The Week Ahead: Big A giving way to Twin Spires

The final week of the Aqueduct meet means a few different things in the world of racing.  Most importantly, it means that the summer at Belmont is coming up and that the Kentucky Derby is days away.  There’s no doubt that Aqueduct has a great deal of character, but turf racing at varying distances, wide sweeping turns, and 9 furlong one-turn races always get you a bit excited.

The centerpiece of the final week at the Big A is the $150,000 Withers (G3) on Saturday afternoon.  Mr. Fantasy, the fleet-footed NY bred who was well backed in the Gotham, should receive plenty of support as will This One’s For Phil, who earned the highest Beyer figure of 2009 when he won the Sunshine Millions Dash at Gulfstream in January.  Another interesting entrant will be Gone Astray, a well-bred son of Illicit who scored handily against a terrible allowance field on the Wood Memorial undercard. 

Closing day at Keeneland is Friday and the headliner is the $200,000 Fifth Third Elkhorn (G2) which drew a full field including the venerable old warrior Better Talk Now.  He’ll be joined in the starting gate by graded stakes winners Tranduction Gold, Spice Route, Champs Elysees and a number of others.  Saturday is opening day at Churchill Downs and the featured event is the Derby Trial, which is a Grade III once again after being run as a listed stake in 2008.  Silver City, the speedy pacesetter in the Southwest and Rebel at Oaklawn, will be very dangerous on the cutback.

Hollywood Park opens on Wednesday and money will be thrown around on Saturday during their Gold Rush Festival.  The Cal-bred staple usually offers bulky fields and great wagering opportunities.  All night owls should remember that Hollywood will run on Friday nights throughout the meet (with the exception of May 1).  First post is at 10:05 PM EDT.

We’ll see you back Friday night for stakes picks!  Considering the old man Better Talk Now is running on Friday, here’s his finest performance in an illustrious career.


One Response to “The Week Ahead: Big A giving way to Twin Spires”

  1. Travis Says:

    I can’t help but wonder if the results of this race would have been different without that crazy backstretch move by Powerscourt. He basically forced Kitten’s Joy hand, and perhaps he finishes better without being sucked-in so early?

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