This week in racing: Fair Grounds in focus, plus familiar names return

January 13, 2020 06:50pm
This week in racing: Fair Grounds in focus, plus familiar names return
Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
Fair Grounds will serve as the epicenter of racing this week when it hosts a stakes-laden, 13-race program on Saturday highlighted by the Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte Stakes for 3-year-olds on the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail. 

Meanwhile, at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita, state-breds will take center stage in the Sunshine Millions and California Cup programs, respectively. Aqueduct will join the mix with the 
Grade 3, $200,000 Toboggan Stakes for older sprinters.

In addition to the solid stakes slate, racing fans will also be treated this week to allowance races featuring some notable names returning to the races. On the wagering front, bettors will also have opportunities for a major score via a handful of substantial carryovers at tracks from coast-to-coast.

More ahead...

Stakes Glances

The 1 1/16-mile 
Lecomte features a wide-open field of 14 3-year-olds with classic aspirations. While it’s a tough group to decipher, some notable entrants include:

Scabbard, who will be making his first start since running fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for trainer Eddie Kenneally.

-- Mr. Monomoy, a well-regarded half-brother to champion Monomoy Girl trained by Brad Cox.

-- Lynn’s Map, who most recently bested Mr. Monomoy by a head in a Fair Grounds allowance on Dec. 21.

-- Sycamore Run, who earned a 96 Beyer Speed Figure when winning on debut at Fair Grounds on Dec. 21 for trainer Joe Sharp. 

The Lecomte is the final race of the day at Fair Grounds with an approximate post time of 6:55 p.m. ET. In addition to the Lecomte, there are five other stakes races set for Saturday at Fair Grounds. These include the $150,000
Silverbulletday for 3-year-old fillies trying the Kentucky Oaks trail and the Louisiana Stakes (G3) for older routers on the main track. 

Silverbulletday attracted a field of eight led by Finite, who most recently won the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs; and also graded-stakes placed runners Portrait for Brad Cox and His Glory for trainer Tom Amoss. 

Louisiana Stakes drew an intriguing group of seasoned older horses. Among the eight-horse field is recent Clasico del Caribe winner Kukulkan; dual Canadian classic winner Tone Broke; Blended Citizen, who competed in the 2018 Triple Crown series; and Gun It, a $2.6 million auction purchase who’ll be making his first start in a stakes since last year’s Risen Star at Fair Grounds. 

One other notable runner on the Lecomte undercard is Hog Creek Hustle. A Grade 1 winner at age 3, he's back to headline the Duncan F. Kenner, a sprint for horses 4-year-olds and up. Hog Creek Hustle was last seen when sixth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. On last year's Belmont Stakes undercard, he eked out a victory in the Woody Stephens (G1) while cutting back from the Derby trail.

The California Cup program at Santa Anita is highlighted by five stakes for California-breds on Saturday. The featured $200,000
California Cup Derby is expected to attract the likes of Rookie Mistake for the Kentucky Derby-winning connections of Paul Reddam and Doug O’Neill, along with stakes winners Bettor Trip Nick and Club Aspen.

The Sunshine Millions card at Gulfstream has four stakes restricted to Florida-breds with the headliner being the $200,000
Sunshine Millions Classic. A short field appears likely for the 1 1/8-mile contest. The Gulfstream racing office listed only five horses as probable as of Sunday with that group headlined by recent Sunshine Millions Preview winner Red Crescent, who drops back into a restricted stakes after running third behind War Story in Harlan’s Holiday (G3).

The seven-furlong
Toboggan at Aqueduct is expected to feature the return of both Grade 1 winner Mind Control for trainer Gregg Sacco and graded stakes winner American Anthem for Danny Gargan. 

A 4-year-old son of Stay Thirsty, Mind Control was last seen winning the Grade 1 Allen Jerkens Memorial at Saratoga on Aug. 24. American Anthem, winner of last year’s San Carlos Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita, will be making his first start since running fourth in the Pat O’Brien (G2) at Del Mar, also on Aug. 24.

The Toboggan is also expected to draw multiple stakes winner Sunny Ridge for trainer Jason Servis. 

Other Notable Races

In addition to the stakes action, there are also a trio of notable allowance races this week. In the seventh race at Aqueduct on Friday, Joevia returns to action for the first time since running third in the Belmont Stakes. The stakes-winning son of Shanghai Bobby is set to face seven rivals in the 6 ½-furlong optional-claiming event. Post time is approximately 3:55 p.m. ET.

Also on Friday, Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Hidden Scroll will be back in action at Gulfstream Park after more than eight months on the sidelines. The son of Hard Spun was briefly on the Triple Crown trail early last year for trainer Bill Mott before finally being shelved for the year in May. 

Hidden Scroll is entered for the ninth race, a six-furlong optional claiming event that drew a field of eight. Approximate post time is 4:38 p.m. ET.

Prior to all that, kicking things off on Wednesday is an allowance race at Gulfstream Park that can be expected to produce a horse for the Triple Crown trail. A field of six is entered for the seven-furlong optional claiming event with flashy debut winner Premier Star installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite. 

Trained by Jorge Navarro, Premier Star won by 1 3/4 lengths on debut at Gulfstream on Dec. 8. Note the runner-up in that heat, Caracaro, returned on Saturday to score an impressive six-length maiden win at Gulfstream that returned respectable speed figures. 

Premier Star is set to face five rivals with an approximate post time of 3:30 ET.

Carryover Alert

Gulfstream, Santa Anita and Aqueduct will all have sizable carryovers in their Pick 6 jackpot pools when racing commences this week.

At Gulfstream, the jackpot carryover stands at $2,371,995 heading into Wednesday’s action. The sequence, which starts with the fourth race at approximately 2 p.m. ET, has an average field size of 9.3 runners.

When racing returns to Santa Anita on Friday with a seven-race program, bettors will be greeted with a Rainbow 6 carryover of $432,042. The sequence is plagued by short fields that have become commonplace in southern California. Starting with the second race, the field sizes for the Pick 6 are 5-8-5-7-6-8, which is an average of 6.5 runners per race. The multi-race wager starts Friday at approximately 1:30 p.m. PT. 

Things are also heating up in New York. The Empire 6 jackpot wager at Aqueduct has a carryover of $113,745 heading into Friday’s card. The sequence, which averages 8.4 runners per race, kicks off at approximately 2:25 p.m ET. 

At Fair Grounds, the Black Gold Pick 5 jackpot stands at $187,802 heading into Thursday’s 11-race program. The sequence kicks off with the seventh race at approximately 4:24 p.m. ET.


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