Each week BloodHorse.com looks forward to the weekend's biggest races. This week, we have the return of Eclipse Award finalist Finest City, Sunshine Millions races at Gulfstream Park, the first Fair Grounds Triple Crown prep, and more.
Daddy Nose Best, a smashing stakes winner in his first start over the turf at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, returns to the New Orleans track as the top weight in the $125,000 Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap (gr. IIIT).
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas looks to continue his hot streak in the $125,000 Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, sending out Optimizer in the Jan. 26 turf test for older males.
Stella Perdomo's Musketier, three-time winner of the Singspiel Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Woodbine Race Course, headlines a field of 11 turf marathoners in the $150,000 Stars and Stripes Stakes (gr. IIIT) July 14 at Arlington.
Phipps Stable's Boisterous, third in the Manhattan Handicap on the Belmont Stakes undercard, will carry high weight as he heads a field of 11 turf specialists in $200,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) July 14.
Fair Grounds Race Course has boosted the purses of eight open-company races on its 2012-2013 stakes schedule released June 28, marking the third straight year the average stakes purse has increased at the New Orleans oval.
Casino Host, with a well-timed ride by John Velazquez, closed with determination on the outside to post a half-length win in the $400,000 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds April 1.
Smart Bid, who has claimed both of his graded stakes wins over the Fair Grounds turf course, will try to defend his Mervin H. Muniz Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) title against nine others in the $400,000 turf race on April 1
Eight-year-old gelding Dubious Miss has been close to winning graded stakes numerous times on Fair Grounds' turf course, and he will be given another shot Jan. 21 when he takes on seven in the Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap.
Daniel Sullivan, president of The Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation, announced Feb. 14 that Giant Oak had been named the state's 2010 Horse of the Year and champion older handicap male.
Schramsberg, a son of Storm Cat out of the champion Serena's Song, registered his first graded stakes victory when in the $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Sam Houston Houston Race Park Jan. 29.
Strike Again and Gran Estreno, separated by less than a length last month, are among the top choices for the $100,000 Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap (gr. IIIT) Jan. 22 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Pacesetter Twilight Meteor opened up a clear lead turning for home and had enough left in the stretch to hold off Rahy's Attorney to win the $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) by a neck Dec. 4 at Calder.
Giant Oak picked a good time to break his 14-race losing streak, as he was placed first in the $500,000 Clark Handicap (gr. I) when stewards disqualified favored Successful Dan for interference Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs.
Battle of Hastings ended a 10-race drought when he found clear sailing on the outside through the stretch to win the $111,200 River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) over a firm Churchill Downs turf course Nov. 4.