A Few Up And Coming Juveniles Get Things Started At Santa Anita This Friday
This weekend’s horse betting action has both coasts covered over two days of action. Friday’s card at Santa Anita is highlighted by the American Pharoah Stakes for two-year old’s. Saturday’s card at that same track features this year’s Awesome Again Stakes.
Back east on Belmont’s Saturday card is the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup for three-year thoroughbreds and older. The prize purse for this event is set at $750,000.
2019 American Pharoah Stakes
Friday’s racecard at Santa Anita offers three graded stakes events. The Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes is open to two-year-old fillies with a total price purse of $300,000. It will be contested on the dirt track at a distance of 1 1/6 miles.
The main event on Friday’s card shifts all the focus to a group of two-year-old colts trying to make an early mark on the 2020 Kentucky Derby Trail. The Grade 1 American Pharoah Stakes will also be run on the dirt at Santa Anita over a distance of 1 1/6 miles. The total prize purse for this race is $300,000.
The early field at HRN lists seven possible entries from some of the biggest trainers in the sport. Bob Baffert is expected to go with Eight Rings as his top colt.
After winning a 5 ½-furlong Maiden Special Weight race at Del Mar in his racing debut, this sire of Empire Maker faded to seventh in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 2 at a distance of seven furlongs.
Trainer Peter Miller is expected to run Nucky in this race coming off a victory in the Del Mar Futurity at the beginning of the month. This two-year-old Kentucky-bred colt covered the seven furlongs in 1:25.52 past Wrecking Crew and Defense Wins.
The juvenile with the highest HRN rating in Friday’s projected field is Storm The Court at 6.59. Trained by Peter Eurton, this is another Kentucky-bred colt that is trying to bounce back from a poor run at Del Mar. He finished eighth in the Futurity after winning an MSW race at that same track on Aug. 10 in his racing debut.
2019 Awesome Again Stakes
This Grade 1 stakes race for three-year and older thoroughbreds is expected to have seven entries according to the early listing at HRN. Saturday’s main event at Santa Anita will be contested on dirt over 1 1/8 miles.
This race is part of the Breeders’ Cup “win and you’re in’ Challenge Series with an automatic berth in this year’s Classic.
The big story in this race is Baffert’s McKinzie. This four-year-old colt has posted over $2.2 million in earnings. He reached that total in early August by winning this year’s Grade 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga. He covered the 1 1/8 miles on dirt in 1:47.10 past Yoshida and Vino Rosso.
This was his sixth-straight finish of first or second in his last six events. That streak started after falling all the way back to 12th in last year’s BC Classic at Churchill Downs.
A win on Saturday would probably seal the deal for the son of Street Sense as the favorite to win this year’s BC Classic at Santa Anita the first Saturday in November.
Another top contender in Saturday’s Awesome Again is trainer Dallas Stewart’s Seeking the Soul. Despite a recent seventh-place finish in the 2019 Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 17, this six-year-old horse has a solid HRN rating of 7.49.