Weekend Watch: American Anthem one to beat in San Carlos

Weekend Watch: American Anthem one to beat in San Carlos
Photo: Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire

It's a light weekend at racing's top levels, with just four graded stakes on tap domestically. The highlight race is undeniably the Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown, where many familiar names will meet once again, while the highlight horse, American Anthem, returns to Santa Anita Park.

Read on for all the details, with post times in Eastern Standard.

The Ohio Derby draws twelve runners

Familiar faces will square off once again in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby. Nine Triple Crown trail veterans will try for this Derby win with Sam F. Davis (G3) winner Flameaway leading the charge. The Scat Daddy colt will break from post two, and directly to his outside is second choice Lone Sailor, who was last seen finishing a close fifth in the Preakness. Diamond King will attempt to bounce back after finishing seventh in the Triple Crown's middle jewel, while Core Beliefs will try to build upon his solid second in the Peter Pan (G3). There are a few front-running types in this, but none of them are speed crazy nor need the lead types. I expect a reasonable pace. Post time is 5:10 p.m.

The Chicago Handicap is Arlington’s feature

Princess La Quinta won the Matron (G3) last month as the “horse for course” play. The 4-year old filly will look to repeat that effort in the Grade 3 Chicago Handicap at Arlington Park on Saturday when she faces 12 others. On class alone, Union Strike is poised for a solid effort. She has never run on an all-weather surface before but is dropping out of top-level company. Union Strike, a former Grade 1 winner, enters off a five-month layoff and was off seven months prior to that, so fitness could be a big question. The seven furlong affair goes off at 6:11 p.m.

American Anthem tops San Carlos

Bob Baffert trained American Anthem returned on the first of the month to win an optional claiming event at Churchill Downs in his first start since October. The graded stakes winner will return to that company to headline the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita, which drew a medium-sized, competitive field. Among the contenders are another Baffert trainee, Dabster, whose only loss came in the Malibu (G1). Touching Rainbows is riding a four-race win streak, and Stone Hands is in very good form after beginning his year in claiming company. Carded for seven furlongs, the race will go to post at 8 p.m.

Santa Anita has lone Sunday graded stake

Southern California’s turf ladies are at it again! The Grade 3 Wilshire Stakes drew a field of nine, with most familiar to each other. Gamely (G1) upset winner Sophie P will try to make it two in a row after dropping her U.S. debut. Beau Recall, who beat Sophie P in the Royal Heroine (G2), will seek to avenge her fourth place Gamely defeat. Multiple graded stakes placed Sassy Little Lila, and grade two winner Ancient Secret are also part of the field. Bella Luma, who ships in from Golden Gate Fields, has shown very good recent form, and Cordiality really likes the one mile distance. Post time is 7:30 p.m.

See also:

 Minnesota-bred Mr. Jagermesiter aims at Mystic Lake Derby

 Red-hot Miss Kentucky heads Churchill's Roxelana

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 racings stars, equine and human alike.

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