There are no stakes scheduled in the mid-Atlantic region this week.  With the region’s tracks having seemingly coordinated their stakes cards to be on the same day, that’s put the region in something of a feast or famine mode.  Nonetheless, we do have some questions for the weekend…

  • Will Julio Cartagena finish out of the exacta at Laurel?  He has three wins and three seconds at the track so far this meet from just six starters.  He has two entered on Saturday.
  • In that same vein, who will win Laurel’s second race?  It’s a lowly $6,250 claimer — but the trainers of six of the eight horses are winning at a 20 percent or better clip (Cartagena, Jamie Ness, Howard Wolfendale, Juan Vazquez, Michael Pino, and David Jacobson).
  • Will Dance to Bristol (here) get to the airport on time?
  • How will Bowie-based Phil Schoenthal’s two juveniles do up at Belmont on Sunday?  Pennsylvania-bred Grade 2 Matron winner Miss Behaviour is 9-5 in the Sharp Cat, while Maryland-bred Sonny Inspired is 6-1 in the Awad.
  • What will happen to the region’s handle, particularly at Charles Town?  The bullring’s West Virginia Breeders Classics attracted around $1.5 million in wagering last Saturday with a card that gave away over $1 million in purses.  This Saturday, seven of the nine races have $11,000 pots, and the feature is a $27,000 allowance.  On the other hand, six of the nine races have full fields, so perhaps betting won’t be as favorite-focused.
  • Can Sixteen Stone get it back in gear at Parx in the eighth, a first level allowance?  The son of Closing Argument looked like a good thing in winning his debut by a couple, did not run well in his next as the favorite, and has been off since that second race, in late July.  He’s switched trainers in the meantime, from Kelly Breen to Anthony Dutrow, and gets Stewart Elliott aboard, at odds of 6-1.
  • Can The Royal Boot, with five wins on the season, add her sixth in Saturday’s fifth race from the Meadowlands?  She’s five-for-12 this year and 6-1 on the morning line.

Good luck this weekend!