Weekend Watch: Kentucky Derby trail visits Remington Park

Weekend Watch: Kentucky Derby trail visits Remington Park
Photo: Courtesy of Laurel Park

Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Park, and Remington Park have all carded several stakes this weekend, culminating with the $400,000 Springboard Mile set for Sunday evening. It's now an official prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby worth 10 points to the winner.

Here's what else to watch for...

Small stakes at Fair Grounds attract some big names.

None of the stakes races on Fair Grounds Race Course’s Saturday card carry a purse bigger than $75,000, but that didn't stop the New Orleans track from attracting some big names. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up
Valadorna returns to stakes company in the Blushing K. D. S., carded for 1 1/16-mile on the turf for fillies and mares 3 years old and upward.

Last year’s Queen’s Plate winner, 
Sir Dudley Digges, likewise takes on eight in the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16-mile on the turf. Among those he will face in 2013 Queen’s Plate runner-up Up With the Birds. Neither have been in fantastic form in 2017, but Sir Dudley Digges has at least been winning in lower-level races. Both should have a good shot at winning here.

Tenacious Stakes for 3-year olds and upward drew graded stakes winners Far Right, Fear the Cowboy, Sticksstatelydude and Field of Courage. Multiple graded stakes placed Dazzling Gem
and Money Flows, as well as international Group 1 winner Cooptado, are also entered. However, Dazzling Gem is cross-entered in the Jeffrey A. Hawk Memorial Stakes at Remington Park on Sunday. Whether he runs in the Tenacious, the depth of the field is still nice.

Girls Know Best steps up in class in Grade 3 Sugar Swirl.

Now I Know
looked well on her way to making an undefeated attempt at the Kentucky Oaks in 2012. However, she exited a second-place finish in the Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn injured and was subsequently retired. Now her half-sister, Girls Know Best, will attempt to become the second graded winner for dam Now U Know when she steps up in class in Saturday’s Grade 3 Sugar Swirl Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Girls Know Best will face last year’s Sugar Swirl winner, 
Dearest, graded stakes placed More Than a Party and True Romance, stakes winners Miss Hollywood and Pretty Perfection, and stakes placed Bodacious Babe. It’s a solid field, but Girls Know Best has been in good form recently, albeit at the lower levels.

Page McKenney back in South Florida.

A fan favorite, Maryland-based
Page McKenney returns to Gulfstream for the first time in three years in order to contest the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes. Pegasus World Cup probable Gunnevera will skip this spot, but last year’s Belmont Stakes runner-up Destin will be a part of the field. Those two are the ones to beat, but if you’re looking for some value, try Mr. Jordan or Fear the Cowboy (who is cross-entered in the Tenacious Stakes at Fair Grounds). Though he’s never won at Gulfstream Park, he’s been on the board 4-of-8 times there, and is 4-of-8 at the Harlan’s Holiday distance. Should Fear the Cowboy run, he’ll likely be the greater threat. He’s never been off the board in five races at Gulfstream and is in nice form.

Code West headlines the Jeffrey A. Hawk Memorial

Code West 
may not be the best of his crop, but he’s been a solid runner throughout his career. A graded stakes winner at 3, the ridgling has not quite lived up to the potential many thought he had. Since winning the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes 3 ½-years ago, he has taken some listed and black type stakes but has not graced the winner’s circle in graded stakes company. Despite this, he has kept good form and does well when running at Remington Park.

However, Shotgun Kowboy
 stands a better chance of winning the Jeffrey A. Hawk Memorial, in my opinion. You can put a line through his last race, as the River City Handicap is contested on the turf. Now back on the dirt, Shotgun Kowboy is as good as any in this field. Also liable to have a say in the outcome are Net Gain and Dazzling Gem, should he run here instead of at Fair Grounds. 

Kentucky Derby aspirations arrive to Remington.

In recent years, Remington Park's 
Springboard Mile has been a useful move forward for horses wanting to try the Kentucky Derby trail in Arkansas. Now, for the first time, it's an official step to a much larger goal, a trip to Churchill Downs.

This will be a rematch for many in the full field of 12. 
Combatant and undefeated Redatory look to be the strongest of the local contingent, while Greyvitos and Believe in Royalty, son of Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, should take most of the money. Greyvitos broke his maiden in the Grade 3 Bob Hope after two previous unsuccessful attempts in maiden company. Believe in Royalty has also made three career starts and won his last two. Any of those four could be the winner.

Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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