It may be the first weekend in December but there’s plenty of stakes race action to watch and wager this coming weekend, either at the new Off Track Betting Center in Richmond at Breakers Sports Grille or via any of the VEA’s three on line betting partners — TVG.com, XPressbet.com or TwinSpires.com.
The Claiming Crown series traditionally is known for its big fields, which makes is very attractive to bettors. Gulfstream Park hosts nine Crown events this Saturday December 3rd covering races 3 thru 11. Purses for each range from $100,000 to $200,000 and field size ranges from 9 to 14 per. Post times for the Crown stakes begin at 1:00 PM. and continue through 5:05 PM.
Virginia-bred Homespun Hero will compete in the $200,000 Claiming Crown Jewel Stakes, slated as the 10th race with a post time of 4:34 PM. The 3 year old Hard Spun colt was bred by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, is trained by Michael Maker and is owned by Ken & Sarah Ramsey. He is 10-1 early and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.
Keeping focus down south Saturday, Tampa Bay Downs — always a popular winter track among horseplayers — will host the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes for two year olds, and the $100,000 Sandpiper Stakes for two year old fillies. Heading west, Del Mar plays host to a pair of Grade I stakes this weekend. The $300,000 Hollywood Derby is Saturday and the $300,000 Matriarch Stakes is Sunday.
Farther north, Aqueduct chips in with the $250,000 Go For Wand Stakes (Gr. 3) and Parx has the $100,000 Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes. Woodbine provides a double bang this weekend with the $125,000 Display Stakes Saturday and the $125,000 Valedictory Stakes (Gr. 3) Sunday.
Looking ahead to the rest of the month, there are four more enticing Grade I stakes. Los Alamitos presents the Cash Call Futurity and Starlet Stakes on December 10th while Santa Anita hosts the Malibu and La Brea Stakes December 26th.
A complete December simulcast calendar for the Breakers OTB in Richmond is at www.virginiahorseracing.com. Click on the “Bet” link at the top to access.