Channel Cat, who won the Grade I Man o ‘War in May, is a favorite for Saturday’s Grade II Red Smith Stakes at the Aqueduct. Photo courtesy of the New York Racing Association
November 19 (UPI) – High-class stakes races will be spread across North America this weekend, with a lawn showdown in New York, a tough mile event for mares in Kentucky, and a truly open race for older horses in California.
Two-year-olds can be seen almost everywhere as the year approaches their third birthday on January 1st.
At the international level, we have important races in Japan, Bahrain and Hong Kong.
Just like that…
Serve the King and Channel Cat at the top of a list of 10 players to play 1 3/8 miles on Saturday in the $ 200,000 Grade II Red Smith Stakes.
Serve the King, a 5-year-old from Kingman, one of two field coached by Chad Brown, finished second to stable colleague Rockemperor on his last start, the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park on October 9th.
Channel Cat, a 6-year-old son of the recently deceased English Channel, has been a rare visitor to the winners circle for the past two years but captured the Grade I Man o ‘War Stakes at Belmont in May. Soldier Rising and Shamrocket will also be notified by the odds maker.
Sunday’s $ 100,000 notebook stakes for New York-bred 2-year-olds have a field of six going 6 stages. Senbai, a candy ride colt, should be well conceited after winning three of his first four starts, including two outings.
Sunday’s $ 100,000 Key Cents Stakes Companion for 2-year-old fillies bred in New York has eight. Wesley Ward trainee Miss Alacrity won the Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park this summer and traveled west to finish fourth in the Speakeasy Stakes in Santa Anita on her last outing in October.
Classy Edition is 2 for 2 with a win at Joseph A. Gimma in Belmont Park. Shesawildjoker is a Finger Lakes Stakes winner.
Eight mares and mares will be entered for the $ 300,000 Grade III Chilukki Stakes on Saturday, which will walk the one-turn mile off the backstretch slide.
A case can be made for most, but the morning line has Mandatory, the only 3 year old in the field, at the top. Trained by Bill Mott, the Curlin-Miss won the Grade II Eight Belles Stakes on her last appearance under the Twin Spiers and then finished second in both the Grade I Acorn at Belmont Park and the Grade I Cotillion at Parx Racing.
Miss Bigly and Matera are also highly regarded here.
If there was a better field match than the eight who competed for the $ 100,000 Grade III Native Diver Stakes on Saturday, we can’t remember.
None of the eight sets attempting 1 1/8 miles will be held on the morning line at odds less than 8-1. Bob Baffert saddles three of them – Ax Man, Azul Coast and the 7-2 favorite Eight Rings.
None Above the Law seeks a turnaround after finishing eighth in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby on Halloween when he takes on six rivals in the $ 100,000 Cary Grant Stakes for California Breeds on Sunday.
Before this disappointment, the Karakontie gelding won the Class II Del Mar Derby, raising hopes for a career outside the state-bred ranks. If he doesn’t get back to his best, the race will be as wide open as possible.
In Sunday’s $ 100,000 Canadian Frost King Stakes for 2-year-olds bred in Ontario, seven rivals completed 6 1/2 stadiums on the all-weather track. Some are field tested and the others are either virgins or, in the case of Sir for Sure, newbies.
Seven juvenile fillies bred in Ontario will be placed on the Sunday ticket for the Companion $ 100,000 (Canadian) South Ocean Stakes. As with the King Frost field, there isn’t much to do for handicap purposes. As we say, observe and learn.
Sea Level and Free Like a Girl are the first favorites among 10 2-year-old fillies to go for the $ 100,000 My Trusty Cat Stakes on Friday. Exaggerator’s Sea Level is 2 for 2 with wins at Indiana Grand and Remington.
Free Like a Girl, an El Deal filly, is leaving the state-bred company after winning successive stakes in Evangeline Downs and Delta.
