Weekend Racing Highlights (12/31 – 1/2)
Fair Grounds Has Stakes Races on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
Fair Grounds offers up four stakes races this weekend, including three on New Year’s Eve: the Woodchopper for 3-year-olds on turf and two gender-restricted divisions of the Louisiana Futurity for 2-year-old state-breds. Then on New Year’s Day the top female turf horses on the grounds compete in the Blushing K.D. Handicap. Also don’t forget that Fair Grounds presents the best Monday cards in the country on a weekly basis!
Following a one-week hiatus to observe Christmas week, the action picks back up on the inner oval at Aqueduct. Wednesday marks the re-opening, but the best racing takes place on Saturday in the form of the $65,000 Count Fleet Stakes, $65,000 Interborough Handicap. and $65,000 Champagneforashley Stakes. The Sunday features at the Big A are the $65,000 Ruthless Stakes and the $65,000 Our Shopping Spree Stakes.
OAKS AND DERBY THE SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS AT CALDER
A trio of stakes will be contested at Calder on Saturday, including two Grade 3 tests. An overflow field of 13 is set to contest the G3 $100,000 Tropical Park Derby. Trainer Chad Brown will saddle most impressive maiden winner Beachcombing, a well-bred son of Lemon Drop Kid who could be any type. Stakes winner and G3 Iroquois Stakes second Ribo Bobo will look to make his turf debut a winning one in this one after finishing second in the Jack Price Juvenile. Swift Warrior, who crushed allowance foes by 6 ¾ lengths last out, drew the rail and must be considered.
The G3 $100,000 Stage Door Betty is the next stop for Grade 1 queen Funny Moon, who was a close fourth in the G2 Top Flight Handicap in her most recent try. The Christophe Clement trainee hasn’t won since May, but has run well on several occasions against better and is the one to beat. Calder-lover Amazing and Grade 2 vixen Quiet Temper are among the top threats to Funny Moon.
The $65,000 Tropical Park Oaks drew nine, with impressive allowance heroine Lauren Byrd as the one that most will have to beat for trainer Todd Pletcher.
INAUGURAL RUNNING OF FRANKEL STAKES TOPS NEW YEAR OUT WEST
The first running of the G2 $150,000 Robert Frankel Stakes is to be held at Santa Anita on Saturday, a nine-furlong grass test for fillies and mares. Among the likely players in here are multiple Grade 2-placed Lily Fa Pootz, New Zealand import Late Cuddle, G1 QEII star Harmonious, G1 Matriarch third Go Forth North and G1 Beverly D. Stakes queen Éclair de Lune.
Also on Saturday is the G3 $100,000 Daytona Handicap, while Sunday’s main attraction is the G3 $100,000 Monrovia Stakes.