Weekend Lineup: Three Derby Preps, Big ‘Cap

A trio of prep races for the Kentucky Derby are slated for this weekend with the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, and Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes all offering Derby qualifying points to the top four finishers on a 50-20-10-5 basis. One of racing’s most prestigious races for older horses, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, is also scheduled for March 6.

America’s Day at the Races, produced by the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) in partnership with FOX Sports, will air coverage both Saturday and Sunday showcasing live racing action from Aqueduct Racetrack, Oaklawn Park, Tampa Bay Downs, Santa Anita Park and Fair Grounds.

Presented by America’s Best Racing and Claiborne Farm, America’s Day at the Races will broadcast Saturday from 5-6 p.m. ET on FS2, while Sunday will feature coverage on FS2 from 1:30-6:30 p.m.

TVG will have live coverage of the Kentucky Derby prep races as well as the $400,000 Santa Anita Handicap. In addition to racing from Santa Anita, Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream Park, TVG will be featuring racing from Fair Grounds, Oaklawn 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.

Saturday, March 6

2:18 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on TVG

The Bill Mott-trained Modernist seeks his first victory in more than a year when he breaks from the outside post in a field of five for the Challenger Stakes going 1 1/16-miles. Modernist won the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes last February but has not started since finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes last July 16.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/TAM030621USA5-EQB.html

4:02 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct on TVG

Gold Square’s Wendell Fong will look to make the grade in Saturday’s Tom Fool Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for older horses. Wendell Fong provided trainer Natalia Lynch – previously an assistant and exercise rider for Jeremiah Englehart – her first career win last out with a neck score in the six-furlong Fire Plug on January 16 at Laurel Park. Lynch helped prepare the 5-year-old son of Flat Out, previously trained by Englehart, for a winning career debut in December 2018 at Laurel. She was also along for the journey with Wendell Fong through a win in the 2019 Gold Fever at Belmont in a campaign that ended with a prominent fifth in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens at Belmont and a tenth in the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/AQU030621USA7-EQB.html

4:25 p.m.—$225,000 Grade 2 Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on TVG

On Saturday, Magic Attitude (GB) will try to launch an even better 4-year-old campaign in the Grade 2, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes at 1 1/8-miles on the Oldsmar turf course. After trailing early, Magic Attitude took off in the stretch, sweeping to victory against her four rivals to win the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational last September. She followed that up with a strong third-place performance in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes, also for 3-year-old fillies, on October 10 at Keeneland.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/TAM030621USA9-EQB.html

4:55 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 3 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs on TVG

Trainer Arnaud Delacour, who will saddle Magic Attitude in the Hillsborough, is seeking his first triumph in the Florida Oaks when he sends out Lael Stables homebred Be Sneaky. Yet to race on grass, Be Sneaky is 1-for-3, with a second-place finish at Tampa Bay Downs in the Suncoast Stakes on February 6 in her most recent start. The daughter of Into Mischief broke her maiden at Laurel Park last October.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/TAM030621USA10-EQB.html

5:07 p.m.—$300,000 Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on FS2 and TVG

Owner Klaravich Stables and trainer Chad Brown already campaigned a winner in a Kentucky Derby qualifier in New York when Risk Taking captured the Grade 3 Withers last month. On Saturday, they will look to put another contender in the running for the first Saturday in May with stakes-winner Highly Motivated in the Gotham. Highly Motivated graduated at second asking going 6 ½ furlongs over the Belmont Park main track on September 27, where he defeated eventual two-time winner Known Agenda, who finished third in the Grade 2 Remsen in December. Last out, Highly Motivated displayed a winning effort in the Nyquist on November 6 traveling 6 1/2-furlongs at Keeneland.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/AQU030621USA9-EQB.html

