Archive | October, 2019

Fall Stars Shine at Keeneland

3 Oct

Bettors craving top class Breeders’ Cup preps are in for a treat with the arrival of Fall Stars Weekend at Keeneland. The Grand Dame of Boutique Meets gets underway Friday with 110 horses (before scratches) lined up to dispute 10 races, including the $250,000 Phoenix Stakes and $400,000 Alcibiades Stakes. The featured 8th and 9th races on the opening day card serve as the final Kentucky preps for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and Juvenile Fillies, respectively.

And if you think opening day is good, check out Saturday’s 11-race card, which features five stakes worth $2.35 million. On the wagering front, Keeneland is featuring a $300,000 Guaranteed All Stakes Pick 5 (races 6-10) and $400,000 All Stakes Pick 4 (7-10). The Guaranteed pools will cover the following stakes races (post times Pacific):

Race 6 – $200,000 Woodford Stakes – 5 1/2 Furlongs Turf – All Stakes Pick 5 (12:54pm)
Race 7 – $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes – 6 Furlongs – AS Pick 4 (1:29pm)
Race 8 – $400,000 First Lady Stakes – 1 Mile Turf (2:04pm)
Race 9 – $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity – 1 1/16 Miles (2:39pm)
Race 10 – $1,000,000 Shadwell Mile – 1 Mile Turf (3:15pm)

The Shadwell Mile has drawn an ultra-competitive field of 16 (with two also eligibles), and is among the hardest handicapping puzzles to solve this weekend. If you can find the winner, or crack the Exacta, Trifecta, or Superfecta, you should be well-rewarded.

Pleasanton OTB will be taking races 2-11 on the Keeneland program starting at 10:39am.

Stakes Five-Pack with Breeders’ Cup Implications at Belmont Saturday

Five stakes worth $1.7 million are on the docket this Saturday at Belmont Park, including the $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and $500,000 Champagne Stakes, which serve as local preps for the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Juvenile, respectively. The $400,000 Hill Prince, $150,000 Matron Stakes, and $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational round out the stakes action, which also takes place across races 5-10.

Pleasanton OTB is taking races 3-11 from Belmont, starting at 10:26am. Pleasanton OTB opens at 9:45am, Wednesday through Sunday.

Omaha Beach Returns at Santa Anita

3 Oct

The much-anticipated return of one-time Kentucky Derby future book favorite Omaha Beach (8/5) takes place Saturday in the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Favoritism, however, lies just to his outside stall from which runaway Amsterdam (G2) winner Shancelot (4/5) breaks from post three in a six-horse field. The Sprint Title serves as the final home-track prep for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, to which the winner will receive an automatic berth.

Saturday’s strong card also features the $200,000 City of Hope Mile, the local prep for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, which has drawn a respectable field of 11. The $100,000 LA Woman Stakes is also on the bill, serving as a natural springboard to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. The 10-race card features alternating dirt and turf races, and has attracted 94 pre-scratch entries for an average field size of 9.4.

Field sizes in the turf races are a robust 14, 14, 7, 11 and 10. First post at Santa Anita is 12:30pm.

Fall Is Officially Here With Fresno Fair

3 Oct

The final California Fair meet of the year marks the unofficial arrival of Fall when the Big Fresno Fair kicks off its nine-day meet this week. If you’re a Bay Area handicapper waiting all year to play dirt sprints, then Fresno is right in your wheelhouse, as they’ve carded 20 of their 22 thoroughbred races at six furlongs or less over their first three programs.

The opening of Fresno Fair also marks the return of the Gold Strike High 5, which was last seen leaving Ferndale with a Jackpot of over $60,000. The Gold Strike can be played in the nightcap at Fresno for just a 20-cent minimum. Keep an eye on the Gold Strike as we get closer to closing day, Monday, October 14. Last year’s Gold Strike pool swelled to over $636,000 with the mandatory payout, and returned $4,699.50 for a .20 bet when 24/1 shot Honest Iago won the nightcap.

Fresno races this Thursday thorough Sunday, and next Thursday through Columbus Day, Monday, October 14. Post time is 1:15pm.