About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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Preakness Stakes 149 Recap

BALTIMORE (AP) — D. Wayne Lukas worked his way to Seize the Grey after his horse won the Preakness Stakes and kept getting interrupted by well-wishers offering congratulations.

“I think they’re trying to get rid of me,” Lukas said. “They probably want me to retire. I don’t think that’ll happen.”

Not when the 88-year-old Hall of Fame trainer keeps winning big-time races.

Seize the Grey ended Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan’s Triple Crown bid Saturday by going wire to wire to win the Preakness, giving Lukas his seventh victory in the race, one short of the record held by good friend Bob Baffert.

“I’m only one behind him — I warned him already,” Lukas said. “It never gets old at this level, and I love the competition. I love to get in here with the rest of them.”

The strapping grey colt took advantage of the muddy track just as Lukas hoped he would, pulling off the upset in a second consecutive impressive start two weeks after romping in a race on the Derby undercard at Churchill Downs. Going off at 9-1 as one of the longest shots on the board, Seize the Grey moved to the lead immediately out of the starting gate and never looked back, finishing 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Mystik Dan in 1:56.82.

“I thought his action down the backside was beautiful, and I knew that he was handling the track,” Lukas said. “I said, ‘Watch out, he’s not going to quit.’”

Mystik Dan finished second in the field of eight horses running in the $2 million, 1 3/16-mile race. After falling short of going back to back following his win by a nose in the Kentucky Derby, it would be a surprise if he runs in the Belmont Stakes on June 8 at Saratoga Race Course.

“My colt’s a fantastic colt and proud of him,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “It just wasn’t his day, but he’ll live to race again.”

Seize the Grey was a surprise Preakness winner facing tougher competition than in the Pat Day Mile on May 4. Though given the Lukas connection, it should never be a surprise when one of his horses is covered in a blanket of Black-Eyed Susan flowers.

No one in the race’s 149-year history has saddled more horses in the Preakness than Lukas with 48 since debuting in 1980 and winning that one with Codex. He had two in this time, with Just Steel finishing fifth, but Seize the Grey — owned by 2,570 people involved in the MyRacehorse group — delivered the victory.

“I just couldn’t be happier for every single one of them,” MyRacehorse founder and CEO Michael Behrens said. “We had some big expectations, but this exceeds all those expectations.”

Seize the Grey paid $21.60 to win, $8.40 to place and $4.40 to show. Mystik Dan paid $4.20 and $2.80 after finishing a head in front of third-place Catching Freedom, who paid $3.20 to show.

Baffert, who was looking for a record-extending ninth Preakness victory, was supposed to have two horses in the field, but morning line favorite Muth was scratched earlier in the week because of a fever. Baffert’s Imagination finished seventh.

“He is still learning,” Baffert said. “I think we are learning his style. I saw a lot today that I can change going forward. I don’t think he wants to run like that. We didn’t really have a plan. We thought it would be Wayne or us.”

Muth’s absence made Mystik Dan the 2-1 favorite, but he and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. could not replicate their perfect Derby trip to win that race’s first three-way photo finish since 1947. Instead, Jaime Torres rode Seize the Grey to a win in his first Triple Crown race of any kind, just two years after starting to ride.

“I have no words,” said Torres, a native of Puerto Rico who did not begin racing until seeing it on TV in late 2019. “I’m very excited, very excited and very thankful to all the people that have been behind me, helping me.”

This was the last Preakness held at Pimlico Race Course as it stands before demolition begins on the historic but deteriorating track, which will still hold the 150th running of it next year mid-construction.

That process is already well underway at Belmont Park, which is why the final leg of the Triple Crown is happening at Saratoga for the first time and is being shortened to 1 1/4 miles because of the shape of the course. Kentucky Derby second-place finisher Sierra Leone, a half step from winning, is expected to headline that field, though Lukas said he’d wait to see about Seize the Grey also running.

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AP horse racing: https://apnews.com/hub/horse-racing

 

Hong Kong Horse Racing Selections – Sun., May 19

SHA TIN SELECTIONS
(Sunday, May 19, 2024)

Race 1: #11 Great Days, #3 Mr Good Vibes, #9 Good View Glory, #6 Happy Tango
Race 2:
#5 Super Infinity, #11 Sky Song, #9 Yoda’s Choice, #1 Sakewin
Race 3:
#2 Taj Dragon, #4 Atullibigeal, #1 Healthy Happy, #3 Packing Treadmill
Race 4:
#7 Solid Win, #4 Fun N Fun Together, #1 Lucy In The Sky, #2 You’remyeverything
Race 5:
#4 Joy Of Spring, #11 Special Hedge, #8 Satirical Glory, #2 Romantic Fantasy
Race 6:
#10 Sky Trust, #5 War Of Courage, #6 Meepmeep, #3 Ariel
Race 7:
#13 Powerful Wings, #5 Elliptical, #9 Master Of Fortune, #1 Stunning Peach
Race 8:
#1 Sunny Da Best, #7 Lucky Touch, #12 Young Horizon, #9 Vantastic Choice
Race 9:
#5 Super Joy N Fun, #4 Full Credit, #3 Lady’s Choice, #6 Magnificent Nine
Race 10:
#4 Patch Of Theta, #7 Sky Heart, #12 Stellar Swift, #8 Loyal Bo Bo

Race 1: Ownership Pride 1200m Handicap (9.45pm PDT, 12.45am EDT)

#11 Great Days slots in light and gets an opportunity here. He’s been racing well of late and will be fighting out the finish if he manages to offset the awkward draw. #3 Mr Good Vibes has been racing off a dangerous mark for quite some time. He’s showing steady improvement and the booking of Karis Teetan is a plus. #9 Good View Glory gets the services of Zac Purton from gate two. He’ll save ground and give this group something to worry about. #6 Happy Tango can make all. He’ll take some reeling in.

Race 2: Racing Passion 1200m Handicap (10.15pm PDT, 1.15am EDT)

#5 Super Infinity has been trialling well. Zac Purton hops up for his first start and he can make an impact on debut. One they all must beat from the right stable. #11 Sky Song has been sound across two runs. He’s got some improvement to come and this contest is an ideal place for him to showcase it. #9 Yoda’s Choice is lightly raced but does continue to advance. He goes about his racing well and is suited here, even though his best efforts have come down the straight. #1 Sakewin has the class-edge. Keep safe.