5:25 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs on FS2 and TVG

Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby will bring together 12 3-year-olds, most with much to prove if they are to continue to advance toward a date with destiny in the Kentucky Derby. Headlining the field will be Candy Man Rocket, who won the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes on February 6. Joining Candy Man Rocket and Super Strong as a graded-stakes winner in the race is trainer Dale Romans’s Sittin On Go, who won the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes last September 5 at Churchill Downs, then was a non-threatening ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on November 6 at Keeneland.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/TAM030621USA11-EQB.html

5:45 p.m.—$300,000 Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park on FS2 and TVG

Bob Baffert’s lightly raced Life Is Good heads an outstanding field of seven sophomores in Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes. A key prep for the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 3, the San Felipe will be contested for the 83rd time, with Baffert bidding to win it for a record eighth time. Owned by CHC, Inc. and WinStar Farm, Life Is Good was making his second start in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes and was off as the 1-5 favorite. Although he opened up a four length advantage at the top of the lane, he narrowly held sway by three quarters of a length over stablemate Medina Spirit, who helps provide Baffert with a solid one-two punch on Saturday.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/SA030621USA6-EQB.html

6:10 p.m.—$300,000 Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park on TVG

Juddmonte Farms’ two-time winner Sun Path was installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies signed on to compete in the 1 1/16-miles Honeybee, which offers 85 points (50-20-10-5, respectively) to the top four finishers toward the Kentucky Oaks. Trained by two-time Kentucky Oaks-winning conditioner Brad Cox, Sun Path was an emphatic 12-length winner of a Dec. 18 allowance event at Fair Grounds. The Munnings filly attempted stakes company in the $150,000 Silverbulletday but settled for a fourth-place finish after a wide trip throughout the race.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/OP030621USA9-EQB.html

6:52 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG

Jay Em Ess Stable’s graded stakes winning Extra Hope will cut back in distance off of five consecutive routes as he heads a field of nine older horses going seven furlongs in Saturday’s San Carlos Stakes. Recent seven furlong allowance winner Exaulted steps into stakes company for the first time, 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Storm the Court tries a new game, recent California-bred stakes winner Brickyard Ride, lightly raced Tigre Di Slugo and reformed claimer Loud Mouth all rate good chances in a race devoid of a dominant favorite.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/SA030621USA8-EQB.html

7:26 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita Park on TVG

Trainer Michael McCarthy’s Smooth Like Strait heads a deep and competitive field of 10 older horses in Saturday’s Frank E. Kilroe Mile. A winner of the opening day Mathis Brothers Mile on December 26, Cannon Thoroughbreds’ homebred Smooth Like Strait is a head away from three consecutive graded stakes wins and merits top billing in a close call over recent lights-out Grade 3 winner Hit the Road. With a strong local contingent in place, the Kilroe has also attracted five quality eastern shippers, headed by Chad Brown’s Flavius, Todd Pletcher’s Social Paranoia and Mark Casse’s Ride a Comet.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/SA030621USA9-EQB.html

8 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap at Santa Anita Park on TVG

Goldolphin’s unbeaten homebred Maxfield heads ups Saturday’s Santa Anita Handicap, which has attracted a field of eight older horses. Trained by Brendan Walsh, Maxfield, a 4-year-old colt by Street Sense, rallied from far back to win the Grade 3 Mineshaft Stakes by 3 ¼ lengths at Fair Grounds under Florent Geroux, who will be back aboard Saturday. A Grade 1 winner in his second start at age two in October 2019, Maxfield has three graded victories to his credit.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/SA030621USA10-EQB.html

Sunday, March 7

5 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita Park on FS2 and TVG

Bob Baffert’s well accomplished Kalypso heads a field of five sophomore fillies in Sunday’s Santa Ysabel Stakes, which offers 50 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the winner. Baffert will also be represented by Baoma Corporation’s Beautiful Gift as well as Pegram, Watson and Weitman’s Heels Up in a race that Baffert has won a record five times. Kalyspo, a daughter of Brody’s Cause, broke her maiden going six furlongs four starts back in the ungraded Anoakia Stakes on October 18 and then showed the way prior to running second, beaten 1 ½ lengths in the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos December 5.

Entries: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/SA030721USA4-EQB.html

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