Weekend Lineup: Saturday’s Triple On The Road To The Kentucky Derby

A trio of Kentucky Derby qualifying races are set to take place on April 3 and Keeneland kicks off its Spring Meet one year after having to cancel the meet due to the coronavirus pandemic. Champion Essential Quality, the No. 1-ranked horse on the NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Thoroughbred Poll, headlines Keeneland’s signature prep race, the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes, while other top-flight contenders will square off in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and the Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park. All three races distribute Kentucky Derby points to the top four finishers on a 100-40-20-10 basis.

The Blue Grass Stakes, Wood Memorial, and Santa Anita Derby will be televised by NBC Sports as part of their “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series during a two-hour program airing on NBCSN and beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Prior to the NBCSN broadcast, national television coverage of the Wood Memorial Day card from Aqueduct can be found on America’s Day at the Races on FS2 beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

TVG will be broadcasting every race, every day with expanded coverage of Keeneland’s Spring Meet which begins on April 2nd and runs through April 23rd. In addition to racing from Keeneland, Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park, TVG will feature racing from Oaklawn Park, Aqueduct and more. Fans can tune in on TVG, TVG2 and the Watch TVG app which is available on Amazon Fire, Roku and connected Apple TV devices.

Friday, April 2

4:34 p.m. —$150,000 Grade 3 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct on FS2 and TVG

Anderson Stables’ Lady Kate looks to make the grade in Friday’s Distaff, a seven-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares. Trained by Eddie Kenneally, the Grade 1-placed Lady Kate will make her seasonal debut following an off-the-board effort in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff won by eventual Champion Older Dirt Female Monomoy Girl in November at Keeneland. The 5-year-old Bernardini mare, who finished second to Monomoy Girl in the Grade 1 La Troienne in September at Churchill Downs, enjoyed a four-win campaign in 2020, including a score in the one-mile Groupie Doll in August at Ellis Park.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/AQU040221USA7-EQB.html

4:57 p.m. —$150,000 Grade 3 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland on TVG

Erich Brehm’s My Girl Red, stylish winner of last summer’s Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar, headlines a field of seven 3-year-old fillies entered for the 36th running of the Beaumont, which offers 17 points toward the Kentucky Oaks on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the first- through fourth-place finishers. Trained by Keith Desormeaux, My Girl Red will be making her 2021 debut on Friday. James Graham will be aboard for the first time and break from post one.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/KEE040221USA8-EQB.html

5:30 p.m. —$150,000 Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland on TVG

Three Diamonds Farm’s Fire At Will, winner of last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, will face five rivals in the 33rd running of the Transylvania Stakes for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Trained by Mike Maker, who saddled Field Pass to a victory in the 2020 Transylvania, Fire At Will returns to the turf after finishing eighth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on dirt in his most recent start.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/KEE040221USA9-EQB.html

Saturday, April 3

2:21 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct on FS2 and TVG

A compact but competitive field of 3-year-old dirt sprinters has assembled for the Bay Shore at seven furlongs led by Florida shipper Drain the Clock, who enters off a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park. While the temptation for most connections would be to forge ahead on the Kentucky Derby trail after picking up 20 qualifying points in the Fountain of Youth, trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. and the ownership group have elected to focus on shorter races with their talented sophomore. Drain the Clock has four wins in dirt dashes, including a pair of open-length tallies at Gulfstream during their recent Championship Meet.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/AQU040321USA4-EQB.html

3:25 p.m.—$300,000 Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct on FS2 and TVG

Cash is King and LC Racing’s Mischevious Alex will look to breakthrough at the highest level in Saturday’s Carter Handicap, a seven-furlong sprint for older horses. Mischevious Alex, a 4-year-old Into Mischief colt trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr., won the one-turn mile Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct and seven-furlong Grade 3 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park last year for former conditioner John Servis. The versatile dark bay is perfect in two starts since joining the Joseph, Jr. stable, including a prominent score in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint on February 13 last out traveling six furlongs on a fast track.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/AQU040321USA6-EQB.html