Race 3: Racing Heritage Handicap 1400m Handicap (10.45pm PDT, 1.45am EDT)

#2 Taj Dragon steps down sharply in grade after racing in a trio of Group 1 races recently. He’s been performing well and the dip in class is suitable, especially with the apprentice taking seven pounds off his back. #4 Atullibigeal is a two-time course and distance winner this season. Zac Purton hops up and he’s well weighted this weekend. #1 Healthy Happy can fire forward and lead. He’ll control the tempo and should find the front with ease. #3 Packing Treadmill has consistency on his side. Don’t discount.

Race 4: The Racing Club 1200m Handicap (11.15pm PDT, 2.15am PDT)

#7 Solid Win caught the eye in his latest trial. He appears forward enough to make an impression first-up, especially as there’s clearly some talent there. #4 Fun N Fun Together falls into a similar category of trialling well and showcasing his fair share of potential. He also debuts and is expected to make his presence felt. #1 Lucy In The Sky is seeking back-to-back wins. He draws nicely and was nothing short of impressive last start. #2 You’remyeverything is a threat over this course and distance.

Race 5: The Hilltop In The Valley 1800m Handicap (12.10am PDT, 3.10am EDT)

#4 Joy Of Spring has been racing well. He’s placed in his last four runs and gets another super opportunity to win this weekend. Vincent Ho is up and he’s the one to beat. #11 Special Hedge is better than his record suggests and he’s a course and distance winner already this season. He should be value, especially as he is a very capable horse. #8 Satirical Glory is still without a win. He’s proving nearly impossible to catch, however, he is regularly competitive without breaking through. #2 Romantic Fantasy has claims.

Race 6: Sha Tin Clubhouse 1400m Handicap (12.40am PDT, 3.40am EDT)

#10 Sky Trust is unlucky not to have won a race this season. He charged into third spot last start and can easily improve from that performance. He’ll take catching. #5 War Of Courage can lead and is favoured with five pounds coming off his back. Expecting he’ll cross early in a bid to press for the front. #6 Meepmeep can do a bit wrong, however, he is clearly talented. Zac Purton hops up and he gets a super chance from gate one, if he manages to not over race. #3 Ariel gets seven pounds taken off his back. He’s a threat.

The Impact of the Hong Kong International RacesRace 7: The Members Cup Handicap (1.10am PDT, 4.10am EDT)

#13 Powerful Wings slots in light and has been a major threat for the bulk of this season, even without returning a second career win. His latest effort was sound and he could be coming to hand again at the right time. One to beat. #5 Elliptical turned in a much better performance last start. He can build off that effort and take his chance here. #9 Master Of Fortune is a three-time course and distance winner. He makes a stable switch, although his latest effort was very good. #1 Stunning Peach can bounce back on dry ground.

Race 8: Beas River Country Club 1400m Handicap (1.40am PDT, 4.40am EDT)

#1 Sunny Da Best was super impressive in victory last start. He remains in the grade, which is an advantage, as is gate six. One to beat again following that win. #7 Lucky Touch is inexperienced but showing enough. Zac Purton is up and he’s been heavily fancied both times in betting. #12 Young Horizon comes in with the featherweight as Ellis Wong takes seven pounds off with his claim. #9 Vantastic Choice will need to overcome the draw. He’ll press forward and get his chance.

Race 9: Levade 1200m Handicap (2.15am PDT, 5.15am EDT)

#5 Super Joy N Fun is a classy horse having won his first two starts. He finished second in his most recent outing, although he does appear to still have plenty of rating points in hand. One to beat. #4 Full Credit won well two runs ago. He can bounce back, especially from an ideal draw, however, this race does have its fair share of quality opposition. #3 Lady’s Choice has consistency on his side and he’s unlucky to not have another win on the board this season. #6 Magnificent Nine is next in line.

Race 10: Beijing Clubhouse 1400m Handicap (2.50am PDT, 5.50am EDT)

#4 Patch Of Theta is a two-time winner from seven starts. He’s a talent and is proven in this grade. Hugh Bowman’s booking again is an advantage. #7 Sky Heart continues to ascend and his form so far has been superb, twice winning from five starts. His ascent is far from over and the inside gate is a plus. #12 Stellar Swift slots in light and draws inside which helps. He continues to improve and has claims here. #8 Loyal Bo Bo has won two out of his last three starts. Gate two can bring him into contention.

Source: HKJC

Preakness Stakes Winning Analysis with Wagering Strategies

Fresh off a successful KY Oaks and KY Derby, 19-time NHC Qualifier Rich Nilsen is back with his Preakness Stakes analysis and three Spot Plays on Saturday’s undercard at Pimlico. Every horse is a value play and includes his expert wagering strategies.

 

Download Nilsen’s Preakness Package to any device instantly.


Last year’s Preakness Stakes Analysis by Rich Nilsen

Pace analysis: There is not a lot of speed in this year’s running of the Preakness Stakes.  Longshot Coffeewithchris will likely insist on the early lead, as National Treasure and John Velasquez sit in close pursuit, ready to pounce.  There should be a gap of a couple of lengths to Mage running in the third spot.

Top Selection: # 1 NATIONAL TREASURE (4/1) – comes off a troubled trip when a respectable 4th in the G1 Santa Anita Derby and now makes his first start back for Bob Baffert, who has won this race no less than seven times.  The son of Quality Road dons new blinkers for today’s race and he’s been training up a storm in preparation for a race that he has been pointed to by the Hall of Fame trainer.  He should sit a perfect, forward-running trip in a race featuring a modest pace and prove the one to catch in the lane. John Velasquez, who has been riding great recently, is in search of his first Preakness win, one of the few races he lacks on his incredible resume.

2nd Selection: # 3 MAGE (8/5) – this colt has done absolutely nothing wrong in his career and I see no reason why he won’t run another bang-up race.  The Gustave Delago runner has won twice in his career, both times at double-digit odds, but he will likely be odds-on here.  A win would not be a surprise but I think the Baffert charge has just a good a chance and will offer more value.

3rd Selection: #6 PERFORM (15/1) – the Shug McGaughey runner is the value play in this field.  He overcame all sorts of traffic issues to storm home and win the Fedrico Tesio Stakes at Laurel last time out.  It’s interesting that Shug chose to run this horse instead of Pat Day Mile winner General Jim.  Perform is sitting on another strong effort.

Wagering Strategy: Play # 1 National Treasure to Win.  Exacta partwheel over 3, 6.  Smaller exacta 6-1.  Trifecta key #1 over 3, 6.


