Saturday’s featured 8th race will ask quite a bit of its participants, as the eight runners will be competing at a two mile distance for a purse of $20,000 in the Northlands Marathon Final. The race certainly goes through Longboat Key who was a tough winner of Leg 2 of the Marathon Series last out when he caught With Council to win the mile and five eighths event. This race will start at the top of the lane and will feature three full laps of the Northlands course. Longboat Key won this race last season, and did it powerfully, pulling away by seven lengths. Him and Raise a Dane, who was fourth in this race last year, are the only two horses who have gone this far in their careers.
So far the Marathon Series has consisted of Longboat Key, Grand Request and With Council all trading punches with one another. Grand Request won the 1st Leg over With Council with Longboat Key running third. Longboat Key and Grand Request once again sandwiched With Council in the 2nd Leg, only this time it was Longboat Key getting the win. Certainly they will once again be the top contenders on Saturday. Northern Magic could be a player though, as he was rallying late last time to finish fourth and was gaining on the leaders late. Maybe the extra three furlongs could be what propels him to victory in this Marathon Final.
Real Dingo looks to keep paying off for Smith
Real Dingolooks like a strong contender in Friday Night’s $18,800 featured seventh race. Real Dingo was claimed for $8,000 by trainer Ron Smith back on August 5th and yielded an immediate return when he won a $17,500 claiming event just seven days later. Smith thought so much of his new purchase he tried him in the $100,000 Speed to Spare Handicap where he finished a respectable fourth. Rico Walcott will take over the mount on Friday and Real Dingo likes to come from far off the pace, so he’ll need some pace to run at. Igotadeal has some speed as does Risky Call, but neither is a strict front runner. Igotadeal could be the price play though in this race, as he has drawn the rail and could try to sneak away for jockey Shannon Beauregard.
Weekend Preview 9/27-9/29
Simulcast Weekend Action at Northlands Park
Super Saturday at Santa Anita headlines opening weekend
Santa Anita will host the Breeders’ Cup in a few weeks, but first things first, as the track will open up on Friday afternoon. Saturday the track will showcase five Grade 1 events, all major preps for the Breeders’ Cup. The $250,000 Awesome Again Stakes will feature a field of ten, and as always, Bob Baffert will be well represented as he will send out three of the runners, including Paynter. Paynter captured the nations hearts as he fought back from illness, but he proved he could still race well when he ran two great efforts off the bench, including a second in the Grade 2 San Diego. Paynter threw a dud last time out in the Grade 1 Woodward, but should be better set now that he returns to Southern California. Mucho Macho Man returns to Santa Anita, which was the site of his big second place run in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. His connections are looking to get him a win, as he hasn’t had a victory since last year’s Suburban Handicap. Grade 1 winner’s Liaison and Golden Ticket are also part of the mix, as is Take Control, who was a fast closing fourth in the San Diego Handicap in 2012 before heading to the bench.
Joyful Victorywill return to Santa Anita to avenge her second place finish in last year’s Zenyatta Stakes. Joyful Victory was second there last year and came back to Santa Anita this past March to win the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational. She’ll have some tough foes, including Authenticity who was most recently second behind the always tough Royal Delta in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Handicap. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly champ Beholder will run in this spot for trainer Richard Mandella, and if there’s one things she likes, it’s Santa Anita, as she’s 4 for 5 at the Great Race Place. Santa Anita gets underway at 2pm on Saturday.
Northlands Selections for the Awesome Again
- Golden Ticket
- Mucho Macho Man
Longshot: Take Control
Northlands Selections for the Zenyatta Stakes
- Joyful Victory
- Include Me Out
Longshot: Flashy American
Northlands Selections for the Rodeo Drive
- Tiz Flirtatious
- Marketing Mix
- Lady of Shamrock
Longshot: My Gi Gi
Fort Larned shows up in the Homecoming Stakes at Churchill
Fort Larnedwill look to avenge his poor fifth place showing in the Whitney Invitational when he faces six rivals in the $175,000 Homecoming Stakes. Fort Larned is at his best when he’s on the lead and it looks as though he may be the speed of the speed in here. Golden Ticket is entered, but is also entered at Santa Anita. Prayer For Relief has two straight wins and should be somewhat close to the pace as several rivals seem like deep closers. Those two wins both came with Ricardo Santana in the irons, so he and Prayer For Relief both seem to get along quite well.
Northlands Selections for the Homecoming
- Fort Larned
- Golden Ticket
- Prayer For Relief
Huge Saturday at Belmont Park
Belmont Park will play host to their own Super Saturday as many of the top horses heading to the Breeders’ Cup will be participating. The $1,000,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup will feature Orb, Palace Malice, Flat Out and Ron The Greek. Little Mike will look to get back to his best form in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic while the Flower Bowl Invitational for the older fillies on the grass is a who’s who of European bred runners taking on their American counterparts. The Vosburgh will feature eight sprinters including Justin Phillip, The Lumber Guy and Forty Tales, all of whom are capable of jumping up and grabbing a Grade 1 on their best days. Graydar will make his comeback in the Kelso Handicap. He was one of the top handicap horses earlier in the year and will make his second half push starting in the Kelso. Maybe the most exciting matchup of the day could be in the Beldame where Royal Delta will take on Princess of Sylmar. The top older mare and the up and coming three year old filly will square off at nine furlongs in the Beldame.
Broadway Empire returns Sunday at Remington
Broadway Empire, this year’s Canadian Derby hero will make his much anticipated return in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby on Sunday at Remington Park. He’ll have to take on one of the hottest three year olds in the United States though in Departing, who is coming off back to back Grade 2 wins, first in the West Virginia Derby and most recently in the Louisiana Super Derby. Departing figures to be a heavy favorite in the Oklahoma Derby. Broadway Empire came to Northlands Park and dominated the Ky Alta Handicap before his stunning win in the Grade 3 $200,000 Canadian Derby. Entries will be drawn for the Oklahoma Derby on Thursday morning.
There will be a $25,000 guaranteed Pick 4 on the final four races of the card, of which the Oklahoma Derby will be part of the sequence.