Weekend Lineup: Loading Up Before Sunday’s Game

This weekend’s graded stakes action is restricted to Saturday racing, thanks to the Big Game coming up on Sunday! Features include a pair of Kentucky Derby 10-point prep races in the final week before points rise to 50 per race, as well as the Grade 3, $600,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park and stakes action from Gulfstream, Santa Anita, Aqueduct, Golden Gate, and Tampa Bay Downs.


4:54 p.m. – G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs

A field of 12 sophomores, a few more promising than the others, is expected to line up about that time for the 42nd running of the Grade 3, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race awarding “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points to the first four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale.

Howling Time, who is owned by Albaugh Family Stables and will be ridden by his regular jockey, Joseph Talamo, won his first two starts as a 2-year-old, including the Street Sense Stakes on Oct. 31 at Churchill Downs, before fading to a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov. 27 at Churchill.

Joining Howling Time from the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes is Kentucky-bred colt Classic Causeway, who finished a solid second in that race to Smile Happy. Irad Ortiz, Jr., will take over the riding assignment from Joel Rosario. Classic Causeway is 1-for-3, including a third-place finish on Oct. 9 in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.

While Classic Causeway earned six points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” for his two graded-stakes efforts, Red Oak Stable’s unbeaten (3-for-3) colt Make It Big gained 10 points on Dec. 17 by winning the Springboard Mile Stakes at Remington Park in Oklahoma, his second stakes victory. Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr., said Jose Ortiz, Irad’s brother, will again ride Make It Big.

Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse has entered three horses in the Sam F. Davis, including Grade 3 Grey Stakes winner God of Love, a supplementary entry after not being originally nominated. Casse’s other runners are Golden Glider and Volcanic.

Sam Davis Entries

5:56 p.m. – G3 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn

Lone Rock began 2021 winning an $89,000 allowance race at Oaklawn. The stakes are much, much higher to begin 2022 when Lone Rock launches his 7-year-old campaign in the $600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses Saturday at Oaklawn. Trainer Robertino Diodoro said if all goes well in the Razorback, Lone Rock will be seriously considered for the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) at approximately 1 ¼ miles March 26 in the United Arab Emirates. That scenario would have been unimaginable a year ago as Lone Rock was preparing for the late February allowance race at Oaklawn after Diodoro reclaimed the gelding for $40,000 in November 2020 at Churchill Downs.

The Razorback drew nine horses, eight being stakes winners. Thomas Shelby is seeking his first career stakes victory after nearly toppling his heralded stablemate in the Tinsel. Lone Rock is the 3-1 program favorite after bankrolling $1,148,641 in his career, including $842,884 last year.

Razorback Entries

7:30 p.m. – El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields

A pair of Southern California shippers make the trip north to Golden Gate for this 10-point Derby prep. The headliner in the field is Doug O’Neill trainee MacKinnon, who won a pair of stakes on turf as a 2-year-old-the Juvenile Turf at Del Mar and the Zuma Beach at Santa Anita-before finishing third in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf last November. Most recently, the son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah finished fourth behind next-out Southwest Stakes victor Newgrange in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes on dirt at Santa Anita. Southern California-based jockey Abel Cedillo, who has a total of four mounts on the day, is named to ride McKinnon.

Trainer Bob Baffert won the El Camino Real Derby in 2019 with Azul Coast and sends out $620,000 yearling purchase Blackadder in the 2022 edition. In his most recent afternoon appearance, the son of Quality Road broke his maiden in a two-turn race at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. He faces winners for the first time and will be ridden by Edwin Maldonado for the first time. Blackadder is owned by the large partnership of SF Racing LLC, Madaket Stables LLC, Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital LLC, Catherine Donovan, Golconda Stable and Siena Farm LLC.

El Camino Real Derby Entries

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