Rich Nilsen qualifies for the 16th time

Rich Nilsen gave out the 4-1 Kentucky Oaks winner this year and his third selection (and first longshot), Mystik Dan, won the Kentucky Derby at odds of 16-1!  Here were his write-ups:

Kentucky Oaks:

Top Selection: # 5 THORPEDO ANNA (5/1) – Trainer Kenny McPeek, one of the best Kentucky horsemen over the past decades in the Bluegrass State, enters the best filly he has ever trained. This brilliant daughter of Fast Anna scored first time out going 7 furlongs last fall at Keeneland and destroyed the field by 8 ½ lengths after closing from way back. You just rarely see a first time starter win like this, especially going 7 furlongs and at Keeneland. She proved that was no fluke by returning to beat allowance company by 9 lengths and running a monster triple-digit BRIS Late Pace Figure. After running second in the G2 Golden Rod, she was put on the shelf for her three-year-old season. Anna returned at Oaklawn Park and despite breaking from the 10 hole and facing a quality field, she proved her dominance once again, drawing off by 4 lengths. The G2 Fantasy winner has been training well since that start and comes into this race in prime form. She drew well and is clearly the horse to beat.

Kentucky Derby 150:

3rd Selection: # 3 Mystik Dan (20/1) – This colt was an impressive maiden winner at Churchill going only 5 ½ furlongs. He was a speed horse as a two year old, but trainer Kenny McPeek retooled this horse and developed him into a runner that can come from off the pace. And did he ever in the G3 Southwest Stakes, finishing powerfully in the mud to win by 8. I didn’t like him in the G1 Arkansas Derby, with his only big number on a wet track, but the colt ran very well with sneaky trouble. Going around the first turn, the horse to his inside bolted and slammed into Dan. That cost the colt several lengths but he did not give up. He put in a sustained run and ran a sneaky good third. He can move forward off that race, and we know he loves the track. Nice price for the exotics.

 

Joey Freshwater Aiming for G2 True North

Winning Move Stable’s Joey Freshwater made the grade with a narrow neck score over Ninetyprcentmaddie in Saturday’s Grade 3, $175,000 Runhappy, a six-furlong sprint for older horses, at Belmont at the Big A.

Trained by Linda Rice, the 4-year-old Jimmy Creed colt has won 3-of-4 starts this year, beginning with a 1 3/4-length optional-claiming win in January and a swift optional-claiming score on April 4 sprinting six furlongs that registered a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure.

With returning rider Jose Lezcano up in the Runhappy, Joey Freshwater tracked in second position as Straight No Chaser – who stumbled at the break – led through splits of 22.01 seconds, 44.70 and 56.82 over the fast main track. Joey Freshwater surged to the lead inside the eighth pole and fought gamely to the wire to score in a final time of 1:09.41. The winning effort garnered a 91 Beyer.

“We were pretty excited about his back-to-back efforts. He came out of it well,” Rice said.

How I got into horse racingRice claimed Joey Freshwater for $50,000 from a second-out graduation in November 2022 at Churchill Downs. He made 10 sophomore starts for Rice, winning the Grade 3 Bay Shore last April and hitting the board when third in the Jimmy Winkfield here and in Belmont Park’s Gold Fever as well as a runner-up effort in the off-the-turf Quick Call at Saratoga.

“I think he ran very well last year as a 3-year-old, but he was less experienced and less seasoned,” Rice said. “He had a few more mis-steps last year. We tried to take advantage of the straight 3-year-old races, and it got to the point where he was in need of a break, so we stopped on him for four months and gave him a nice rest. He certainly hasn’t disappointed us coming back as a 4-year-old. He’s showing more consistency, more seasoning and more maturity – all good things.”

Joey Freshwater will now target the Grade 2, $350,000 True North presented by F. W. Webb, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for older horses on June 8 Belmont Stakes Day at Saratoga Race Course.

A victory in the True North could put Joey Freshwater among Rice’s top recent claims, including Pioneering Spirit, who was haltered for $40,000 last March and has since won six starts topped by scores in the Spa’s Listed Bernard Baruch and off-the-turf Listed Knickerbocker here.

Rice said Joey Freshwater has a ways to go to best the efforts of Palace, a $20,000 claim that banked more than $1.5 million through graded scores in 2014 in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, Grade 1 Forego and Grade 2 True North.

“We’ve had some very nice claims and he ranks right up there with some of the best – he hasn’t quite matched Palace yet at this point, but he’s been a good one,” Rice said.

KEM Stables’ multiple stakes-winner Hot Fudge worked five-eighths solo in 1:02.76 Sunday over the Belmont Park dirt training track in preparation for Saturday’s Grade 3, $175,000 Vagrancy, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares.

“She went very nicely. She’s on schedule for the Vagrancy,” Rice said.

The talented 5-year-old Liam’s Map dark bay saw a five-race win streak come to an end last out in the Grade 3 Distaff on April 6 here where she stumbled from the gate and grabbed a quarter.

Hot Fudge won the Big A’s Garland of Roses, Listed Interborough and Correction during her winning streak to bring her career record to 14-8-1-1 for purse earnings of $500,905.

Source: NYRA.com

Hong Kong Expert Selections for Wednesday, May 15

HAPPY VALLEY SELECTIONS
(Wednesday May 15, 2024)

Race 1: #8 Timestorm, #1 Cheer For South, #10 August Moon, #2 Noble One
Race 2:
#4 Big Red, #9 Running Boy, #5 Strongest Boy, #10 Fruity Warrior
Race 3:
#2 Gallant Waking, #3 Noble Pursuit, #7 Flamingo Trillion, #9 Intrepid Winner
Race 4:
#9 Happihood, #3 To Infinity, #7 Big Two, #4 Master Of Luck
Race 5:
#6 Cosmo Navigator, #4 Glory Cloud, #3 Currahee, #1 Sunny Darling
Race 6:
#3 Ma Comet, #11 Joy In Joy, #2 Fortune Warrior, #5 Sergeant Pepper
Race 7:
#1 Affordable, #4 Dragon Star, #3 Turin Warrior, #9 Mr Aladdin
Race 8:
#11 Happy Feeling, #4 Prime Mortar, #3 Sight Supreme, #2 Double Bingo
Race 9:
#2 Copartner Prance, #9 California Touch, #10 Our Lucky Glory, #1 Winning Icey

Hong Kong Expert Selections for Wednesday:

Race 1: Dordogne Handicap (3.40am PDT, 6.40am EDT)

#8 Timestorm is still without a win. He’s been racing well this term and Hugh Bowman’s retention is an advantage. He was competitive in Class 4 earlier this season and it’s only a matter of time now before he does break through in the bottom grade. #1 Cheer For South makes the drop in class. Chances are he rolls forward under the apprentice in a bid to press for the lead. He’ll give them something to run down. #10 August Moon has the sweet draw. He’ll save ground and get his chance. #2 Noble One is a threat. Keep safe.

