 2

3:50 p.m.—$150,000 Jerome Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack

El Areeb and six other newly minted 3-year-olds will seek points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in the mile-and-70-yard, inner-track test. The stakes-winning Exchange Rate colt is coming off of a front-running 5 1/4-length score in the Nov. 19 James F. Lewis Stakes at Laurel Park. One race prior, an Oct. 15 six-furlong maiden special weight race, he also took the lead immediately out of the gate and hit the wire 8 3/4 lengths in front.

Entries: Jerome S. (G3)

Aqueduct Racetrack, Monday, January 02, 2017, Race 8

  • Grade III
  • 1m 70y
  • Inner track
  • $150,000
  • 3 yo
  • 3:50 PM (local)
11Bonus Points (MD)Manuel Franco116Todd A. Pletcher15/1
22Everybodyluvsrudy (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateAngel S. Arroyo116Rudy R. Rodriguez8/1
33Takaful (KY)Jose L. Ortiz116Kiaran P. McLaughlin1/1
44True Timber (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKendrick Carmouche116Kiaran P. McLaughlin12/1
55The Walk (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDylan Davis116Thomas Albertrani20/1
66El Areeb (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTrevor McCarthy120Cathal A. Lynch3/1
77Win With Pride (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateIrad Ortiz, Jr.116Todd A. Pletcher6/1