The Big ‘Cap is Weekend Feature Race
Category : News
Fri 07/03/2014 - 15:45 EST
Several of last year’s top horses will be racing this weekend, including Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge, who staged a thrilling battle last fall in the Breeder’s Cup Classic, where MMM held on to win by a nose over the hard-charging WTC. The two rivals will go head-to-head again on Saturday in the $750,000 Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, for horses four-years-old and up racing 1 1/4 miles on the dirt. The race is the fifth of five stakes races on the Saturday card at Santa Anita.
Top contenders both have wins since BC Classic
Mucho Macho Man, a six-year-old Florida bred son of Macho Uno, comes in to the race off a dominating 14-length win over state-breds in the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream. Including the BC Classic, it was his third straight win dating back to the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita last September. He has nine wins in 24 career starts, including five graded-stakes wins. Will Take Charge, meanwhile, followed up the BC loss with a win in the Grade I Clark Handicap at Churchill, and was second in his only start so far in 2014, the Grade I Donn Handicap at Gulfstream.
Game On Dude tries for historic third title
Other contenders hoping to get a piece of the ticket include Game On Dude, winner of the ‘Cap last year and in 2011 will try for a record third win. After five consecutive graded-stakes wins last year, he was a well beaten ninth in the BC Classic and has struggled since then, finishing behind WTC in the Clark, and fading to fifth in his last start, the Grade II San Antonio Stakes. The winner of that one, Blingo, is here as well, as is the second-place finisher, Imperative.
One of the most historic - and controversial - editions of the Kentucky Derby is in the books and the next leg of the US Triple Crown moves to Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course for the running of the Preakness Stakes. The 1 3/16 test over the Pimlico dirt track is drawing a wide-open field of three-year-old thoroughbreds gunning for the $1.5 million purse.
Led to the gate by pre-race morning line favorite Omaha Beach, a full field of 20 are set to line up for the 145th Kentucky Derby on late Saturday afternoon. They're running for a total purse of $3 million on the 1 1/4 mile Churchill dirt course and making their bid to follow 2018 winner Justify as Triple Crown champions.
The $100,000 Grade 3 Bashford Manor Stakes July 2 at Churchill Downs features a field of nine up-and-coming two year olds in a race that may be as confusing as it is competitive.
With the Grade 1, $500,000 Stephen Foster the centerpiece of a stellar Downs After Dark racing card June 18 at Churchill Downs, the expected field of seven older runners presents an interesting handicapping puzzle.