- Lyman S. (R8) — Pa.-bred, three years old and up, 7 furlongs
- Foxy J G S. (R10) — Pa.-bred fillies and mares, three years old and up,, 7 furlongs[/boxify]
Of course, all eyes turn to Churchill Downs this week for Friday’s Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and, in particular, Saturday’s Grade 1 Kentucky Derby (to say nothing of two-time defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan’s scheduled run in the Turf Classic). In the Mid-Atlantic, here’s what’s on tap:
- Want a rooting interest Derby weekend? You could do worse than following the Midlantic-breds in on the two days. On Friday, two horses bred in the region will tackle Churchill stakes, including one in the Oaks (here). On Saturday, though there’s no Derby runner, there are five runners from the region slated to face the starter (here).
- Parx Racing has the region’s two stakes this weekend, the Lyman for PA-bred boys and the Foxy J G for state-bred gals, both at seven furlongs. They Lyman is an odd sort of race; there are some pretty nice horses in it, but all seem to be coming in off one or more disappointing efforts. In fact, there are five stake winners among the eight entered — and all enter off a loss.
- At Charles Town, Wise Mac is slated to run in a West Virginia-bred allowance, in which he’s 6-5 on the morning line. He had a three-race win streak snapped on April 19 when second to local monster In the Fairway. The son of Wiseman’s Ferry has a record of 5-3-1-1 and earnings of nearly $62,000.
- Apparently Penn National is getting into the Derby spirit this weekend: Saturday’s second race is a 1 1/4 mile event on the main track. On the other hand, it’s a nickel, never-won-three claimer, so we can assume (at least) that the Derby’s likely to be faster; and the purse is $12,400, which does not compare favorably to the Derby’s $2 million prize (actually, the Derby is about 161 times richer). But it’s nice to see a true route race on a local card, and this one’s drawn a field of 10. Pennsylvania-bred Habby’s Pride is the lukewarm morning line fave at 3-1; the son of Repent has two wins from 17 career starts.
- Four horses from the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll are in action this weekend:
- Thank You Marylou, ranked second among three year-olds, in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on Friday;
- Storming Inti, ranked fifth among three year-olds, in the Grade 2 American Turf, also Friday;
- Falling Sky, ranked fourth among older horses in Saturday’s Grade 2 Churchill Downs; and
- Delaunay, ranked fifth among older horses, in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs.
The weekend’s featured race from Pimlico is the ninth, a first-level allowance for fillies and mares three and up going 1 1/16 miles on the grass. The field:
- Coco Punch (4-1) — Five year-old mare is winless in eight grass tries. Most recently ran second at this level after controlling a moderate pace, but she had no answers for Silver Frame in the lane. Odds feel too short for what’s on offer here.
- Spring Reason (8-5) — Jonathan Sheppard-trained daughter of El Prado ran a bang-up race at longer distance last out, just missing against allowance foes at Keeneland. Now winless, with three seconds, in five grass tries. Figures to be a handful against these.
- Sandbag — Main track only
- Moral High Ground (10-1) — Bonita Farm homebred daughter of Go for Gin sure has taken some cracks at this race, having lost it 10 times already. She’s been away since November, and it’s hard to see why 11 should be the charm.
- Dixie Traveler — Main track only
- Arden Natalie (20-1) — Daughter of Henny Hughes sports a win from four starts and rates a solid shot to outrun long odds. Two-back effort better than it looks on the page; winner returned to be third in Grade 3 Florida Oaks at Tampa, place horse had been twice stakes-placed. Most recent was dismal, but she was hard to handle throughout. Trainer owns one win (from three tries) after lengthy layoffs.
- Analogy (15-1) — Won a $16,000 claimer two back, form which ought to make her competitive here, but not sure what she beat that day and local return was not impressive.
- Just a Wildflower (20-1) — Figures to be a tall order for daughter of Portobello Road — an Arkansas-bred — who has, oddly, finished third in 10 of 20 career starts. Winless in three tries on the lawn, and not convinced that she faced all that much in those.
- Mary Bernice (15-1) — $50,000 June claim paid immediate dividends by breaking maiden next out, but three follow-up tries haven’t been much to write home about. Never in the money in three turf tries. Most recently seventh on the Keeneland synthetic, but one of the three she beat returned to beat $40,000 claimers. She’ll need to appreciate the stretch-out to figure here.
- Ziptomylou (9-2) — Lightly raced City Zip filly hasn’t done much wrong, with a win and third from four turf starts to date. Nothing wrong with her last either, a fourth against Tampa allowance foes in which she moved nicely along the outside before hanging a bit in the lane. Rider Luis Garcia returns to ride Graham Motion trainee for the fourth straight time; a more congenial post would have helped.
- Bear Access (5-1) — It’s been a while since this daughter of Gators N Bears put on the racing togs; it’s her first try since a third against similar at Delaware last June, and that was a tough group — two next-out winners and a stakes-placed runner. Class-wise, she belongs, but the combination of a tough post and nearly a year on the bench make her a tough sell at 5-1, even with Karamanos aboard.