National Racing Rundown
Monday, February 19, 2018
by John Piassek
Usually a sleepy day in the racing world, the President’s Day holiday turns Monday racing on its head. There’s ten tracks racing on Monday, with some offering graded stakes. The national headliner is the Southwest Stakes, featuring a field of ten Kentucky Derby prospects. That race, plus plenty more, will be dissected below…
TRACKS RACING MONDAY
GULFSTREAM PARK: 12 races, 99 horses, first post time 12:00 PM EST
LAUREL PARK: 9 races, 69 horses, first post time 12:30 PM EST
MAHONING VALLEY RACE COURSE: 8 races, 69 horses, first post time 12:45 PM EST
AQUEDUCT: 8 races, 57 horses, first post time 12:50 PM EST
PARX RACING: 9 races, 77 horses, first post time 12:55 PM EST
FAIR GROUNDS: 9 races, 82 horses, first post time 2:00 PM EST
OAKLAWN PARK: 10 races, 97 horses, first post time 2:05 PM EST
TURF PARADISE: 8 races (6 thoroughbred), 67 horses, first post time 2:55 PM EST
SANTA ANITA PARK: 9 races, 72 horses, first post time 3:30 PM EST
GOLDEN GATE FIELDS: 9 races, 60 horses, first post time 3:45 PM EST
GULFSTREAM PARK (HALLANDALE BEACH, FL): 80*F, Partly Cloudy (chance of showers in morning)
LAUREL PARK (LAUREL, MD): 48*F, Cloudy (chance of showers in morning)
MAHONING VALLEY RACE COURSE (YOUNGSTOWN, OH); 54*F, Rainy
AQUEDUCT (QUEENS, NY): 47*F, Partly Cloudy
PARX RACING (BENSALEM, PA): 52*F, Cloudy
FAIR GROUNDS (NEW ORLEANS, LA): 79*F, Chance of showers
OAKLAWN PARK (HOT SPRINGS, AR): 72*F, Partly Cloudy
TURF PARADISE (PHOENIX, AZ): 61*F, Partly Cloudy
SANTA ANITA PARK (ARCADIA, CA): 56*F, Partly Cloudy
GOLDEN GATE FIELDS (ALBANY, CA): 53*F, Sunny
CARRYOVERS OF NOTE
GULFSTREAM PARK: $1,072,444 carryover in rainbow pick 6, starts in race 7, post time 3:04 PM EST
LAUREL PARK: $8,939 carryover in rainbow pick 6, starts in race 4, post time 2:00 PM EST
TURF PARADISE: $2,551 carryover in pick 6, starts in race 3, post time 3:52 PM EST
SPOTLIGHT RACES OF THE DAY
GULFSTREAM PARK RACE 11
POST TIME: 5:16 PM EST
The feature race at Gulfstream on Monday is the Royal Delta Stakes, for older fillies and mares at one mile on the main track. The morning line favorite at 5/2 is the 2, Lewis Bay, who will make her second start off a layoff of more than a year. She made her return to the races back on December 16 a winning one, taking the Rampart Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths. As a three-year-old back in 2016, she won the Gazelle Stakes and the Turnback the Alarm Handicap. Look for her to show early speed from the inside.
The 7, Unbridled Mo, is another classy mare returning from a long break. She won the Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland on April 21 in her last race to date. Her resume includes four graded stakes wins, including the Monmouth Oaks, the Remington Oaks, and the Houston Classic. She’s had plenty of bullet works to get ready for her return, as she seeks to make it a winning one.
The 8, Curlin’s Approval, is the classic example of a “horse-for-course”. In 12 races at Gulfstream Park, she’s won seven times, with three more second-place finishes. Her last two races have resulted in runner-up finishes, first in the Rampart, behind Lewis Bay, and in the Hurricane Bertie Stakes. She figures to rate off the early pace.
OAKLAWN PARK RACE 9
POST TIME: 6:10 PM EST
This is the Southwest Stakes, the second leg of Oaklawn’s road to the Kentucky Derby. It features a field of ten Derby prospects (Principe Guilherme was entered, but ran Saturday at Fair Grounds instead) going 1 1/16 miles. Two horses figure to command the headlines in this race: the 2, Sporting Chance, and the 4, Mourinho. Sporting Chance won the Hopeful Stakes last year at Saratoga, following an impressive maiden win during opening weekend at that track. Unfortunately for him, an injury caused him to miss the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and he has not been seen until now. Trainer Wayne Lukas won the Risen Star Stakes with Bravazo; he hopes to add another Derby prospect to his contingent. Mourinho, meanwhile, put his name in the national racing consciousness with a win in the Smarty Jones Stakes back on January 15. He went gate-to-wire while winning that race, and left the rest of the field in the dust while winning by 3 1/4 lengths. Look for him to employ a front-running strategy once again.
SANTA ANITA PARK RACE 8
POST TIME: 7:18 PM EST
Alongside the California Cup Oaks, this race features some of the finest California-bred three-year-olds around. This race features twelve of them going 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. The morning line favorite is the 4, Heck Yeah, who is undefeated thus far in his two-race career. He broke his maiden on dirt at Los Alamitos on December 7, then won the California Cup Turf Sprint on January 27. He’ll stretch out to a route for the first time, and get a change in jockey to Mike Smith. Drayden Van Dyke, his usual jockey, is off at Oaklawn, riding Mourinho.
The top two finishers in a Cal-bred maiden race on January 15 return here. The 1, Violent Ridge, stalked the pace and drew off to win by 1 1/4 lengths as the 1/1 favorite. He’ll stretch out beyond 6 1/2 furlongs for the first time. The 5, Faversham, debuted in that race, and made a solid rally from behind to finish second. Look for him to improve second time out.