HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, April 23, 2021 — With the Kentucky Derby looming in eight days, it’s only appropriate that all the Triple Crown tracks are in action this weekend.
Belmont Park opened Thursday, Pimlico Race Course drew in off the Maryland Jockey Club also-eligibles given the dirt surface travails at Laurel Park, and what could be betting than opening Derby Week on a Saturday night at Churchill Downs?
An unfortunate incident on Belmont’s opening day program whereby jockey Pablo Fragoso suffered an arm fracture as the result of a three-horse spill. Fortunately, the other riders were cleared to ride and all the horses returned safely.
Parenthetically, it was especially cruel turn of events for Fragoso who two weeks ago ran into a burning shedrow to help rescue horses trapped in a barn fire. HRI wishes him a speedy recovery.
The following a handicapping look-in at stakes races from all three venues and we will return Saturday morning with betting grids, value plays and added races. Lamentably, rain is in the forecast for Baltimore and Louisville:
Elusive Quality Stakes RACE 8
An eight-horse field in which Chad Brown has entered three runners and Mark Casse has entered a pair. However, we won’t be surprised if Bill Mott and Christophe Clement-trained specialists have something to say about the outcome.
Of the Brown trio, only Seismic Wave (12-1), a former Mott trainee, has a race under its belt. But Brown’s horses are just coming out of their winter hibernation in South Florida and will be set for go, notably Front Run the Fed (2-1) partnered by Javier Castellano.
William Walker Stakes RACE 9
Hopefully, the weather handicappers are wrong and this 5-1/2 furlong sprint for three year old males will remain on the turf.
The Walker has attracted a dozen entrants and is one of Saturday’s best betting races. Cowan (7-2) is a tepid early line favorite based on the company he’s kept recently.
Last out Cowan raced in the G1 Al Quoz in Dubai, prior to that in Saudi Arabia, and before that, dirt notwithstanding, was the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, in which he was a wide-trip, too-late runnerup. His best races, however, came in firm footing.
Keeneland leading trainer Wesley Ward saddles three of the 12 and one starter each from the Amoss, Asmussen, Cox, Maker and McGaughey outfits. Lots to unpack before going on record here.
PIMLICO RACE COURSE
Federico Tesio Stakes RACE 10
Shades of 2020, with the traditional Preakness prep back in its regular rotation three weeks in advance of the Triple Crown’s second leg.
New connections are well represented here with early line favorite Maythehorsebwithyu (5-2), part owner by NYRA Board member Michael Dubb and The Reds (4-1), a tough trip fifth in the G3 Gotham when last seen but at maiden breaker at today’s trip.
The Tesio, named for the Italian breeder who revolutionized breeding and training methods and bred the magnificent stallion Ribot–one of the best to ever look through a bridle according to respected racing historians.
The mile-and-an-eighth nominal feature is one of six listed races on the Pimlico program and is the penultimate leg of an all-stakes Rainbow Pick 6.
Belmont Park Race 8 Front Run the Fed to win at 2-1 or greater
Churchill Downs Race 9 Cowan to win at 3-1 or greater
Pimlico Race Course Race 10 The Reds to win at 5-2 or greater
Pimlico Rainbow 6 A’s, B’s, and C’s Races 6—11
A: 9, 6 (Dirt: 5)
B: 3, 10
B: 1, 6, 9
A: 7, 4 (Dirt: 6, 9, 14, 13)
A: 2, 7
B: 4, 1
A: 4, 8
C: 3, 1, 2, 6
A: 1, 7, 8 (Dirt: 7, 3)
Horses in all categories listed in order of preference