Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Toasting with Andrew Champagne

Super Saturday On Tap At Santa Anita

Nashoba's Gold wins 2014 Honeymoon.
Photo: Benoit Photo


The images of two landmark Southern California races being run away from Hollywood Park may be jarring, but they make for what should be a top-notch afternoon of racing at Santa Anita.

The Grade 1 American Oaks and Grade 2 Californian headline the Saturday slate at the Great Race Place. Both affairs drew eight-horse fields, ones that include some of the top thoroughbreds on the West Coast.
The American Oaks is topped by the presence of 9/5 favorite Nashoba’s Gold. A winner of three of her four career starts, the Carla Gaines trainee has won back-to-back graded stakes races over the Santa Anita turf course. Among the horses she’ll face is rival Diversy Harbor, who handed Nashoba’s Gold her only loss to date in the China Doll Stakes.

Stiff competition could also come from 2-1 second choice Room Service, who ships in from Kentucky for Wayne Catalano. She dead-heated for the win in the Grade 1 Ashland last out after capturing the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride two back at Gulfstream Park.
Meanwhile, the Californian features a late-developing 4-year-old who towers over the field on paper. 4/5 favorite Fury Kapcori is undefeated in four starts this season for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, and he comes in off his first graded stakes win, a score in the Grade 3 Precisionist.

The group of possible upsetters is led by 4-1 second choice Storm Fighter, who has won two in a row and took down the Tiznow Stakes last out. Additionally, ever-present hard-knocker Clubhouse Ride will make his 37th career start Saturday afternoon, while Grade 1-placed Sky Kingdom makes his 2014 debut and Tokyo City Cup hero Majestic Harbor cuts back in distance.

The Californian is the seventh race on Saturday’s card, while the American Oaks is the eighth and will go off at around 4:45 p.m. Pacific time.


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Meet Andrew Champagne


A native of upstate New York and a graduate of Ithaca College, Andrew Champagne fell in love with horse racing at a very early age on summer trips to Saratoga. His turf writing credits include time spent as a sportswriter, weekly columnist, and handicapper at The Saratogian, a summer working for The Saratoga Special, and "field research" at OTB facilities in Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Kingston. He also spent two years in the athletic communications office at Siena College, and interned with NBC Olympics at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Andrew moved to Pasadena, Calif., in October of 2013, and now serves as an Associate Producer in HRTV's Digital Media department and Horse Racing Nation's Southern California writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne, and email him at andrewdchampagne@gmail.com.

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