Hong Kong Happy Valley fireworksRace 2: Ciron Handicap (2nd Section) (4.10am PDT, 7.10am EDT)

#4 Big Red is favoured with the apprentice up. He’s yet to win in Hong Kong, however, he has shown all of the right signs suggesting that he can get on the board in the city. It’ll come soon and his form in the grade above holds him in good stead. One to beat. #9 Running Boy caught the eye late last start. He’s an improving type and the inside gate favours him. #5 Strongest Boy can bounce back, especially with Zac Purton taking the reins. #10 Fruity Warrior slots in light and is steadily improving. Next in line.

Race 3: Loire Handicap (4.40am PDT, 7.40am EDT)

#2 Gallant Waking has regained some form. His most recent efforts have been sound and he appears ready to make a return to winning ways. The gate is an advantage. #3 Noble Pursuit does his best racing at Happy Valley and his latest two efforts were superb. He’s still got a few rating points in hand. #7 Flamingo Trillion is after back-to-back wins. He’s hit his straps at present and is favoured if there happens to be any rain around. #9 Intrepid Winner has a featherweight impost. He’s already a course and distance winner.

Race 4: Rhone Handicap (5.10am PDT, 8.10am EDT)

#9 Happihood is making steady improvement. He slots in light and the featherweight can really bring him on against this group. He gets his chance and could be decent value. #3 To Infinity has a suitable gate and jockey. He has the hefty impost, although he should get a sweet run throughout as he aims to offset his burden. #7 Big Two is looking to snap a run of five consecutive top-three finishes. He’s racing well and can’t be ignored this week. #4 Master Of Luck comes into this following a string of good runs. Next in line.

Race 5: The Sauternes Cup Handicap (1st Section) (5.40am PDT, 8.40am EDT)

#6 Cosmo Navigator has raced well over this course and distance. He gets his opportunity here and chances are he can outperform his odds, especially based on his first-up effort and most recent run. Worth an each way shout. #4 Glory Cloud is closing in on a first win. He goes about his racing well and is looking to snap a pair of top-three efforts. #3 Currahee clearly has ability and his debut effort at Sha Tin was solid. Expecting him to take a forward step this week. #1 Sunny Darling comes down in class. Next best.

Race 6: Rhine Handicap (6.10am PDT, 9.10am EDT)

#3 Ma Comet is lightly raced but clearly has ability. He can improve following his first run in Class 4 and this contest is well within his grasp. #11 Joy In Joy returns first-up following a lengthy out. He’s been trialling well and the light weight brings him strongly into contention, as does his racing pattern, which could easily see him lead. #2 Fortune Warrior is suited in this grade and can make his presence felt if he manages to overcome the wide gate. #5 Sergeant Pepper is next in line.

Race 7: Ciron Handicap (1st Section) (6.45am PDT, 9.45am EDT)

#1 Affordable was luckless last start. He was caught without room late and clearly showed that he had much, much more to offer. He dips in grade here and shapes as decent value here. #4 Dragon Star has consistency on his side. He’ll press forward under Zac Purton and take his opportunity. #3 Turin Warrior is after back-to-back wins. He’s been solid across his entire career and the inside gate has him favoured once more. #9 Mr Aladdin slots in light and continues to develop. Keep safe.

Race 8: Garonne Handicap (2nd Section) (7.15am PDT, 10.15am EDT)

#11 Happy Feeling slots in light. He was withdrawn due to a setback last start, although his most recent run prior to that was superb. Expecting him to take his chance here under the featherweight. #4 Prime Mortar has swapped stables. His latest trial was outstanding and chances are they cross early in a bid to offset the wide draw. #3 Sight Supreme finished fifth first-up. He can improve again and is suited with Zac Purton, especially as he aims to overcome the wide draw. #2 Double Bingo is next best.

Race 9: Seine Handicap (7.50am PDT, 10.50am EDT)

#2 Copartner Prance is an exciting horse. He continues to raise the bar and will seek a fourth straight win this week. Zac Purton retains the ride and he’s the clear top pick from an in-form stable. #9 California Touch has found his feet and is aided with gate one as a potential pacesetter. #10 Our Lucky Glory is seeking a hat-trick of wins. He rises in grade, although his past two wins have been superb. He looks up to the challenge. #1 Winning Icey has the apprentice engaged. He’s much better suited now in Class 3.

Source:

The Hong Kong Jockey Club

Trainer Todd Pletcher Wins 5th Peter Pan Stakes. Winner Earns This Beyer Figure

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher earned a record-extending fifth win in the Grade 3, $200,000 Peter Pan Saturday at Belmont at the Big A as Centennial Farms’ Antiquarian captured the prestigious nine-furlong event for sophomores by three-quarter lengths.

Pletcher, who also trained third-place finisher Protective, adds to a list of Peter Pan winners that includes Purge [2004], Sunriver [2006], Madefromlucky [2015] and Promise Keeper [2021]. It was the first graded score for Antiquarian, who pounced from just off the pace under Hall of Famer John Velazquez to sweep by The Wine Steward inside the final sixteenth and complete the course in 1:48.99.

NYRA will waive the entry and starting fees to the Belmont Stakes, excluding the supplemental fee, for the first three finishers of the Peter Pan.

Pletcher said both Antiquarian and Protective, who is still a maiden despite two graded stakes placings, exited their efforts in good order.

Antiquarian improved from an even sixth-place finish in the 1 3/16-mile Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in March at Fair Grounds Race Course where he broke through the gate before the start. Pletcher said he had worked with the son of Preservationist on his gate skills leading up to the Peter Pan.

“We did work on it, but it had never been an issue before that,” said Pletcher. “It hasn’t been an issue since then either. It obviously helped that he broke alertly yesterday – he kind of got sandwiched at the start, but he was able to get in a good position and a good rhythm. We were happy to see it.”