3:51 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland on TVG

Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables’ Plum Ali, last seen at Keeneland finishing fifth as the second choice in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, tops a field of six 3-year-old fillies entered for the 33rd running of the Appalachian Stakes going a mile on the turf. Trained by Christophe Clement, Plum Ali won her first three starts, including the Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky Downs and the Grade 2 Miss Grillo Stakes Belmont, prior to the Breeders’ Cup.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/KEE040321USA6-EQB.html

4:24 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland on TVG

Something Special Racing’s Grade 1 winner Hog Creek Hustle heads a field of seven 4-year-olds and up entered for the 34th running of the Commonwealth Stakes at seven furlongs on the main track. Trained by Vickie Foley, Hog Creek Hustle took the Grade 1 Woody Stephens in 2019 and has started in the past two runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Corey Lanerie has the mount and will break from post seven.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/KEE040321USA7-EQB.html

4:31 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct on FS2 and TVG

Coming off a pair of stakes wins on the local strip, the venerable New York-bred Mr. Buff will look to finally break through in a graded stakes race on Saturday when he lines up against six rivals in the nine-furlong Excelsior for 4-year-olds and up. Mr. Buff, who has already secured millionaire status, has 17 wins to his credit, 11 of them in stakes races, but has been unable to seal the deal in a graded race in five attempts. Despite his graded woes, the 7-year-old son of Friend Or Foe has compiled an imposing resume. His ledger at Aqueduct features 10 wins and earnings in excess of $600,000.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/AQU040321USA8-EQB.html

4:57 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland on TVG

Wesley Ward’s Bound for Nowhere and Breeze Easy’s Imprimis, respective winners of the 2018 and 2019 runnings of the Shakertown, headline a field of 13 3-year-olds and up entered for Saturday’s 25th edition of the $200,000 race going 5½ furlongs on the grass. Also trained by Ward, Bound for Nowhere was caught late in the past two runnings of the Shakertown, finishing a neck behind Imprimis in 2019 when running second, and a neck behind Leinster and Totally Boss in last year’s running that was his most recent start.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/KEE040321USA8-EQB.html

5:09 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 3 Gazelle Stakes at Aqueduct on FS2 and TVG

Trainer Chad Brown will send out a pair of stakes winners who are looking to take the next step up against graded company, with the duo competing as part of an eight-horse field in Saturday’s Gazelle, which offers 100-40-20-10 qualifying points to the top-four finishers to the Kentucky Oaks. Brown enter the respective first and third-place finishers from the Busher Invitational on March 6, saddling Klaravich Stables’ Search Results and Louis Lazzinnaro’s The Grass Is Blue. Search Results, unraced as a juvenile, improved to 2-for-2 in her career with a half-length score over Miss Brazil in the Busher, contested over a one-turn mile on an Aqueduct fast track.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/AQU040321USA9-EQB.html

5:14 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 Providencia Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG

Sensational in her two previous stateside starts, Phil D’Amato’s Going Global (IRE) heads a field of seven sophomore fillies going a 1 1/8-miles on turf in the Providencia Stakes. Ridden by Flavien Prat in both local starts, Going Global surged late in her U.S. debut, the Grade 3 Sweet Life Stakes on February 14. In her first try around two turns, Going Global was off as the even money favorite in the one mile turf China Doll Stakes March 6 and she did not disappoint as she unfurled an explosive stretch rally en route to a three quarter length score.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/SA040321USA5-EQB.html

5:30 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on TVG

Undefeated Malathaat and Simply Ravishing headline a field of six 3-year-old fillies for Saturday’s 84th running of the Ashland Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Favored at 9-5 on the morning line is Malathaat, who is making her 2021 debut. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Malathaat closed her 2020 campaign with a victory in the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct. Trained by two-time race winner Kenny McPeek, Simply Ravishing romped to a 6¼-length victory in last fall’s Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes before finishing a troubled fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/KEE040321USA9-EQB.html

5:48 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks at Santa Anita Park on TVG

