‘Tis the weekend before the Breeders’ Cup Championships at Santa Anita and as you might expect, there are a few less thoroughbred stakes races to wager than in past weeks. But the wait until next Friday and Saturday’s “Cup” races will be well worth it.
Keeneland’s last day of their fall session ends Saturday with a Grade 2 stakes on tap, then Churchill Downs opens their fall meet Sunday with a trio of stakes. Belmont, with a pair of Grade 3’s, and Santa Anita, also with a Grade 3 scheduled, still warrant attention Saturday. And harness racing celebrates its biggest weekend of the year with the $5.8 million Breeder’s Crown Championships at The Meadowlands. Well, maybe it’s not so light a schedule after all!
Keeneland’s closing day feature is the $200,000 Hagyard Fayette Stakes (Gr. 2) for 3 year olds & up going 9 furlongs on dirt. Belmont’s Grade 3 co-features include the $200,000 Bold Ruler (3 & up) and $200,000 Turnback The Alarm Handicap (3 & up fillies/mares) while Santa Anita plays host to the Grade 3 $100,000 Autumn Miss Stakes for 3 year old fillies. On Sunday, Churchill chips in with the $300,000 Spendthrift Stallion Stakes (2 year old restricted), the $80,000 Street Sense Stakes (2 YO) and $80,000 Rags To Riches Stakes (2 YO fillies)
From a Commonwealth perspective, 16 of 25 Virginia-bred horses racing on Saturday will not only be competing for purse money, they’ll be vying for a 25% bonus as part of the new VTA/HBPA Mid-Atlantic incentive program. Service For Ten, pictured here winning at Laurel July 24th, goes for his second bonus since the program began July 1st. The 7 year old Service Stripe gelding, bred by Mr. & Mrs. Sidney Cox and owned by Mark Lapidus LLC, enters weekend action with $418,055 in earnings. Photo courtesy of Jim McCue.
The Meadowlands Racetrack is hosting the $5.8 million Breeders’ Crown championships this Friday and Saturday evening. Friday’s “can’t miss” race pits two outstanding pacers against each other in the $421,000 Horse/Gelding Open Pace — Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki.
The former, a 4 year old gelding, has earned $1,624,337 this year alone, and $3,812,832 in his career. He has 38 wins from 50 starts. The latter, a 5 year old horse, is the fastest ever. He recorded a 1:46.0 sizzler October 9th at The Red Mile, and has won over $1 million this year alone.
Virginia residents can bet this race — the 7th on the card — and every other track racing via one of our on line betting partners — TVG.com, XPressBet.com and TwinSpires.com. And beginning this coming week, the first Off Track Betting (OTB) Center will open in Richmond at Breakers Sports Grille at 9127 West Broad St. in the TJ Maxx Plaza.
Looking ahead — Can Virginia-bred Stellar Wind get the best of Beholder again? Find out next Friday in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff! You can watch & wager all the action at that new Richmond OTB. There are four “Cup” races slated for Friday November 4th between 5:25 – 7:45 PM and another nine on Saturday November 5th between 3:00 – 8:45 PM. Details are at www.virginiahorseracing.com.