Pletcher said both Antiquarian and Protective are set to ship north to Saratoga Race Course’s Oklahoma training track sometime next week, with Antiquarian eyeing a start in the 10-furlong Grade 1, $2 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 8 at the Spa.

Pletcher said the added distance should benefit Antiquarian.

“He certainly acts like it,” said Pletcher. “We didn’t get him in until October, but he’s always done everything very professional.”

Pletcher added that Champion 2-Year-Old Colt Fierceness has already arrived at Saratoga to make his preparations for the Belmont Stakes and is training well after a distant off-the-board finish as the post-time favorite in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 4.

Silver Knott Earns Massive Figure

Godolphin’s multiple graded/group stakes-winner Silver Knott was awarded a lofty 106 Beyer Speed Figure for his romp in Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Man o’ War going 1 3/8 miles over good inner turf at the Big A.

Trained by Charlie Appleby, the Lope de Vega gelding doubled up on stakes scores after a prominent victory in the 1 1/2-mile Grade 2 Elkhorn on April 20 at Keeneland. He cut back slightly in the Man o’ War and rallied from six lengths off the pace under Flavien Prat to sweep past his pace-pressing stablemate Nations Pride in the lane and cross the wire 4 1/2 lengths in front of the rallying Ohana Honor in a final time of 2:13.80.

Both Silver Knott and Nations Pride shipped to Saratoga early Sunday morning to make their preparations for engagements at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival slated for June 6-9.

Neecie Marie earns career-best 92 BSF in G3 Beaugay score

Michael Milam’s Neecie Marie made her seasonal debut a winning one with a visually-appealing last-to-first rush to best Grade 1-winner Whitebeam by a neck in Saturday’s Grade 3, $175,000 Beaugay at Belmont at the Big A.

Trained by Butch Reid, Jr. and piloted by Hall of Famer Joel Rosario, the 4-year-old Cross Traffic bay entered the 1 1/16-mile outer turf test for older fillies and mares from a nearly six-month layoff since her fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Mrs. Revere in November at Churchill Downs.

Neecie Marie was content to track from last-of-5 in the early running Saturday as last year’s Grade 1 Diana-winner Whitebeam and the in-form Spirit And Glory – who entered with two listed stakes wins in her last three outings – dueled on the front end. Neecie Marie still had seven lengths to make up from the top of the lane, but closed steadily with a four-wide move to overtake Whitebeam in the shadow of the wire with Spirit And Glory another head back in third.

Reid, Jr. scratched Neecie Marie from the one-mile Dahlia on April 20 at Laurel Park in favor of the longer Beaugay, which was originally scheduled to be run last weekend.

“We’d had a couple spots picked out along the way but to finally get her over there and get one in her was the whole objective, and it was an added bonus to get the money,” Reid, Jr. said. “For a moment, I thought a good third would be nice but Joel wasn’t thinking that way. He did a great job, and it was a masterful ride to get her up in time – just a tremendous job.”

The Pennsylvania-bred Neecie Marie posted two solid runner-up efforts to the Charlie Appleby-trained favorite Eternal Hope over this course last fall when a neck in arrears in the 11-furlong Grade 3 Jockey Club Oaks Invitational and a half-length back in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Sands Point.

Reid, Jr. said he is convinced that Neecie Marie is a better horse than last year.

“She came back well and we’re really happy with her,” Reid, Jr. said. “She’s a bigger stronger filly this year than she was last year and we’re hoping for another really big year with her.”

Turf course at AqueductNeecie Marie is now under consideration for the Grade 1, $750,000 New York presented by Rivers Casino, a 1 3/16-mile turf test for older fillies and mares on June 7 as part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course.

“It’s possible, but I hadn’t really looked past yesterday,” Reid, Jr. said. “We’re going to be involved in that Belmont Stakes weekend and maybe we’ll bring her along for the ride.”

Neecie Marie, a modest $25,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern Fall Yearling Sale purchase, has banked $361,950 through a 10-5-2-0 ledger.

LC Racing’s Ninetyprcentmaddie narrowly missed making the grade with a rallying neck defeat to Joey Freshwater in Saturday’s six-furlong Grade 3, $175,000 Runhappy here.

The 4-year-old Weigelia gelding won the six-furlong off-the-turf Carle Place here in October with Irad Ortiz, Jr. up, closing from last-of-four to win by a neck. Ortiz, Jr. looked to replicate that trip yesterday, angling five-wide off the turn and closed with every stride but could not reel in his rival.

The Pennsylvania-bred registered a career-best 90 Beyer in the Runhappy, matching the figure earned with a runner-up result last out in the state-bred Page McKenney Handicap on April 22 at Parx.

Reid, Jr. said the five-time winner, who last year won the City of Brotherly Love at Parx and was a close second in Laurel Park’s Federico Tesio around two turns, has found his home in one-turn tests.

“I’m very happy with his race. He only made his yearly debut less than three weeks ago, so I was really happy with his effort,” Reid, Jr. said. “He looked good, acted good and he’s a much more mature horse now that we’ve settled in to strictly sprinting.

“We tried him long last year and he had success, but it looks to me like he wants to be a closing sprinter,” Reid, Jr. added. “He just missed yesterday. It was a great ride by Irad – he got a little trapped at the three-eighths pole and Irad thought if he got through clean he might have won the race. But that’s OK, he came back great and we’ll be looking for another spot.”

That next spot could come with Ortiz, Jr. at the helm as part of a rematch with Joey Freshwater in the Grade 2, $350,000 True North presented by F. W. Webb, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for older horses on June 8 Belmont Stakes Day at Saratoga Race Course.

“Going 6 1/2-furlongs might be the best distance for him,” Reid, Jr. said. “Irad fits him perfect – nice and relaxed in the early part and then he comes rolling for you.”

Maximus Meridius, trained by co-owned by Reid, Jr. with LC Racing and Cash is King, is exiting a pair of runner-up efforts at Aqueduct having completed the exacta in the seven-furlong Grade 3 Bay Shore in April and the six-furlong Listed Gold Fever on May 5 when 2 1/2-lengths back of the victorious Doncho.

“He came out of it fine. He’s another horse that’s just learning,” Reid, Jr. said. “I think he’s got better with each start. We’re looking for middle distances for him, seven-eighths to a flat mile. He’s been back to the track and training well.”

Reid, Jr. did not dismiss tackling Doncho once more in the seven-furlong Grade 1, $500,000 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun on June 8 at Saratoga Race Course.

