Check back here for daily selections on some the best races from coast to coast provided by track handicapper, Jessica Paquette.
Saturday, November 20th
AQUEDUCT – Race 4
#4 MAGIC JOAN did everything right in her career debut and broke her maiden handily. It was a solid effort and she will get a real class test here against some well-bred, talented fillies. It is worth noting she is a full sister to multiple graded stakes winner Blueskiesnrainbows and she has some potential to continue to improve with age and experience. #6 WAKE ISLAND is also exiting a maiden victory and will face winners for the first time. Though it took her six tries to break the ice, she has been the model of consistency and has been facing some quality rivals – look back at some of the horses that beat here, they include names like Elate, the top sophomore filly in the country. #2 TRILLIANT (IRE) is making her stateside debut for a barn that hits at 32% with horses making their first U.S. start and that alone makes her worth considering. Her form in Great Britain was competitive and she will get lasix for the first time.
AQUEDUCT – Race 8, $150,000 Artie Schiller Stakes
This is a graded stakes quality field. #9 DELTA PRINCE is bred to be a world beater and seems to be really improving as he matures. He is a half brother to multiple champion and Breeders’ Cup winner, Royal Delta, and like many of his other stakes winning siblings has found his niche on the turf. He has never been off the board in seven starts and is coming out of a game third-place effort in the Bernard Baruch (G2). Also worth noting, he has had two sharp bullet workouts recently. #5 BLACKTYPE (FR) figures to be the one to beat here and is coming into this race off of back to back victories including one against Grade 2 competition. He has been keeping comparable rivals and his tactical speed, live connections and consistency make him a very legitimate favorite. #2 FIRE AWAY may offer some value here. He is a half-brother to graded stakes winning millionaire Mr. Speaker and a grandson of the legendary Personal Ensign. He is trying to earn his first stakes victory and his first win of the year but looks like a horse heading towards a big effort.
CHURCHILL DOWNS – $100,000 Cardinal Handicap (G3)
#12 DONA BRUJA (ARG) looms as the favorite here and this Argentinean Group 1 winner has proven she can be competitive at a high level in North America as well. She won back to back stakes races over the summer, one of which came over this turf course, and her last effort was better than it appears on paper. She was flying late and galloped out well. She has been keeping top class competition all year and should be tough here. #10 FAIR POINT may get overlooked here and could offer some value. She is a graded stakes winner and while her form this year has been somewhat average, there is enough back class there to make her a contender. She was fifth as the favorite last time out but was not badly beaten and her form may be trending upwards. She is making an interesting stretch out to two turns after primarily sprinting and is bred to handle the additional distance. #6 COCO CHANNEL could get a piece of the action at a big price. Is she good enough to win? Maybe not but she is relatively unproven and was compromised by an awful trip last time out.
GULFSTREAM PARK WEST – Race 7
#13 SPEED STAR is an interesting contender here and may be a horse to watch down the line should she ever wind up on turf. Her dam, Battingstar, was a really nice local racehorse and New England’s champion turf mare in 2010. She has had moderate success so far as a broodmare and this filly has the sort of pedigree to run well early. She had a really good effort last time out and looks to be heading in the right direction. #11 FIRST DUDETTE is coming out of a good runner up effort and that race was flattered when the winner came back to win again. She showed ample ability in her debut effort and was clearly pretty green – she likely got a lot out of that race and should improve further. #10 R HAPPY ENDING was a six figure purchase early in the year and has been training sharply for her first start. Her bullet workout on October 28 was encouraging and this barn is live – 23% – with first time starters.