Hope you can find the time, we can’t, but if there’s a remote chance you have the day off, fans and players have races from Belmont Park, Santa Anita Park and Newmarket to choose from.
What’s that? Hipodromo Da Davea? Well, yes, that also.
Start your Breeders’ Cup handicapping-prep work at Newmarket. The winner of the Juddmonte Royal Lodge will win an all-expenses paid jaunt to the New World for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
The winner of Belmont’s Vosburgh will gain admission into The Sprint but Santa Anita Park, which opened today, a win in the Speakeasy, Rodeo Drive, American Pharoah, Chandelier and Awesome Again gets you into the Juvenile Turf Sprint, Filly & Mare Turf, Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies and Classic, respectively.
Santa Anita has two more Sunday; the Santa Anita Sprint Championship and Zenyatta for the Distaffers, while victory in the Grande Premio Brazil could add more international flavor to the Turf.
The early Vosburgh favorite Engage hasn’t started since last year’s BC Sprint, winning two straight after the barn change to Steve Asmussen before he finished fourth, which was also where he wound up the last time he came off a 300-day layup.
It opens up a bit after that, even with only five other rivals. Share the Share freaked winning his last at Monmouth and True Timber was third in the G1 Forego in his Spa finale.
No win-and-in races at Gulfstream but South Florida produces runners that often surprise in the Breeders’ Cup and the Hallandale track is hosting the finals of the Florida Stallion series.
Trainer Ralph Nicks does well with youngsters and he has starters in both the In Reality and My Dear Girl at 1-1/16 miles. In the latter, Nicks has eight-length debut winner Big Rings (3-1) behind the experienced, stouter bred Princess Secret (5-2).
Nicks has the deserving favorite in the In Reality, Breeze On By (1-1), 3-for-3 by an aggregate 14-1/2 lengths, coming into this off graduating distances and owns bottom-side distance pedigree. Emisael Jaramillo is the only rider he’s had on his back.
Out west, Lady Prancealot (2-1) is 1-for-1 at the 10 furlongs of the G1 Rodeo Drive. Richard Baltas also saddles second favorite Bodhicita (5-2) Flavien Prat up. Cal-bred Mucho Unusual (5-1) comes into this sharp and Maxim Rate’s (4-1) in top form. Interesting heat.
But the G1 headliner of Santa Anita’s first Saturday and of the entire race day is the 9-furlong Awesome Again. It drew a field of five, two saddled by Bob Baffert and arguably the country’s two top handicappers; Maximum Security (3-5) and Improbable (8-5).
The latter is reunited with Drayden Van Dyke and rides a pair of Grade 1s, the Hollywood Gold Cup and Whitney, into this.
Drawn on the far outside is the ‘Max’ who, reuniting with Luis Saez, gave a top class effort taking the Pacific Classic but turns back a furlong meeting the toughest rival he’s faced this year. If both bring their ‘A’ game, it should be quite a show.
G3 NOBLE DAMSEL
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Sweet Bye and Bye (7-2)
THE BET: Sweet Bye and Bye to win at 3-1 or greater
EXOTICA: Keying Sweet Bye and Bye first and second with Blowout (3-1) and Chaleur (5-1), using Viadera (9-2), Lemon Zip (30-1) and Feel Glorious (4-1) third and/or fourth.
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: True Timber (9-2)
THE BET: True Timber to win at 5-2 or more
EXOTICA: Key-boxing exactas with Stan the Man (8-1) and Share the Ride (6-1)
G2 Ack Ack
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Warrior’s Charge (9-5)
THE BET: Thirstforlife (30-1) to win at 20-1 or more
EXOTICA: Exacta box of Thirstforlife, Warrior’s Charge and Everfast. Trifecta and/or superfecta key Warrior’s Charge over the exacta horses plus American Anthem (5-1), Mr. Money (6-1) Ebben (5-1) and Bankit (10-1)
SANTA ANITA PARK
Grade 1 Rodeo Drive
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Maxim Rate (4-1)
THE BET: Maxim Rate to win at 3-1 or better
EXOTICA: Keying Maxim Rate first and second in exactas and trifectas with Bodicita ((5-2), Mucho Unusual (5-1) and Lady Prancealot (2-1). 50-Cent PICK 3: 2 // ALL // 3 [$4]
G2 John Henry
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: United (6-5)
THE BET: United to win, no price restrictions
EXOTICA: Key-boxing United first and second in exactas and trifectas with Originaire (7-2) and Salvator Mundi (6-1), extra ticket United on top
Grade 1 Awesome Again
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Maximum Security (3-5)
THE BET: Cold exacta, Maximum Security over Improbable (8-5)