Weekend Watch: Slew of Derby, Oaks preps lead the way

March 09, 2019 04:37pm

Each weekend, Horse Racing Nation previews the top races to tune into coast to coast and runs down the main contenders. All times are Eastern.

Saturday

Aqueduct, Race 8: 4:06 p.m.

Skyler’s Scramjet
will be looking to defend his Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap title. This time last year the gelding broke through to score his first graded win, and though he has not won since, he has remained competitive in the handicap sprint division. There's a good chance he gets his picture taken again.

Tampa Bay, Race 9: 4:19 p.m.

Multiple stakes winner
Rymska leads the charge in the Grade 2 Hillsborough Stakes. Stablemate Onthemoonagain, who was second in the Flower Bowl Invitational in her last start, is the third choice despite the significant layoff. Both are trained by Chad Brown, which should come as little surprise given this one's on the turn. They will both have to get past multiple Grade 1-placed Hawksmoor in her final start before becoming a broodmare.

Aqueduct, Race 9: 4:37 p.m.

Everyone’s favorite New Jersey-bred gelding,
Sunny Ridge, won the Stymie Stakes two years ago and is back to contest the event after missing last year’s edition. But he won't be getting the pre-race headlines. Last year's Wood Memorial winner Vino Rosso will be making his first start since a fifth-place finish in the Travers back in August.

Tampa Bay, Race 10: 4:50 p.m.

Undefeated
Winter Sunset takes another step forward in making her graded debut in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks. The daughter of multiple Grade 1 winner Winter Memories has done everything right so far, looking like a potential star, but this will be her biggest test to date. There are some formidable fillies in this field, mainly Jessamine (G2) winner Concrete Rose.

Aqueduct, Race 10: 5:09 p.m.

Instagrand
will make his seasonal debut in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, shipping in from California to remain around one turn. The colt is undefeated and went unchallenged in his two career starts, winning both by 10 lengths. He will have to get past Grade 1 winner Mind Control, who annexed the Jerome Stakes in his last start and also likes to run on the front end. If he can regain last year’s form while cutting backs, Knicks Go would be another to consider.

Oaklawn, Race 7: 5:09 p.m.

Whitmore
is the even money favorite to defend his Hot Springs Stakes title in his seasonal debut. It will not be an easy task coming off the layoff, however, as not so surprisingly, Steve Asmussen trains the other top choice in Share the Upside. Heartwood, a last out Oaklawn stakes winner, is another to watch in the field of six.

Turfway Park, Race 9: 5:15 p.m.

Synthetic specialist 
Nun the Less is the one to beat, in my opinion, in the Kentucky Cup Classic. The 7-year old gelding has only once finished off the board on that type of surface given a number of starts as well at Arlington Park. He drew the rail going 1 1/8 miles in a field of eight.

Tampa Bay, Race 11: 5:25 p.m.

Well Defined
will try to make it a Sam F. Davis/ Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby double when he breaks from gate five as the 7-2 second choice favorite. Others in the field are looking to step up and Outshine him, for one. For a closer look at the field led by tepid favorite Win Win Win, check out my Tampa Bay Derby handicapping.

Aqueduct, Race 11: 5:40 p.m.

Undefeated
Please Flatter Me leaders the Busher Invitational but will have to work for her next victory after drawing post 10. Her main competition, in the form of Always Shopping, drew just to her outside in post 11. Both fillies’ speed figures have improved with each start, so this has the potential to be quite a match on the Kentucky Oaks trail.

Turfway Park, Race 10: 5:51 p.m.

Into Trouble
gets back to her preferred surface in the Bourbonette Oaks. The filly won the Arlington Washington Lassie at Arlington Park in her juvenile season and is a lukewarm 4-1 favorite here. There are Oaks points on the line here as well.

Oaklawn, Race 9: 6:09 p.m.

The Grade 3
Honeybee Stakes attracted an intriguing cast. Morning line favorite Motion Emotion will be making her stakes debut. She is favored over Martha Washington Stakes winner Power Gal and Dixie Belle Stakes winner Raintree Starlet. No matter the winner, we'll have a new graded stakes hero exiting this one.

Turfway Park, Race 11: 6:37 p.m.

The top two choices in the Grade 3
Jeff Ruby Steaks have proven versatile. Heavy favorite Somelikeithotbrown has wins on both turf and all-weather surfaces, and he nearly won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. He also owns a win in this race's local prep, the John Battaglia Memorial. Meanwhile, undefeated Skywire sports wins on dirt and all weather surfaces, though he hasn't yet tried stakes. Derby points are available for the top four finishers.

Sunday

Aqueduct, Race 8: 5:12 p.m.

Grade 1-placed Divine Miss Grey will start her season off by defending her Heavenly Prize Invitational title. Last year she finished off the board just once in 10 starts and has turned into quite the race mare since rising up out of the lower ranks. Multiple stakes winner Midnight Disguise is also part of the field and enters off a second place finish in the Biogio’s Rose Stakes. 

 

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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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