The serious part Kentucky Derby prep season is now underway. The top four finishers in both the Withers and the Holy Bull will receive Kentucky Derby points (10-4-2-1), and they will set themselves up for entry into the next round of preps where the Derby points significantly increase (50-20-10-5).
“If you build it – they will come” calmly announced the ethereal, disembodied voice in Field of Dreams. However, that disembodied voice hadn’t contemplated Knicks Go and Life Is Good significantly thinning out the competition in a $3 million race.
This Aqueduct card could easily be held on a Saturday in Saratoga with four Graded Stakes headlined by the final Grade I of the year in New York – the Cigar Mile. In addition, there are four turf races carded – on December 4th! I’ll tackle the Cigar Mile along with the Grade II Remsen for two year colts. The other two stakes at the Big A today are the Grade II Demoiselle for two year old fillies and the Grade III Go For Wand for fillies and mares ages three and up.
Today is THE day – nine Breeders’ Cup races highlighted by the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf and the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. I’ll tackle those two headline Breeders’ Cup races here. The best of the best are here for these two headlining races and you can make good cases for five or six entrants in each. This of course leads to great prices in many Breeders’ Cup races and those Breeders’ Cup exotic payouts tend to be very juicy due to the size of the fields and the way money is spread throughout the pools.
There are five Breeders’ Cup races on the card today headlined by the $2 million Juvenile Fillies and the $2 million Juvenile. I like the “themed” approach to Friday but personally I would go back to the Friday Breeders’ Cup day as an “Oaks Day” where they run all the filly and mare races. This has the benefit of giving our best fillies and mares top billing on Friday in the Distaff rather than having them buried inside the star studded Saturday card. But things evolve and it has become “Future Stars Friday” which is a perfectly fine alternative and better than just picking five races with no theme at all.
This Belmont card features three graded stakes races; the Grade III Matron, the Grade I1 Vosburgh, and the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.
Happy Woodward Day! This is an excellent card with four graded stakes including two very competitive Grade Is – the Woodward and the Champagne.
Today’s card has three stakes races headlined by the third legs of the Turf Triple – the Jockey Club Oaks for three year old fillies and Jockey Club Derby for three year old colts.
Today marks a significant change to the NYRA stakes schedule as two Grade Is – the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Flower Bowl will be run at Saratoga after being longtime fixtures of the Belmont Fall meet.