Saturday’s $ 100,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes attracted nine two-year-olds, with Kaely’s Brother being the 9-5 favorite on the morning line. The Twirling Candy colt, trained by Brad Cox, took a big step forward on his second start 2 at the Keeneland maiden tournament on October 9th. As always with the youngsters, anything is possible.
Around the world, around the clock
Gran Alegria is aiming for a repeat win in the Grade 1 Mile Championship on Sunday at Hanshin Racecourse, but the 5-year-old will have to face stiff competition, including some aspiring youngsters, to accomplish the feat.
Gran Alegria, a subsidiary of Deep Impact, is also aiming for her sixth victory at the highest level in the run around a sweeping curve of the outer grass course.
Four of Gran Alegria’s previous victories in the grade 1 were achieved over the mile distance, the other at 1,200 meters. Victories in the Yasuda Kinen, Sprinters Stakes and Mile Championship earned her the Champion Sprinter / Miler awards for 2020.
Schnell Meister, who won the NHK Mile Cup class 1 for 3-year-olds in the spring, is also there. Danon the Kid, 2020 Grade I Hopeful Stakes winners, and Grenadier Guards, who won the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes last year, also represent the controversial 3-year-old division.
Indy Champ won the 2019 Mile Championship and is returning after finishing second last year. Salios finished fifth in the 2020 version after a late start and appears to be better.
The three Group 2 races on Sunday at Sha Tin Racecourse are the local preparations for the four Group 1 races that comprise the Longines Hong Kong International Races.
Only the 2,400 meter long Hong Kong vase is missing a mirror on the Sunday menu, where the local hopefuls use the 2,000 meter long BOCHK Jockey Club Cup to warm up. Further preparations are the BOCHK Private Wealth Jockey Club Mile and the 1,200 meter long BOCHK Private Banking Jockey Club Sprint.
Hong Kong Horse of the Year Golden Sixty is the star of the day and the big favorite for the mile. The 6-year-old Medaglia d’Oro Wallach is chasing his 15th victory in a row on his season debut and is pleased with coach Francis Lui in his preparation. If all goes well, he will also be the shining star in the December program.
“He’s good, he’s healthy. He’s more relaxed, as you can see for yourself in his gallop,” Lui said of Golden Sixty. “I think he’s getting more mature all the time. He’s doing very well. He’s good.”
Panfield will likely look in a small field in Sunday’s Cup. The 5-year-old, Chile-bred son of Lookin at Lucky took a 1/2 victory over Columbus County in the Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions and 2,400m Chater Cup to end his 2020-21 season and won his first appearance this season.
The sprint has a field of 10 including Wellington, winner of the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Award in his 2020-21 final, and Courier Wonder, a 4-year-old who was unbeaten on the class leader last season but four in a. finished in Group 2 in its first start of this campaign.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club has now released this year’s lineup for the International Jockey Challenge at the city’s legendary Happy Valley Racecourse.
The list consists of eight international visitors versus four locals. Ryan Moore competes in record time for the 15th time. He and local juggernauts Zac Purton and Joao Moreira are each aiming for a record-breaking third title.
Also participating in the HK $ 800,000 competition are Damian Lane, Tom Marquand, Hollie Doyle, Mickael Barzalona, ââYuga Kawada, James McDonald and Lyle Hewitson. The two best-placed drivers after Purton and Moreira will fill the field next Wednesday.
The Bahrain International Trophy on Friday, newly elevated to Group 3 status by the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities, has a solid international line-up that confirms the wisdom of this decision.
The raiders are led by four Godolphin horses, two trained by Charlie Appleby, one by Saeed bin Suroor and one by Andre Fabre. Ireland and Germany are also represented at the lawn event, which is celebrating its third edition.
Three Fawzi wet runners – all recently taken over from Ireland – lead the local contingent. Nass saddled Simsir to a surprise win in the 2020 edition of this race and makes no secret of his plans to repeat that pattern and result this time.