“It’s not an impossibility,” Reid, Jr. said. “I think the distance is good and we’re looking to have a fun weekend up at Saratoga. It’s our favorite spot and the owners really enjoy it, so maybe we’ll have a small entourage up there.”

Michael Milam and LC Racing’s Uncle Heavy was initially slated to take part in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes but is now confirmed for Saturday’s Grade 1 Preakness at Pimlico Race Course.

The Social Inclusion colt was a nose winner of the nine-furlong Grade 3 Withers here on February 3 but endured a troubled trip last out when a distant fifth in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 6 at the Big A.

Uncle Heavy has worked back three times at Parx, including a half-mile effort handily in 47.34 seconds Saturday.

“I was a little shocked at the time of his breeze yesterday and the kid said he felt like he was just floating over the ground,” Reid, Jr. said. “He ate up last night and he looked great this morning. I’m very happy with him and really excited about how he’s going into the Preakness.

“We realize we’re taking a shot but this horse has never been better and if ever there was a time to take a shot this is it,” he added. “He’s coming up to his best race and he’ll need to bring his best in that field, but we think he’s capable and the distance will not be a problem with him.”

Bred in Pennsylvania by Reid, Jr.’s sister-in-law Barbara Reid, Uncle Heavy has banked $323,580 through a 5-3-0-0 record.

Source: NYRA.com

FREE Saturday Horse Racing Play from AGameofSkill.com

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

In this new segment we provide a free horse racing play on Saturday, which includes our expert analysis and a handicapping lesson.

Race 9 at Woodbine, May 11th, post time 5:20pm ET

Pace Scenario: The track plays very fair at this 5.5 furlongs on the all weather, but tactical speed is important. There is very little early speed in this race, which emphasizes the need to be on a horse with some form of early foot.

Free AGOS Selection: # 6 QUIET MADDELENA (3/1) – this 4yo filly makes her first start of the year and first race since moving into the barn of a 20% trainer who does do well with layoff runners. The morning line favorite in this race at 2/1 has not run since 2022 and is taking a very suspicious drop in class as a 7yo mare. I feel Quiet Maddelena is rather the horse to beat in the Woodbine finale. She loves this track and has the early lick to be on or set the pace through modest fractions. Look for her to be ready to fire for her new barn and tough to run down in the lane.

Wagering strategy: Play # 6 QUIET MADDELENA to Win. Exacta partwheel with 2, 7. Reverse for half.

This analysis is for educational purposes. ALWAYS WAGER WITHIN YOUR BUDGET AND COMFORT LEVEL

RESULT: Easy winner, bet down and paid $3.20 to win. Exacta 2-7 returned $22.40!


Rich Nilsen gave out the 4-1 Kentucky Oaks winner and his third selection (and first longshot), Mystik Dan, won the Kentucky Derby at odds of 16-1!  Here were his write-ups:

Kentucky Oaks:

Top Selection: # 5 THORPEDO ANNA (5/1) – Trainer Kenny McPeek, one of the best Kentucky horsemen over the past decades in the Bluegrass State, enters the best filly he has ever trained. This brilliant daughter of Fast Anna scored first time out going 7 furlongs last fall at Keeneland and destroyed the field by 8 ½ lengths after closing from way back. You just rarely see a first time starter win like this, especially going 7 furlongs and at Keeneland. She proved that was no fluke by returning to beat allowance company by 9 lengths and running a monster triple-digit BRIS Late Pace Figure. After running second in the G2 Golden Rod, she was put on the shelf for her three-year-old season. Anna returned at Oaklawn Park and despite breaking from the 10 hole and facing a quality field, she proved her dominance once again, drawing off by 4 lengths. The G2 Fantasy winner has been training well since that start and comes into this race in prime form. She drew well and is clearly the horse to beat.

Kentucky Derby 150:

3rd Selection: # 3 Mystik Dan (20/1) – This colt was an impressive maiden winner at Churchill going only 5 ½ furlongs. He was a speed horse as a two year old, but trainer Kenny McPeek retooled this horse and developed him into a runner that can come from off the pace. And did he ever in the G3 Southwest Stakes, finishing powerfully in the mud to win by 8. I didn’t like him in the G1 Arkansas Derby, with his only big number on a wet track, but the colt ran very well with sneaky trouble. Going around the first turn, the horse to his inside bolted and slammed into Dan. That cost the colt several lengths but he did not give up. He put in a sustained run and ran a sneaky good third. He can move forward off that race, and we know he loves the track. Nice price for the exotics.

 

Information for Kentucky Downs 2024 Meet

FRANKLIN, Ky. — Headed by the renamed $2.5 million Nashville Derby (Grade 3) on Aug. 31, Kentucky Downs will stage six races worth at least $2 million apiece, including supplements for registered Kentucky-breds, at this year’s seven-day race meet.

The all-turf meet offering some of the world’s richest racing runs Aug. 29 and 31 and Sept. 1, 5, 7, 8 and 11. The Kentucky Downs condition book is now online at equibase.com (condition book here and index here), with purses scheduled to total $35 million, including $16 million in Kentucky-bred money. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Tuesday approved Kentucky Downs’ requested purse enhancements from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF), which is restricted to registered horses that were foaled in the commonwealth and sired by a Kentucky stallion.

Previously known as the Dueling Grounds Derby, the Nashville Derby becomes the richest race in track history and the most lucrative grass race in North America outside the $5 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. The only American race offering more money for Kentucky-breds on any surface outside the Breeders’ Cup are the $5 million Kentucky Derby and $3 million Pegasus World Cup.

Colonial Downs Names Turf Course After Secretariat“We want to build the Nashville Derby into a race that American and European horsemen alike point to and buy horses for,” said Ron Winchell, co-managing partner of Kentucky Downs with Marc Falcone. “The name change reflects our close proximity to one of America’s great cities, which we see as an added incentive for coming. Even horses that aren’t Kentucky-breds still will race for $1.5 million, and we’ve positioned the Nashville Derby so that it fits into a big-money circuit for 3-year-old turf horses with Keeneland and Churchill Downs’ stakes as well as the New York’s Belmont Derby, Saratoga Derby and Jockey Club Derby.”

The Kentucky Downs meet will have 11 stakes overall worth at least $1 million (including KTDF supplements) out of a total of 18 stakes. Nine stakes enjoy graded status, including the track’s first Grade 1 stakes in the $2 million Franklin-Simpson for 3-year-old sprinters. The showcase Sept. 7 card’s six graded stakes offer a total of $10 million in purses, including a quartet of $2 million races.

