Woodbine, Keeneland Highlight Daytime Action at Pleasanton OTB

10 Oct

As the racing calendar descends into a mild calm before the Breeders’ Cup storm, North America’s richest racing action drifts north of the border, as Woodbine presents a big turf stakes trio headlined by the running of the $800,000 Canadian International (G1). While lacking field size, this year’s renewal of the International squarely lives up to its billing, with four of its six entrants having last raced in France, England or Germany. Chief among them is the defending champ, and multiple GSW Desert Encounter (2/1), who seeks to run his winning streak to four with a second winning performance over the sweeping E.P. Taylor turf course.

He’s expected to get a stiff challenge from the rail entrant, Ziyad (1/1), who arrives off a win in the Group 2, Grand Prix de Deauville. The four-year-old has been a model of consistency, having either won or finished second in 11 of 16 starts. Second by a length to Desert Encounter in his last start, and 5th to Bricks and Mortar in the Arlington Million, Pivoine (10/1) makes the trip back across the pond for this 12-furlong affair. He and recent Group 3 winner Alounak (6/1) round out the European contingent.

The locals are represented by Northern Dancer (G2) runner up Nessy (8/1) and the aptly named, Grade III winner Pumkin Rumble (15/1).

The Euros are also well-represented with three of the four top morning-line choices in the $600,000 E.P. Taylor (G1) for fillies and mares going 10 furlongs over the turf course with the same name. Red Tea (3/1), Imperial Charm (4/1), Durance (6/1) and Platine (20/1) represent the European contingent in a ten-horse field, which could be the best betting affair of the three stakes races. The Grade II, $250,000 Nearctic for turf sprinters going six furlongs rounds out the stakes trio.

Pleasanton OTB will take races 2-12 from Woodbine this Saturday, starting at 10:41am.

QEII Tops the Docket at Keeneland

Competition runs so deep in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1) at Keeneland that the undefeated, Chad Brown-trained filly CafĂ© Americano is 6/1 on the morning-line. That’s because, you guessed it, Brown is also saddling ML favorite, multiple GSW Cambier Park (8/5), who was last seen romping to a 1 1/4 lengths score in the Del Mar Oaks (G1). Just for good measure, the Brown barn also sends out Regal Glory (6/1), who’s just won five races with a pair of seconds in seven starts.

The Euro-shipper Castle Lady (7/2) and Lake Placid (G2) winner Varenka (6/1) are the only non-Brown trainees to crack double digits on the morning line. The field of 10 three-year-old fillies will go to the gate at approximately 2:30pm Pacific Time, as the 9th race on a 10 race card. If you like full fields, the nine races you can play from Keeneland at Pleasanton OTB boast an average field size of 12.77.

We will begin taking the Keeneland card with its 2nd race at approximately 10:39am.

Santa Anita, Fresno Top California Action

Santa Anita will card nine races Saturday, with three on turf, and eight on Sunday with four slated for the lawn. Saturday’s feature is the $100,000 California Distaff Handicap for Cal-bred fillies and mares going 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. Sunday’s feature is the $75,000 Anoakia for two-year-old fillies sprinting 6 furlongs on the main track.

Santa Anita gets underway at 12:30pm on weekends.

Fresno Fair has a 10-race card Saturday and a 9-race card Sunday, both starting at 1:15pm. Sunday’s feature is the $50,000 Bull Dog Handicap, which has drawn a field of six to dispute nine furlongs over the main track.

Fresno wraps up its season on Monday, starting at 1:15pm, and it will force out a pair of Jackpots – the Gold Rush Pick 6 ($28,495 as of Friday) and Gold Strike Super Hi 5 ($9,491).

OTB doors open at 9:45am.

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