Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feb 23-24

February 23-24

A quick reference tool meant to help the newer fan (like me!)

NOTE:AFTER A RACE HAS BEEN RUN, you can return here, click on the CARD to view the Results and watch a REPLAY.

Rachel's road to recovery as of February 20: Stonestreet Farms


The racing action heats up this weekend with several key races for horses and fillies on the road to the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks. The new points system for qualifying for both races gets richer and will have serious implications for those who wish to be in the starting gate on the first Friday and Saturday in May. Undercard action will also be exciting for older horses in a few races as well.  Here's Jon and Joel's look at the two big ones this weekend:  TCI Insider - Jon and Joel handicapping video

NOTE:  For coverage of international racing, see below the Featured Races.  Australia has three Group 1 events, which will be run late Friday evening and early Saturday EST.

On an undercard, I'm really pulling for OPTIMIZER. He seems to like the turf, and hopefully he has found his niche after much trial and error. He's in an undercard feature at the Fair Grounds on Risen Star day in the FAIR GROUNDS HANDICAP. Race 7 goes off at 4:25 EST.

On another undercard race, winning machine DAISY DEVINE will be running in Race 5, the BAYOU HANDICAP.

Then, in the MINESHAFT HANDICAP, several familiar faces will meet up, including GOLDEN TICKET, MARK VALESKI, HERO OF ORDER in Race 8, 4:55 ET.

In a Kentucky Oaks prep, the RACHEL ALEXANDRA STAKES will feature Gary Stevens flying in to ride Tom Proctor's MIDNIGHT BALLET, and Rosie Napravnik will be aboard a Pletcher trainee, UNLIMITED BUDGET. 

Stevens is also scheduled to ride PROUD STRIKE for Steve Asmussen in the Risen Star. Some of the Derby hopefuls expected in the RISEN STAR will include NORMANDY INVASION, DEPARTING, OXBOW, & cross-entered in both the Risen Star and the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream, HE'S HAD ENOUGH, with Mario Gutierrez riding. Wherever He's Had Enough winds up, LAVA MAN is expected to be there as his coach!! GO LAVA MAN!! He brings his own star power! Last news report indicated Team O'Neill will opt for the Fountain of Youth over the Risen Star because of a more favorable gate draw in the FOY.   Risen Star nominees PPs

In honor of my "hero", here is Mucho Macho Man's Risen Star triumph in 2011:  Risen Star stakes - 2011 - Vido replay


The Grade 2 FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH is one of three graded stakes on Saturday’s card along with the $250,000 DAVONA DALE for 3-year-old fillies and the $150,000 CANADIAN TURF.

The large field, which includes favored  VIOLENCE and late entrant HE'S HAD ENOUGH, even caught racing secretary Dan Bork a bit off guard.

“We were expecting somewhere in the range of six to seven horses for the race, so obviously we had a few late additions, which naturally came as a pleasant surprise,” Bork said.  Read more at source

DRF provides free PPs for the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park on Saturday: Click here 
Downey Profile - Dick's Picks Fountain of Youth

Thoroughbred Racing Roundup - Feb. 19, 2013
A look at weekend Thoroughbred racing - 2-21
TCI Insider - Jon & Joel handicap the Southwest at Oaklawn - Video

Jeremy Plonk's Horseplayer Now Jeremy Plonk's Derby Prep schedule
Haskin Derby Dozen - Feb. 19
The Downey Profile
Brisnet's Dick Powell gives his Handicapping Insights
Dan Illman gives his take on Gary Stevens along with Derby trail

If you are serious about keeping up with the horses, standings, race outcomes, etc. on the Derby Trail, don't miss the recap by Jeremy Plonk at DRF.  Road to the Derby: Prep races, replays, leaderboard   Scroll down under the Point Standings to a list of the Derby Prep races. Click on the race, and read Jeremy's re-cap. Very enlightening, because Jeremy sees things I would never see and points them out. We are moving into the next phase of the preps, where the points to be earned will put the winner in the starting gate of the KY Derby, and the secondary points to the next three finishers can earn some important points as well. From Feb. 23 thru March 24 is the first leg of the Championship Series in which the races will be worth 85 points, with 50 pts to the winner, and 20-10-5 to the next 3 finishers. I'm betting that from here on out, the starting gate for each of these races should see full or near-full fields.

For info on the Oaks prep series, go to the Kentucky Derby Oaks site: Standings and horse profiles, along with replays can be found there.

TRIPLE CROWN: Source guide to lists of Derby qualifying races, standings, handicapping tools
DUBAI: Source Guide for Dubai World Cup Carnival


Races listed below in time ordered format with cards. Come back after the race is run, click on the Card link and watch the replay at BloodHorse's results and video page.

