‘Dinner guest upsets Jackpot; Holiday stakes loom

Aside from the Breeders’ Cup competitors who already had sufficient earnings to get into the 2011 Kentucky Derby, we now have a new shooter and it’s Gourmet Dinner.  He shipped in from Calder and took down the big payday at the little racetrack in Vinton, Louisiana with a strong off the pace move.  The addition of blinkers helped him relax in the early stages and went a long way towards him getting the 8.5 furlong distance of the Jackpot.  His preliminary Beyer figure was a 93 and puts him in line with many of the 2YOs not named Uncle Mo, Boys at Tosconova, or To Honor and Serve.  Click here to watch the Delta Jackpot.

One filly I’m very excited about going forward is Aruna, who won the Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs, her third consecutive victory since coming to America and joining the stable of Graham Motion.  She has a nice turn of foot and looks to be improving with each start and that makes her a very interesting prospect for 2011.

The local preps for the Hollywood Starlet and the CashCall Futurity took place at Hollywood Park with Premier Pegasus running his undefeated record to 3-3 in the Prevue and Turbulent Descent making it 2-2 in the Moccassin.  Both will likely be back for the aforementioned meet headliners for juveniles.  Premier Pegasus is unproven going a route of ground but is certainly an interesting horse based on his precocity and savvy trainer.

The opening day card at Fair Grounds is back in its customary place on the calendar, Thanksgiving Day.  Click here for the opening day entries, with the Thanksgiving Handicap going as the featured event on the afternoon, Race 8.

The stakes action for Aqueduct’s Holidayfest begins with Thursday’s Fall Highweight Handicap.  Click here to read a bit more about it as nine runners will go postward and there’s no true favorite among the evenly matched participants. 

The Top Flight Handicap has drawn a field of seven and includes the defending champion, Sara Louise, who’s back in 20 days after a disappointing effort in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.  Little went her way at Churchill Downs and it seems reasonable to expect her to turn things around.

On Wednesday the Saturday cards for Churchill and Aqueduct will be drawn as it’s closing day at the former and the penultimate card on main track at the latter.  The Cigar Mile will feature two 4YOs from the Godolphin Stable, Girolamo and Vineyard Haven, as well as 2009 runner-up Bribon.  Other stakes winners pointing to the Cigar Mile include Arson Squad, Tizway, and Noble’s Promise.  If all of the horses mentioned by Stakes Coordinator Andy Byrnes go postward then it’s going to be a very interesting affair.

I’ll be back on Wednesday to preview the Cigar Mile card and take a peek at the Clark Handicap at Churchill as well as the Stars of Tomorrow II card at the ‘Downs on Saturday.  Until then, best of luck!

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