Gable Blue Chip was second last week in the Open Pace and drew comfortably down on the rail for Saturday night’s 10th race. He tends to be close up early, so if someone sends he should have no problem finding a good spot in second or third early on. The interesting handicapping puzzle in this event could be to find out who will indeed set the early pace. Gable Blue Chip certainly could as could Beren Hanover. Timberline Court would have been a logical speed horse last season but he seems completely uninterested in the lead as of late. Tip Top Tap could be an interesting horse for long shot players to look at. The three year old is coming off a good third place last week behind Blue Star Admiral and Gable Blue Chip and usually seems to put in a very solid run late.
Credit Card Junkie looks to do it again on Friday Night
Credit Card Junkie turned in one of the more impressive efforts of the short season last Friday, when she overcame a three wide journey to rally from off the pace to get up and score a big win at this level. She’s back for Gerry Hudon and Keith Clark this week and will be looking to do the same as she’s the 8/5 favorite in Friday’s $9,000 tenth race. Credit Card Junkie is enjoying a fine season so far and may well have to once again reel in her stable-mate Keep The Dream, who will break towards the outside in post eight. Keep the Dream is trained by Keith Clark as well and he’ll be in the bike on Friday. She had won several in a row before heading up to the open class where she still ran a game second. However with speedy types like Gts Jerilyn and Emotions Run Wild also lined up in this field, Keep The Dream will have to work to get the lead this time out. Just Saucy won the open mare pace on November 1st and then took a couple of weeks off. She returns in this spot and drew the far outside post. It will be interesting to see whether or not driver Philip Giesbrecht sends from the outside or tries to drop in somewhere as Just Saucy is very good when on or close to the lead.
Sing Like an Angel looks for four in a row
Sing Like an Angeland Travis Cullen have been on a roll lately and will look to take their fourth straight in Friday’s 5th race. The three year old filly has been red hot lately and will likely once again be a big favorite off her smashing five and three quarter length win. Her main competition could come from Flawless Art down on the rail who just won at this level last week as well.
North American Racing News
Saturday is Delta Jackpot Day at Delta Downs
Delta Downs will showcase the biggest card of the season on Saturday when the $1,000,000 Delta Jackpot headlines a stakes filled card. Ten two year olds will contest the mile and one sixteenth event that is one of the first races for them to try and get points for the Kentucky Derby. Rise Up is the top local hope as he’s coming off a huge six and one half length victory in the Jean Laffite Stakes at Delta a few weeks back. Rise Up should be close up to the pace early on and is already a multiple stakes winner, something nobody else in the field can say. Casiguapo is the only runner in the field who is Grade 1 placed, by virtue of his second place finish behind Strong Mandate in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga. He was fourth in the Champagne Stakes last time out, also a Grade 1 event, so he should appreciate the slight class drop to the Grade 3 Jackpot.
Coastlineis coming off a win in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs last time and he’s put up very solid speed figures in his last two races. Shaun Bridgmohan will make the journey to Delta to ride Coastline who is trained by Mark Casse. Coastline will be making his first start over a bullring style track, but his tactical speed should help him avoid trouble on the tighter turns. Big Bazinga has had great success over the synthetic at Woodbine, just missing last time out in the Grade 3 Grey Stakes. Big Bazinga rallied from eleventh to win his maiden race and then tried to go wire to wire in the Grey Stakes, getting caught in the final yards. If he can handle the main track, he’s certainly a player.
The Grade 3 Delta Princess will go off just before the Jackpot, and as always drew a competitive and solid field. Miss Behaviour took home the Grade 2 Matron this fall at Belmont and she’s less than a length away from being undefeated. Right to her outside will be Bahnah who is a multiple stakes winner herself. Bahnah does have a little local advantage, as she got a spin around the Delta Downs oval, scoring in the My Trusty Cat Stakes by four emphatic lengths. Concave is coming off a big defeat in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, however that day she had to check sharply and was out of the race after having to dodge a fallen runner at the three-eighths pole.
Delta Downs will get underway with a special early first post time of 12:15pm.
Northlands Selections for the Delta Jackpot
- Big Bazinga
- Rise Up
Longshot: Rum Point
Northlands Selections for the Delta Princess
- Miss Behaviour
Northlands Selections for the Delta Mile
- Agent Di Nozzo
- Grand Contender
Longshot: Decisive Moment
Fair Grounds opens up on Friday
Fair Grounds is one of the best wintertime meetings and gets underway on Friday with a special evening card of racing that gets underway at 2pm. Racing will be run all winter long on a Thursday through Sunday schedule, with first post each racing day at 12pm. As always, the headlining event of the season is run on March 29th, which is Louisiana Derby Day. The $1,000,000 race is the headliner of a card loaded with four Grade 2 events. Louisiana Champions Day will be run on December 14th and once the new year hits, the road to the Kentucky Derby will feature the Lecomte, the Risen Star and then finally the Louisiana Derby.
Saturday will feature the first stakes event of the season with the Mr. Sulu Stakes at a mile on the grass. String King will likely be a big favorite as he’s always very tough in state-bred stakes events in Louisiana. He’s 3 for 7 over the Fair Grounds grass and dominated this race last year. Midnight Heist on the outside could be a sneaky player in this race as he has some good early speed and his grass form has been sharp in recent starts.
Northlands Selections for the Mr. Sulu
- String King
- Midnight Heist
- Sadie’s Soldier
Fourteen set to get in the River City Handicap at Churchill Downs
The Grade 3 River City Handicap at Churchill Downs drew an overflow field of 15 horses, 14 of which will make it into the body of the field for the 9 furlong grass event. Daddy Nose Best is the high weight at 118 pounds and comes into the race with three straight wins over the grass. He was fourth in the Firecracker Handicap behind Wise Dan earlier this year and there are certainly no Wise Dan’s in this group. Coalport was also behind Wise Dan when he finished fifth in the Shadwell Mile. Prior to that Coalport had won two in a row, including a stakes win at Kentucky Downs over the grass. Coalport is however 0 for 2 over the Churchill Downs grass. Skyring drew the far outside post, but when he’s at his best he’s on the lead, so don’t be surprised if he sends from the outside draw to try and get the lead. Keep Up is the defending champion in this race and closed from tenth when he did win this race last season. He closed from ten lengths back last season and will look to do it again over a surface he loves.
Northlands Selections for the River City
- Keep Up
Longshot: Grand Arch