Time ordered list of races     Time ordered entries

Bold = Official Derby Prep with Oaks Prep in Italics

3:25 ET  Bayou Handicap S, FG, $75,000, 4&up, 1 1/16 mi, R5  CARD
4:25 ET  Fair Grounds H (gr. IIIT), FG, $150,000g, 4&up, 9f T, R7  CARD
4:35 ET  Davona Dale S (gr. II), GP, $250,000g, 3yo f, 8.5f R9  CARD
4:55 ET  Mineshaft H (gr. III), FG, $150,000g, 4&up, 8.5f   R8  CARD
5:05 ET  Canadian Turf S (gr. IIIT), GP, $150,000g, 4&up, 8f T R10  CARD
5:25 ET  Rachel Alexandra S (gr. III), FG, $200,000g, 3yo f, 8.5f  R9  CARD
5:35 ET  Fountain of Youth S (gr. II), GP, $400,000g, 3yo, 8.5f  R11  CARD
5:57 ET  Risen Star S (gr. II), FG, $400,000g, 3yo, 8.5f  R10  CARD
6:40 ET Mine That Bird Derby, Sunland, $130,000g, 3yo, 8.5f    R10 CARD
7:07 ET San Carlos S (gr. II), SA, $200,000g, 4&up, 7f    R8 CARD
More on today's races:
Calvin Carter takes a look at the pedigrees of the Risen Star entrants
Bayou Handicap seen as stepping stone for Daisy Devine
Unlimited Budget favored in Rachel Alexandra
Mark Valeski ready for Mineshaft rematch
Optimizer to seek second Big Easy win in the Mineshaft Handicap
Optimizer targets Fair Grounds Handicap
Risen Star popular race with 15 entered
Gary Stevens, Midnight Ballet scheduled ship for Rachel Alexandra
Dreaming of Julia tops short Davona Dale field
Unbeaten Violence set for Fountain of Youth
Violence to face 10 challengers in Fountain of Youth
Dreaming of Julia to open year in Davona Dale
Risen Star popular race with 15 entered


5:05 ET  Ladies Turf Sprint S, GP, $60,000g, 4&up, f/m, 5f T  R10 CARD
7:07 ET  Sensational Star S (R), SA, $100,000g, 4&up, Cal-bred, 6.5f T R8 CARD

'Barbie' blows the doors off in the Blue Diamond!
AUSTRALIA: There are some international races you may want to take note of, which because of time differences, will be run late this evening (Friday) and early Saturday. In Australia, the main action will be at Caulfield with three Grade/Group 1 races: the FUTURITY, the BLUE DIAMOND, and the OAKLEIGH. ALL TOO HARD, Black Caviar's successful half-brother, will face Melbourne Cup winner Gree...n Moon in the Futurity. Then, in the Oakleigh, ORTENSIA returns from her largely successful international tour to meet unbeaten in 11 starts, Barakey, and not to be dismissed, Shamal Wind, highly promising 3YO filly who is unbeaten in three starts and looks hard to beat with only 111lb.

In the Blue Diamond, you might want to keep an eye on MIRACLES OF LIFE. Small at 15 hands and around 924lb, she can run. In BD Preview (1000m) on January 26, she ran 0.8 seconds quicker than male 2YO's that day.  For more on this race and filly:  Jockey of Miracles of Life guest blog Race replay

You can find the entries for the three G1 races here (includes full Blue Diamond Stakes Day cards): Entries for Blue Diamond Stakes Day at Caulfield
Australia:  All Too Hard, Black Caviar's half-brother set to shine in Caulfield's Futurity
Futurity, Oakleigh Plate, & Blue Diamond Stakes head Caulfield's Saturday action
The Oakleigh Plate field of 14 includes Ortensia, winner of the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes in England last August and a multiple stakes winner in Australia earlier in her career.  Ortensia, 8, won the Al Quoz Sprint on the Dubai World Cup undercard at Meydan Racecourse last March.

Friday, Caulfield, Australia, post time: 11:20 p.m. EST  
CATHAY PACIFIC FUTURITY S.-G1, A$500,000 ($513,274), 3yo/up, 1400mT
All Too Hard romps in the Futurity  Form comments for Futurity    ALL TOO HARD chases back to back Grade 1 wins
Saturday, Caulfield, Australia, 12:00 a.m. EST
PATINACK FARM BLUE DIAMOND S.-G1, A$1,000,000 ($1,034,719),  2yo, 1200mT
Form comments Blue Diamond Stakes   Miracles smashes her rivals to win the Blue Diamond

Saturday, Caulfield, Australia, post time: 12:40 a.m. EST
SPORTINGBET OAKLEIGH PLATE H.-G1, A$400,000 ($410,672), 3yo/up, 1100mT
Form comments for Oakleigh Plate

Hong Kong:  Hong Kong Gold Cup - Second leg of HK Triple Crown  California Memory takes aim at another HK Gold Cup Sunday

Japan:  Takamatsunomiya Kinen Sunday, 2-24   Race replay video for February Stakes - Grape Brandy winner   Race result: Espoir City, Wonder Acute second and third place finishers


Buena Vista Mile no issue for Mizdirection
Mizdirection's plans call for mix of turf sprints, miles
Lumber Guy back for San Carlos at Santa Anita
Igugu on target for return in Balanchine
Haskin: Stevens taking every ride as a gift
Derby prep races, results video replays
Where they're going next - Downey Profile
Fair Grounds: Risen Star attracting horses coast to coast
Bill Finley: Wise Dan vs. Little Mike - What a show that would be!
Beyer: Animal Kingdom being given chance to make history
Churchill remains comfortable with points system - Podcast
Coolmore buys interest in unbeaten Verrazano

Upcoming North American races:
Bold = official Derby and Oaks preps
Points of 50-20-10-5 for 1st-4th finishes
Mar. 2
GI Santa Anita H. SA
GI Frank E. Kilroe Mile SA
GI Las Virgenes S. SA
GII Top Flight H. AQU
GIII Gotham S. AQU
GIII Tom Fool H. AQU
GIII Swale S. GP
GIII Herecomesthebride S. GP

Watch the Derby Trail races, beginning January 1, 2013

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