Thursday, 25 July 2013 09:29

Four huge stakes events at Northlands Park on Saturday

Written by Jason Beem, Northlands Park
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Commander and jockey Jorge Espitia 'reunited' to win the Spangled Jimmy Commander and jockey Jorge Espitia 'reunited' to win the Spangled Jimmy Coady Photo/Ryan Haynes

Saturday looks to be the last big call for horses to get ready for Canadian Derby Day, as the $50,000 Count Lathum Handicap headlines a huge day of racing, which will feature four stakes events!!  The Count Lathum drew six runners, including probably favorite Success Rate who ships up from Calder Race Course after being purchased by North American Thoroughbred Horse Company.

Success Rate just won a $38,000 allowance at Calder by thirteen lengths and worked at Hastings on Saturday morning before shipping up to Edmonton.  Trainer Robertino Diodoro, who scored in the Ky Alta Handicap with Broadway Empire, will send out undefeated Smart Promotion.  Smart Promotion broke his maiden on the grass at Turf Paradise, but really took to the main track last time out when he went all the way in an allowance/optional claimer at Assiniboia.  Diodoro will train Broadway Empire up to the Canadian Derby, which is run on August 17th.  For Cash, who has been third in the last two stakes in this division, will also run in the Count Lathum. 

The Princess Margaret Stakes for two year old fillies sees some nice maiden winners taking their crack at the big money.  Bet on Soup was a huge winner at three and a half furlongs and will try for the stretch out here.  Greg Tracy will ship in Holiday Babe who broke the maiden at six furlongs last time out at Hastings.  In fact Holiday Babe is the only runner to have competed at more than 4.5 furlongs.

Five of the seven entrants in the Edmonton Juvenile are already maiden breaking winners, which is something for this time of year in the two year old season.  Greg Tracy, always loaded with juvenile talent has four of the seven runners in the race.  Out of Exile was closing in on Bet On Soup last time, so look for him to appreciate the added distance.  True Thought was absolutely dominating in his maiden voyage, winning off by six lengths.  It’s also noteworthy that of the four Tracy runners, Rico Walcott rode all of them in their maiden starts and he selected to ride True Thought in the Edmonton Juvenile.  Devil’s Classic and Go Max are not Tracy trainee’s, but both have run already at two turns.  

Canaveral Leader was busy winning the 3 and 4 year old Filly Sales Stakes just a few days ago, but she’s back to try her hand at routing in the Northlands Oaks.  Canaveral Leader has been getting better with each and every start, and trainer Ron Grieves is a solid 27% first time routing.  She will however have to beat Ten Thirty, who is coming off a smashing win in the Red Smith Handicap and is a multiple stakes winner.  Racing at Northlands Park on Saturday gets underway at 1pm and the stakes races are races 5 through 8. 

Simulcast Weekend Action at Northlands Park

Huge Haskell Day card at Monmouth on Sunday

Monmouth Park’s biggest day of the year will be run on Sunday, as the $1,000,000 Haskell Invitational headlines a monster card at the Jersey Shore.  First post time is at 12:00pm EST and it’s a 12 race card.  The Haskell Invitational drew some of the top three year olds in the country as it always does, including this year’s Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow.  Oxbow has been given a little time off after his second place finish in the Belmont Stakes.  Regular rider Gary Stevens will be on board once again and Monmouth is traditionally a track that favors horses who are on or close to the lead, so his speed should be a big asset. 

Golden Soul was second in the Kentucky Derby and unlike Oxbow, likes to come from far off the pace, so he’ll need some pace to run at early.  Verrazano, who was one of the favorites in the Kentucky Derby will be in the Haskell, so he should add some speed into the mix.  Verrazano made his Monmouth Park debut in the Pegasus Stakes last time out and was absolutely dominant, drawing off to win by nine and one quarter lengths.  Bob Baffert has won the Haskell six times and he’ll look to make it number seven when he sends out Power Broker.  Power Broker took the Easy Goer Stakes at Belmont and is on the improve, with wins in his last couple of starts. 

Northlands Park Selections for the Haskell

  1. Verrazano
  2. Oxbow
  3. Micromanage
    Longshot: Power Broker

Intriguing match up in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar

The Grade 2 San Diego Handicap is the primary local prep for the big $1,000,000 Pacific Classic at Del Mar.  Six horses will go to post in the San Diego Handicap, with Paynter being the high weight assignment at 122 pounds.  Paynter was magnificent in his comeback start last time out at Hollywood Park, but this will be a little more of an acid test to see how sharp he really is after his long battle with illness. 

Rafael Bejarano will be on board for trainer Bob Baffert, who will also send out Liaison, who was just second behind Clubhouse Ride in the Californian.  Clubhouse Ride was a disappointing fourth behind Game on Dude in the Hollywood Gold Cup, so he’s getting some weight relief from both of the two Baffert runners on Saturday.  Clubhouse Ride is 1 for 3 career at Del Mar, however he hasn’t raced there since he became a top West Coast handicap division horse.  Not to be overlooked is Kettle Corn, who might have just ran the race of his life in defeat to Game on Dude when he was second in the Hollywood Gold Cup. 

Northlands Selections for the San Diego H.

  1. Clubhouse Ride
  2. Liaison
  3. Kettle Corn
    Longshot: Chief Havoc

Northlands Selections for the Fleet Treat

  1. Doinghardtimeagain
  2. Sweet Marini
  3. Zuzu’s Petals
    Longshot: Qiaona

Big Stakes double at Saratoga on Saturday

Saratoga will offer up a great stakes double on Saturday, as the Grade 1 Diana and the Grade 2 Jim Dandy headline a huge card at the Spa.  Stephanie’s Kitten will try and keep her streak going, as she’s coming off a win in the Grade 1 Just a Game.  She always seems to put in a big closing kick and she’s a Grade 2 winner at the Spa.  She’ll have to beat tough customers like Dream Peace, Grade 1 winner Centre Court and Grade 1 winner Samitar. 

The Jim Dandy came up super tough, with Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice returning.  Mike Smith is back to ride and Palace Malice has proven versatile and should be close up to the pace.  Whether or not 9 furlongs is his preferred distance is certainly up for debate.  Triple Crown series also rans like Mylute and Will Take Charge have also shown up in this spot.  Vyjack is an intriguing returner, and similar to the Derby and Belmont, he drew out on the far outside in post 10.  John Velazquez will climb on board and look for Vyjack to try and get back on track after a couple of ugly runs during the Triple Crown. 

Northlands Selections for the Diana

  1. Stephanie’s Kitten
  2. Centre Court
  3. Samitar
    Longshot: Laughing

Northlands Selections for the Jim Dandy

  1. Vyjack
  2. Code West
  3. Mylute
    Longshot: Freedom Child 
Read 2262 times Last modified on Thursday, 25 July 2013 14:25