Amie Pooli will once again be on board as Rico Walcott will stay on Old Top Hat, who is still a maiden after two starts, but has led in each race in mid-stretch before getting caught late. Legend Fortynine was second in his lone career start, but it was a good second behind Go Max who came back to run second in the Edmonton Juvenile. Gold For Free is one for one, but broke his maiden at three and a half furlongs against $12,000 claiming company, so he’ll certainly have to step up. Second Hand News was fourth in his only start and was far back early before making a mild move.
The $50,000 Two Year Old Filly Sales Stakes is race 2 and drew five runners, including a pair of fast maiden breakers. Both Honey Candy and Bet On Soup blitzed their rivals in their maiden tries at three and a half furlongs. Amie Pooli was the rider on both, however take note that Amie will ride Honey Candy in the Sales Stakes. Honey Candy completed the three and a half furlongs in a speedy :39.60 seconds. The red-hot Fernando Perez will take over the mount on Bet On Soup for the Filly Sales Stakes.
Cats a Lush hasn’t really been close in her first two starts, however she’s an expensive sale purchase at $31,900, so her connections clearly are high on her abilities. This will be her first chance to stretch out and run further than three and a half furlongs which should should help her cause as she hasn’t shown much gate speed at all in either of her two starts. Leading jockey Rico Walcott stays on board and she has drawn the rail. Kissin Music and Kissin Abbey are both daughters of the sire Kissin Kris, who was a very solid turf runner. Neither has a win yet, but both go out for high percentage barns who should have them ready to fire their best shots.
La Jolla Handicap tops Del Mar weekend
The La Jolla Handicap is the final local prep for the Del Mar Derby which comes up at the end of the meet. Nine three year olds have signed up for the mile and a sixteenth turf event on Saturday. Grade 3 winner Dice Flavor will return to the turf after four straight races on the all-weather surface. Garrett Gomez is listed to ride Dice Flavor for the first time on Saturday, but he still hasn’t received clearance to ride as of press time. Dice Flavor was last seen in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes finishing in third.
Numerous runners are coming out of the two divisions of the Oceanside on opening day. Greeley Awesome ran a good second in his division of the Oceanside, and that was his first trip out for trainer John Sadler who claimed him for $40,000. Freakin Rocket was third in that same division of the Oceanside, and had the lead in mid-stretch for Mike Smith. Smith is back on board and Freakin Rocket could be tough, as he’s making just his third career start, so he still has tons of room to improve. Den’s Legacy is a Grade 3 winner on grass and was an even sixth in his division of the Oceanside. Si Sage will be making his second start in the United States and he picks up Edwin Maldonado for the La Jolla. The La Jolla is the 8th race on Saturday’s card at Del Mar and post time is 6:40pm.
Northlands Selections for the La Jolla
- Freakin Rocket
- Si Sage
- Greeley Awesome
Longshot: Uno Dos Adios
Wise Dan returns in the Fourstardave at Saratoga
Last year’s Horse of the Year Wise Dan will make his fourth start of the season on Saturday as he looks to make it four for four on the year in the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga. He’ll carry an imposing 129 pounds, eleven more than his nearest rivals. Grade 2 winner Skyring might be the closest thing Wise Dan has as competition, but in reality, he’s just a lot faster than all of his rivals that he’ll face.
Za Approval won a pair of Grade 3’s before finishing a good second behind a lone speed Obviously last time out in the Shoemaker Mile. He’s one for one at Saratoga and is certainly a candidate for some minor awards and the win if Wise Dan doesn’t show up and run his race. Lea is maybe the most interesting underneath play though as he’s won four out of seven career and just ran a good second behind Wise Dan in the Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs in a complete downpour.
Northlands Selections for the Fourstardave
- Wise Dan
- Za Approval
Longshot: King Kreesa
Evangeline Mile is part of a full field card Saturday at Evangeline Downs
The $125,000 Evangeline Mile is always a nice race that seems to slide under the radar and this year’s event is no different. Seven horses have entered including race favorite Sabercat. A Grade 1 placed runner, Sabercat hasn’t won a race in a long time, however he does consistently run decent races on the board. He was third in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap and most recently finished third in the $100,000 Golden Bear at Indiana Downs. Gerard Melancon will take over the riding duties and Sabercat will look to get back in the winner’s circle for the first time since 2011.
It Happened Again is 5/2 on the line and is coming of a big optional claiming win at Indiana Downs. He is making his first journey down to Evangeline for trainer Tom Amoss and gets jockey Richard Eramia, a 19% winning rider at the meet to take the reins. Unitas could be interesting at an 8/1 morning line, simply because other than Smoke It Right on the far outside, there is no early speed in this event. So if Unitas can get the distance, which he is 1 for 5 at in his career, he could be upset minded. The Evangeline Mile is the 10th race at Evangeline Downs on Saturday night and post time is 8:25pm.
Northlands Selections for the Evangeline Mile
- Smoke It Right
Longshot: Arkansas Martini
Two year olds take center stage in the Ontario Debutante at Woodbine
Six two year old fillies will line up to go six furlongs on Saturday at Woodbine in the $125,000 Ontario Debutante. Five of the six already have their maiden breaking wins in their back pocket, so unlike some two year old stakes this time of year it’s not jammed with maidens or first time starters. Skylander Girl is already a stakes winner as she took home the My Dear Lady Stakes against open rivals. She came back last time out and ran a dull fourth as the favorite in the Shady Wells at Woodbine. Sid Attard will send out Questera who he claimed for $40,000 of an impressive maiden claiming win. Luis Contreras who is having another fantastic meeting at Woodbine will be in the saddle. Madly Truly really exploded last time out when Gary Boulanger got aboard and he’s back again for trainer Mark Casse, who is always tough in these two year old stakes events.
Northlands Selections for the Ontario Debutante
- Madly Truly
- Skylander Girl