Triple Crown Preps Headline Weekend at Big A, Santa Anita and Tampa


Alpha is a Formidable Presence in Withers at Aqueduct

Count Fleet Stakes winner Alpha will hope to continue his march on the Triple Crown Trail when leading the field in Saturday’s G3 $200,000 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday. The son of Bernardini registered a career-best 100 BRIS Speed rating last time out and will keep Ramon Dominguez in the saddle.

The Big A will also offer the G3 $150,000 Toboggan Stakes and the $100,000 Correction Stakes on Saturday’s program.

Lewis and Strub Headline Santa Anita Weekend

Separated by less than a length in two stakes at Hollywood Park last fall, Liaison and Rousing Sermon will renew acquaintance in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita.

Also on Saturday is the G2 $200,000 Strub Stakes for four-year-old runners. Tapizar took the previous race in this series, the G2 San Fernando Stakes and will be the one to catch in this spot.

The Sunday centerpiece is the G2 $200,000 San Antonio Stakes led by Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Game on Dude.

Triple Crown Hopefuls Get Started At Tampa

Tampa Bay Downs has been an important venue for Triple Crown runners in recent years, and 2012 should be no exception. Sophomores get their first graded test here on Saturday, in the G3 $200,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes. State of Play, winner of the G2 With Anticipation Stakes as a juvenile, will try the dirt for the initial time in this spot for trainer Graham Motion.

His likely foes will include Pasco S. hero Prospective, Gulfstream Park Derby star Reveron and Neck N Neck, a sharp allowance at Gulfstream Park last time for trainer Ian Wilkes.