We’ll start you off slow and get your feet wet on Saturday which could be the biggest racing weekend of the young Spring.
2:07 EST: Holy Moment, a Mack Robinson filly by Holy Bull will run in Keeneland’s third race a $50,000 Maiden Claimer for fillies and mares. In her debut at Gulfstream, the rangy gray ran like she needed the race, while only finishing 6 lengths behind the winner in the maiden special weight. Today, Corey Nakatani climbs aboard in her second start.
4:08 EST: Travel Northeast to Ozone Park, NY to Aqueduct. You’ll find Noah’s Dream, a promising 3-year-old for Priscilla Graham, entering the gate for the Grade III $200,000 Bay Shore. Noah’s Dream finds himself amongst a small field with a few question marks. Likely favorite, Eightyfiveinafifty bolted last out in the Whirlaway and barrelled through the outer rail and onto the stabling area. Trainer Gary Contessa has the 3-year-old back to one-turn in the Bay Shore. Hurricane Ike invades from California. The Graeme Hall colt has never raced over conventional dirt. The John Sadler trainee is the likely second choice. As for Noah’s Dream, the Pulpit sophomore comes out of a first-level allowance win at Laurel roughly six weeks ago. Kendrick Carmouche, aboard for three of four career races travels away from his Philadelphia base to ride.
5:20 EST: Back to Kentucky for the Grade I $400,000 Ashland. Late-blooming Apple Charlotte will take on seven rivals in the prestigous race for 3-year-old fillies. Those seven are no slacker group. Breeders’ Cup Juvenille Fillies champion She Be Wild will return to her preferred surface, after trying 7-furlongs on the dirt at Gulfstream Park. Negligee, winner of the Grade I Alciabiades at Keeneland in the Fall returns off a layoff that began the day after her 1 3/4 lengths margin defeat in the Breeders’ Cup. Beautician completes the Breeders’ Cup alumni triple-header. The Dehere filly was last seen at Oaklawn Park when she finished second in the Honey Bee on March 13. Unlucky last time out in the Grade III Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream, Apple Charlotte comes into the Ashland without ever facing horses like she will Saturday. However, the lightly raced Smart Strike filly has shown she can compete at all levels. She broke her maiden at Tampa, then ripped through her first level allowance condition at Gulfstream. In the Herecomesthebride, she clipped heels at the top of the stretch, left the television screen and Herringswell airways were shut…until, the Jack Swain product stormed back into the race only to miss the top money by a 1/2 length. Corey Nakatani rides Saturday.
5:37 EST: Let’s go north to the Windy City. The well-traveled Turf Melody comes off of his fastest race yet, the Gotham. He will look to continue that form and hopefully even improve it in the Grade III 1 1/8 miles Illinois Derby. Turf Melody will bang heads with Yawana Twist at Hawthorne. The latter finished second in the Gotham, just a few lengths ahead of Turf Melody. California shooters American Lion and Dave In Dixie will try the dirt for the first time and if they can get a hold of it, also need to be taken seriously.
5:53 EST: Back to Keeneland for the night cap. Dubai Echo for Hickory Tree Stable has some shoes to fill. He joins the Hickory Tree roster of recent stakes winners such as Leamington and Rebellion. The Mr. Greeley son will make his first start stateside in a first level allowance. Alan Garcia gets the leg up.