There is no dominating horse heading into the $1.25 million Travers on Saturday at Saratoga. The Triple Crown races were won by three horses: Nyquist, Exaggerator and Creator.
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The $1-million Pacific Classic has the best field of older horses you will see outside of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. California Chrome, Dortmund and the mare Beholder will duel at Del Mar on Saturday.
The Arlington Million is one of three Grade 1 stakes Saturday at Arlington Park. Its place in racing history was cemented in 1981 as the first million dollar horse race.
On Saturday, Saratoga will offer four stakes, including the Grade 1 Test and Whitney Handicap, and Mountaineer Park will card nine stakes, led by the West Virginia Derby.
The 3-year-old class takes center stage this weekend in the $1 million Haskell on Sunday at Monmouth Park and the $600,000 Jim Dandy on Saturday at Saratoga.
California Chrome will use the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on Saturday as a local prep for the Pacific Classic.
We can call this Christmas in July for horseplayers, as the Del Mar meet begins Friday. It’s no secret that lots of Las Vegas residents take a summer vacation to visit the seaside resort track by the Pacific Ocean.
With world-class horse racing looming at Del Mar and Saratoga, it seems odd to be writing about virtual racing. But this new make-believe racing product is being field-tested in Las Vegas.
The beauty of betting on horse racing is that your learning curve never ends. There are always new things to absorb in this ever-changing game.
It’s the handicap horses that in past years were the sport’s major heroes. Horses such as Kelso, Forego and John Henry were geldings that returned year after year in Grade 1 races and in doing so built a loyal following.
Jockey Russell Baze, horse racing’s all-time leader in wins, announced his retirement Sunday after the 10th race at Golden Gate Fields. The 57-year-old won 12,842 races in his career.
The Belmont Stakes drew 13 horses, which tells me no one is afraid of Exaggerator. They should be. He is the fastest horse in the race, yet many believe he is not as good on a fast track as a muddy surface.
It is almost impossible to make a sports bet big enough to win a seven-figure amount. Most casinos would blink rather than accept that kind of exposure. But horse racing is pari-mutuel betting.
But for those of us who follow the sport, we understand that losing races is a daily part of life. It is the ability to come back strong that separates the winners from the losers.
Nyquist (3-5) was made an overwhelming favorite by Pimlico morning linemaker Keith Feustle. Nyquist held off a fast rallying Exaggerator (3-1) to win the Kentucky Derby by more than a length.
If Nyquist can win the Preakness on May 21, he would set up the third straight Belmont Stakes with the Triple Crown on the line. That kind of excitement is great for horse racing.
Exaggerator seemed stuck on neutral this spring with losses in the San Vicente and San Felipe. But he exploded on an off-track to win the Santa Anita Derby. It is the fastest last race Beyer speed figure among the 20 Kentucky Derby starters.
We are only eight days from the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Every Las Vegas race book will be rolling out the red carpet to horseplayers for the first leg of the Triple Crown.
I always have been a sucker for the claiming horse that developed into a stakes winner. There is an active horse who can now add his name to that list: Page McKenney, who will make his next start Saturday in the $1.25 million Charles Town Classic.
Bob Baffert has won the Arkansas Derby twice with American Pharoah (2015) and Bodemeister (2012). Bodemeister ran second in the Kentucky Derby. American Pharoah won the Triple Crown last spring.
The Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, the Blue Grass at Keeneland and the Santa Anita Derby offer a $1 million purse on Saturday. But more important, the first three finishers will earn enough points to make the Kentucky Derby field.
It’s rare to get a classic East versus West battle of two top undefeated 3-year-olds before the Kentucky Derby.
The $10 million Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race, has a star-studded field of 12, headed by California Chrome, the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner. Two Kentucky Derby preps also will be run Saturday.
Mohaymen remains my top colt for the Kentucky Derby. The Fountain of Youth winner has a date with my second horse, Nyquist, in the Florida Derby on April 2 at Gulfstream Park. Seldom do we see such a clash of titans before the Derby at Churchill Downs.
This year’s version may not have a Seabiscuit or Shared Belief-type animal, but for $1 million, nine well-matched horses will take a swing Saturday. The Big Cap headlines an exciting day at Santa Anita.
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