Separated by a head when last they met on March 7, Bob Baffert’s Beautiful Gift and Michael McCarthy’s Moraz will square off again as they head a field of five sophomore fillies in the Santa Anita Oaks, which offers 100 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the winner. Beautiful Gift broke her maiden two starts back on October 23 at a flat mile and then rallied to nail Moraz on the money in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel on March 7.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/SA040321USA6-EQB.html

5:58 p.m.—$750,000 Grade 2 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct on NBCSN

Unbeaten Prevalence and Grade 3 Withers-winner Risk Taking highlight a strong field for Saturday’s 96th running of the Wood Memorial. Godolphin, whose royal blue colors saw the winner’s circle in the 2015 Wood Memorial with Frosted, will seek their second Wood triumph with the highly regarded Prevalence. The Brendan Walsh-trained son of Medaglia d’Oro is 2-for-2 at Gulfstream Park to start and his career will see two turns for the first time.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/AQU040321USA10-EQB.html

6:02 p.m.—$300,000 Grade 1 Madison Stakes at Keeneland on TVG

Lothenbach Stables’ Bell’s the One, winner of the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff and third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, headlines a field of seven fillies and mares entered for the Madison going seven furlongs on the main track. Trained by Neil Pessin, Bell’s the One will be making her 2021 debut in the Madison. Winner of the 2019 Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland, Bell’s the One will be ridden by Corey Lanerie and break from post position four.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/KEE040321USA10-EQB.html

6:35 p.m.—$800,000 Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on NBCSN and TVG

Godolphin’s undefeated homebred Essential Quality, the champion 2-year-old male of 2020, is the 3-5 morning line choice in a field of nine 3-year-olds entered for the 97th running of the Blue Grass Stakes going 1 1/8 miles on the main track. Trained by Brad Cox, Essential Quality debuted September 5 at Churchill on Kentucky Derby Day and followed that triumph with victories in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to sew up the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male. In his lone start of 2021, Essential Quality won the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park by 4¼ lengths on February 27.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/KEE040321USA11-EQB.html

6:54 p.m.—$600,000 Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park on TVG

Pauline’s Pearl and Sun Path ran 2-3, respectively, in the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes on March 6 and the two meet again in the Fantasy Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Pauline’s Pearl is out of Grade 1 winner Hot Dixie Chick and broke her maiden at third asking at Fair Grounds on February 12.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/OP040321USA11-EQB.html

7:15 p.m.—$750,000 Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park on NBCSN and TVG

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will send out likely favorite Medina Spirit in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby, a race that he’s won a record nine times. Medina Spirit, who was second, beaten eight lengths by his recently sidelined stablemate Life Is Good in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, was a gate to wire winner of the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes two starts back on January 30. A first-out maiden winner going 5 ½ furlongs at Los Alamitos December 11, Medina Spirit then flew to be second, beaten three quarters of a length by Life Is Good going a flat mile in the Sham Stakes.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/SA040321USA8-EQB.html

7:46 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Royal Heroine Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG

Fresh off of a pair of dominating turf wins, trainer Phil D’Amato’s Charmaine’s Mia heads a solid field of eight older fillies and mares going one mile on turf in the Royal Heroine Stakes. Previously headquartered at Woodbine Racetrack, Charmaine’s Mia, in her first start for D’Amato was a rousing 2 ½ length winner of the Grade 3 Las Cienegas Stakes going six furlongs on turf January 9 while dismissed at odds of 16-1.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/SA040321USA9-EQB.html

Sunday, April 4

4:30 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 Las Flores Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG

Idle since winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint November 7 at Keeneland, champion female sprinter Gamine towers over her competition going six furlongs in Sunday’s Las Flores Stakes. Supplemented at a cost of $2,000, owner Michael Lund Petersen’s Gamine will face three rival fillies and mares in what will be her first start at Santa Anita since she aired by 6 ¼ lengths in her debut on March 7, 2020. A winner of both the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park on June 20 and the Grade 1 Test Stakes going seven furlongs at Saratoga August 8, Gamine has four wins from six starts with earnings of $883,000.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/SA040421USA2-EQB.html

The post Weekend Lineup: Saturday’s Triple On The Road To The Kentucky Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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