Kentucky Downs overnight purses, the richest in America, also got boosts. Maiden races, already the richest in the world, increase from $150,000 to $170,000, with allowance races worth up to $220,000 for Kentucky-breds among the 75 total races scheduled for the meet.

The continued growth reflects Kentucky Downs ownership’s commitment to escalating the track from a very good domestic program to being an international racing venue.

Kentucky Downs has added highly respected track executive Martin Panza, America’s foremost expert in turning stateside races into international events, and the British-based International Racing Bureau to its team to increase foreign participation as the track works to position the meet into a key stop on the global schedule.

Panza brings in more than 30 years of experience, including being senior vice president of racing operations at the New York Racing Association from 2013-2021 and as vice president of racing at Hollywood Park from 1994-2013. At NYRA, he created the Turf Triple series at Belmont and Saratoga for both 3-year-old colts and 3-year-old fillies.

The International Racing Bureau has been involved in the planning and/or launching of the Breeders’ Cup, Dubai World Cup, Japan Cup and Arlington Million. The organization recruits overseas horses for big race dates around the world, working with horsemen and the tracks on logistics. Other services include securing international sponsorships and working with media.

Panza joins another highly respected executive in Rick Hammerle as Kentucky Downs’ directors of racing operations.

“Our all-star racing office is now off the charts with the addition of Martin Panza and the International Racing Bureau,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ Vice President for Racing. “Like Rick Hammerle, Martin has worked with horsemen around the country and the world. Racing secretary Tyler Picklesimer and assistant racing secretary Baley Hare do a tremendous job and possess extensive Kentucky and regional connections. They also have their hands full putting together the seven cards for America’s richest meet with the largest fields. Martin and the IRB will have the time and resources to concentrate on expanding recruitment, including overseas, with Hammerle continuing to work on both domestic and international growth.”

Kentucky Downs has attracted some European participation in recent years. Ancient Rome, a Kentucky-bred based in Britain, crossed the Atlantic to win the Grade 3 Mint Millions, which last year became Kentucky Downs’ first $2 million race. The year before, Reckoning Force, trained by Ireland’s Joseph O’Brien, ran twice at Saratoga before taking the then-$500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile.

Also being bumped to $2 million this year are the Franklin-Simpson; the Kentucky Turf Cup (G2) at 1 1/2 miles for older horses; Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G2) for sprinters and the Music City (G2) for 3-year-old filly sprinters. The Kentucky Turf Cup was raised from $1.7 million last year; the others from $1 million, including KTDF.

Other races getting purse hikes: the $1.5 million Ladies Turf (G3) and $1.5 million Dueling Grounds Oaks (both $1 million last year). Kentucky Downs’ four stakes for 2-year-olds were increased to $750,000 from $500,000 for Kentucky-breds.

An 18th stakes was added: The $500,000 Nashville Gold Cup at 2 1/16 miles set for Sept. 11’s closing card.

The Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint and Kentucky Downs Turf Cup winners receive a fees-paid berth in the corresponding Breeders’ Cup race.

Kentucky Downs 2024 stakes schedule

All on turf; all include KTDF purse supplements for Kentucky-breds

Thursday Aug. 29 — $500,000 Tapit Stakes, 3-year-olds & up, mile and 70 yards. Restricted to horses that have not won a stakes in 2024.

Saturday Aug. 31 — $2.5 million Nashville Derby (G3), 3-year-olds, 1 5/16 miles; $2 million Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G2), 3-year-olds & up, 6 furlongs. “Win and You’re In” for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint; $1.5 million Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3), fillies & mares 3 years old & up, mile.

Sunday Sept. 1 — $750,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Sprint, 2-year-olds, 6 1/2 furlongs; $750,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies, 2-year-old fillies, mile.

Thursday Sept. 5 — $500,000 One Dreamer, fillies & mares 3 years old & up, mile and 70 yards. Restricted to fillies and mares that have not won a stakes in 2024.

Saturday Sept. 7 — $2 million Franklin-Simpson Stakes (G1), 3-year-olds, 6 1/2 furlongs; $2 million Kentucky Downs Turf Cup (G2), 3-year-olds & up, 1 1/2 miles. “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf; $2 million Music City (G2), 3-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 furlongs; $2 million Mint Millions (G3), 3-year-olds & up, mile; $1 million Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (G2), fillies & mares 3 years old & up, 6 1/2 furlongs; $1 million Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon (G3), fillies & mares 3 years old & up, 1 5/16 miles.

Sunday Sept. 8 — $1 million Gun Runner Stakes, 3-year-olds, mile; $750,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile, 2-year-olds, mile; $750,000 Untapable Stakes, 2-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 furlongs.

Wednesday Sept. 11 — $1.5 million Dueling Grounds Oaks, 3-year-old fillies, 1 5/16 miles; $500,000 Nashville Gold Cup, 2 1/16 miles, 3-year-olds & up.

Recap Videos from Kentucky Derby 150

Source: Kentucky HPBA

Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan, the day after. Visit the links below to watch the videos.
Saturday:

 

About the Kentucky HBPA

The Kentucky division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association is one of the country’s largest horsemen’s groups, representing about 6,000 owners and trainers at Kentucky’s five thoroughbred tracks. As an affiliate of the National HBPA that represents about 30,000 horsemen in the United States and Canada, the Kentucky HBPA’s responsibilities have greatly expanded as the racing industry has become more complex. In addition to its original general benevolence mission, the HBPA is the leading force for horsemen in negotiating contracts with tracks as well as the advancement of the sport through safety and integrity initiatives, promoting racing and assisting in the development of aftercare programs for retired racehorses.

