Blue Grass, Ashland, Madison, Carter Handicap, Santa Anita Derby, Santa Anita Oaks, Queen Elizabeth, Oka Sho, Gazelle, Royal Heroine, Shakertown, Wood Memorial, Transylvania, Providencia, Excelsior, Disftaff H., Commonwealth, Bay Shore and more.
Consider this your weekly guide to the best stakes in North America. This week we have massive stakes cards at Aqueduct Racetrack, Keeneland, and Santa Anita Park built around three top Triple Crown preps.
- By Dave Litfin
- Thoroughbred Racing, Handicapping, Southeast Region, Southwest Region, West Region, Kentucky
Horse players will need three sets of eyes to keep track of this week's action, as Aqueduct Racetrack, Keeneland, and Santa Anita Park all run 170-point qualifiers to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
J. Keeler Johnson handicaps the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and Ashland Stakes (G1).
If there are no scratches in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (G1) April 8, the 13-horse field entering the gate will be the largest for the West Coast's top Triple Crown prep race since 1981.
In an instant following the San Felipe Stakes (G2), Iliad went from a fringe Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) contender in the shadow of Mastery to the likely favorite in the April 8 Santa Anita Derby (G1).
With undefeated Mastery sidelined after an injury following the San Felipe Stakes (G2), Bob Baffert will go to his bench in quest of victory in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (G1) April 8.
Arrogate’s big finish, career earnings are unprecedented
Peacock Racing Stables' multiple graded stakes winner Gunnevera put in his final breeze March 25 for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) April 1 at Gulfstream Park, leading a coast-to-coast slate of sophomore works.
Juddmonte Farms' Arrogate broke last, but rallied easily to win the $10 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline.
While he is firmly in Arrogate's shadow as the duo readies for their respective runs in the $10 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1), Hoppertunity's standing as Bob Baffert's resident bright spot is one that will not be usurped.
The luck of draw was the latest obstacle to be cleared in Arrogate's favor, with the 4-year-old gray colt landing post 9 in a field of 14 for the March 25 Dubai World Cup.
Two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome will shuttle to Oussama Aboughazale's Sumaya Stud near Santiago, Chile, for the next three seasons, according to announcements March 16 from Taylor Made Farm and Sumaya Stud.
The popular son of Lucky Pulpit easily settled in to the routine at Taylor Made, residing in the same stall where he rested up in 2015 prior to resuming his racing campaign the following year.
Lucky Pulpit, the sire of two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, died Feb. 13 of an apparent heart attack while covering the first mare of the breeding season, according to Harris Farms, where he's stood his entire career.
California Chrome was named the California-bred Horse of the Year for 2016 at the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association's annual meeting and awards dinner Feb. 8 at the Langham Huntington in Pasadena.
Arrogate, officially recognized as the world's best racehorse of 2016, has been nominated for the March 25 Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1), along with 167 other global racing stars.
Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman's Hoppertunity grinded out his second straight victory in the San Antonio Stakes (G2) Feb. 4 and pushed his earnings to more than $4 million with the victory.
- By Steve Haskin
Since last year's Travers Stakes, the racing world has been trying to place Arrogate's astounding feats in historical perspective.
What is extraordinary is the number of pedigree interrelationships that bind most of the champions.
A behind-the-scenes look at the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), the career finale of fan favorite and two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome.
Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman’s Hoppertunity will look for his second straight score in the $300,000 San Antonio Stakes (G2) Feb. 4 at Santa Anita Park.
Two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome is settling in at Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Ky., after arriving Jan. 29. X-rays following his final race are all clear.
Grade 1 winners Hoppertunity, Mor Spirit, and Mastery each recorded bullet works Jan. 30 at Santa Anita Park for trainer Bob Baffert.
- By Steve Haskin
In three races, Arrogate has led all the way, came from third, and came behind from fifth. He’s won being on the inside and won being on the outside, and won his three stakes in three different states in the East, West, and South.
|Horse||Trainer||Breeder / Owner|
|Big Tire||Mark Glatt||
|California Chrome||Art Sherman||
|Candy Boy||John W. Sadler||
|Dublin Up||Peter Miller||
|Friendswith K Mill||Peter Miller||
|Schoolofhardrocks||J. Willard Thompson||
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