Key Derby Prep, World’s Richest Horse Race & New Handicapping Contest Highlight Feb. 29 Events

The Kentucky Derby prep race scene reaches a new level Saturday (February 29) as Miami’s Gulfstream Park plays host to the Grade 2, $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes — the biggest race for 3-year-olds so far this year. Twelve horses have entered and the stakes will finish off the program Saturday as Race 14 at 6:04 PM. 

2019 Virginia Derby winner English Bee (#8, inside) won a thriller at Colonial Downs over Jais’s Solitude. Photo by Coady Photography.

Gulfstream will have eight other graded stakes on the stellar card including the $150,000 Canadian Turf (Gr. 3) which features 2019 Virginia Derby champ, English Bee. The Graham Motion trainee has bankrolled $327,900 from 11 career starts including his big Derby win in the Commonwealth over the Secretariat Turf Course last August. Grade 2 events on the card include the Davona Dale, Mac Diarmida and the Gulfstream Park Mile. Other Grade 3’s include the Honey Fox, Palm Beach, Herecomesthebride and The Very Ones Stakes. Note that first post is at 11:30 AM Saturday.

Play a free handciapping contest Saturday February 29 at the Breakers OTB in Henrico.

Horseplayers will also get a chance to watch and wager the world’s richest horse race ever the same day. The inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh features star American horses Maximum Security, Tacitus, Midnight Bisou, McKinzie and Mucho Gusto. Note that with the overseas time difference, this race will kick off the afternoon. Post time is 12:40 PM EDT.

Racing fans can also participate in the new Colonial Downs Handicapping Series which begins Saturday at five different OTBs.  Visit any of these participating locations Saturday before 3 PM to fill out a FREE contest entry and compete for $11,000 in betting vouchers and prizes: VA-Horseplay sites at Breakers Sports Grille (Henrico), Ponies & Pints (Richmond), Buckets Bar & Grill (Chesapeake) and The Windmill OTB Sports Grill (Collinsville) along with the OTB at Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in New Kent.

The Buckets OTB in Chesapeake is conveniently located in the Great Bridge area, in the Battlefield Shopping Plaza.

A total of 11 contests will be held between February 29 and July 25. The top ten overall finishers will receive free entry valued at $550 into the August 15 Colonial Downs Handicapping Classic where two seats to the $3 Million National Handicapping Championship in 2021 will be awarded. 

Looking ahead, a trio of key Derby prep races will be contested on Saturday, March 7 — the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes and $300,000 Gotham at Tampa Bay Downs, Santa Anita and Aqueduct respectively. All three tracks have dynamite under cards scheduled in addition to the key three-year-old preps.