Hong Kong Expert Horse Racing Selections – Sunday, May 5

SHA TIN SELECTIONS
(Sunday, May 05, 2024)

Race 1: #8 La Forza, #5 Santorini, #9 Run Yes Run, #4 Meaningful Dragon
Race 2:
#7 Arthur’s Kingdom, #1 Colourful Baron, #3 Superb Daddy, #10 Green Laser
Race 3:
#8 Speedy Smartie, #3 Circuit Eleven, #1 Must Go, #10 Joyful Life
Race 4:
#1 Packing Hurricane, #4 Holy Lake, #6 Sunstrider, #3 Star Mac
Race 5:
#9 Yoda’s Choice, #5 Bottomuptogether, #2 Multisuper, #12 Ruby Sailing
Race 6:
#9 Joy Of Spring, #13 Chilli Baba, #2 Aestheticism, #1 Laugh Tale
Race 7:
#4 Ariel, #7 Call Me Supreme, #8 Storming Dragon, #12 Top Peak
Race 8:
#4 Five G Patch, #9 Ka Ying Generation, #1 Russian Emperor, #11 Unbelievable
Race 9:
#2 Victory Moments, #9 Nebraskan, #6 Monta Frutta, #3 Capital Delight
Race 10:
#8 Ka Ying Rising, #11 Gorgeous Win, #3 Packing Treadmill, #2 Bundle Of Charm
Race 11:
#3 Superb Kid, #9 Super Goldi, #4 Golden Artie, #8 Magnificent Nine

Race 1: The Argonaut Plate (9.30pm PDT, 12.30am EDT)

#8 La Forza finished second on debut. He ran well that day and will have taken plenty of improvement from that effort. He’s the one to beat here, especially with Zac Purton retaining the ride. #5 Santorini finished third in the same race. He’ll roll forward once more and give this group something to worry about. #9 Run Yes Run is another with race experience on the board. #4 Meaningful Dragon is first-up. He comes from the right stable and is worth keeping safe. Next best.

Hong Kong horse racingRace 2: Special Cargo Handicap (10.00pm PDT, 1.00am EDT)

#7 Arthur’s Kingdom is still yet to win in Hong Kong. He’s done his best racing this season and the weekend’s course and distance could be exactly what he is after to finally win, especially if there’s rain around. Taking a chance on him. #1 Colourful Baron is in superb form and he returns after narrowly missing last start. #3 Superb Daddy knows what it’s all about and he steps away from a favourable draw. He goes about his racing well. #10 Green Laser mixes his form but the featherweight impost has him fancied.

Race 3: Manicou Handicap (10.30pm PDT, 1.30am EDT)

#8 Speedy Smartie is only a one-time winner but he doesn’t know how to run a bad race. Expecting him to lead here and the return to his preferred course and distance is a big advantage. #3 Circuit Eleven floundered on debut, however, he can improve significantly by switching to the dirt course. He showed plenty of prowess in his trials on the surface and Zac Purton’s services are noteworthy. #1 Must Go is in sound form and his win two starts back was solid. #10 Joyful Life is next in line.

Race 4: Insular Handicap (11.00pm PDT, 2.00am EDT)

#1 Packing Hurricane is a nice horse and he gets a handy 10 pounds removed from his back here with Ellis Wong engaged. The inside gate suits and he was a winner in this grade three runs back. #4 Holy Lake is after back-to-back wins. He continues to improve and is usually underestimated. He gets his chance here. #6 Sunstrider is lightly raced but does appear to be coming to hand nicely. #3 Star Mac is racing well and he has a powerful finish on his day. He gets an opportunity.

Race 5: Isle Of Man Handicap (11.30pm PDT, 2.30am EDT)

#9 Yoda’s Choice did incredibly well last time out and that sort of performance has him favoured this weekend. He can take another step forward and Vincent Ho’s retention is ideal. #5 Bottomuptogether makes his debut. His latest trial was super impressive and he appears well placed to contend first-up. Zac Purton takes the ride. #2 Multisuper scored a well-deserved victory last time out. He knows how to win now and gets his chance this weekend. #12 Ruby Sailing is next in line.

Race 6: Norman Conqueror Handicap (12.00am PDT, 3.00am EDT)

#9 Joy Of Spring is in superb form. He’s so close to a first win and once again he gets a great chance to score breakthrough victory. One to beat, even from the wide gate. #13 Chilli Baba slots in light. He tends to mix his form, although his runs this campaign have been solid. He closed off nicely last start and can make his presence felt here. #2 Aestheticism has the wide draw to overcome. He’s a two-time course and distance winner already this season. #1 Laugh Tale is lightly raced but does have the scope to improve.

Race 7: Monaveen Handicap (12.35am PDT, 3.35am EDT)

#4 Ariel gets the 10 pounds taken off his back. He’s racing well and should be able to roll forward with ease here from gate five. One to catch. #7 Call Me Supreme again draws awkwardly but his latest effort for fourth was solid. He can improve and the services of Hugh Bowman once again are worth consideration. #8 Storming Dragon grabbed third on debut. He’s another who can improve significantly with more experience. #12 Top Peak slots in light and should get a sweet run from gate three.

Race 8: G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap (1.05am PDT, 4.05am EDT)

#4 Five G Patch is on the quick back-up. He’s a nice horse and his run at Group 1 level last Sunday was very, very good. This is the sort of race he can make his presence felt in, especially over this sort of trip. #9 Ka Ying Generation was superb last start in the BMW Hong Kong Derby when finishing third. He’s an improving horse and he has run well over this trip before in Ireland. #1 Russian Emperor has the class to win. The hefty impost is the concern. #11 Unbelievable is improving and deserves respect.

Race 9: Game Spirit Handicap (1.35am PDT, 4.35am EDT)

#2 Victory Moments is a classy operator and he’s a winner already this season. He boasts some strong form behind Sing Dragon, enough so to suggest that he could win this weekend’s test. #9 Nebraskan returns for his second start. He trialled well on the dirt prior to his debut and has a suitable gate here. #6 Monta Frutta needs to overcome the barrier, although his recent form has been superb. #3 Capital Delight is next in line for an in-form Fownes/Ho combination.

Race 10: Brandy Snap Handicap (2.10am PDT, 5.10am EDT)

#8 Ka Ying Rising is a seriously smart horse. He’s won three times from five starts in Hong Kong and will make his Class 2 debut this weekend. The step up appears well within his grasp, especially from gate five under a low weight. #11 Gorgeous Win slots in light and continues to race well. He can test this group. #3 Packing Treadmill will get his shot on the speed or even in the leading position. He’ll get the right run from gate one. #2 Bundle Of Charm is in career-best form this season. Keep safe.

Race 11: Inch Arran Handicap (2.45am PDT, 5.45am EDT)

#3 Superb Kid is a talent and his last-start victory was superb. Zac Purton retains the ride and he should find a soft lead from gate one. He’ll take beating if can maintain his upward trajectory. #9 Super Goldi returned to his best in fine style last start. He has the gate to overcome, although he is open to improving again. #4 Golden Artie narrowly missed last start. He’s drawn poorly but this contest isn’t an overly strong one. #8 Magnificent Nine is progressing well and he can do the same again this weekend.