Cabin Fever must be running wild in the Mid-Atlantic States as a record snowfall forced the cancellation of multiple cards at over a dozen thoroughbred horse racing tracks. Laurel Park hasn’t had live racing since Friday, Feb. 5th, but will reopen on Saturday (Feb. 13) with featuring nine races, with the finale kicking off the 7th season of the Magna 5 wager. On Monday, the Laurel Park President’s Day race card will feature four stakes races including the Grade 2 General George and Barbara Fritchie Handicap.
Elsewhere on Saturday, horse players will pay close attention to two Kentucky Derby prep races. On the East Coast at Tampa Bay Downs, the 10th race is the Gr. 3 Sam F. Davis stakes, contested at 1 1/16th mile. A relatively small field of 7 is headed by Todd Pletcher-trained Rule (#1; 8-5 M/L) who invades Florida for his 3 year old debut seeking his 4th consecutive victory, the most recent one on Dec. 4th at Delta Downs in the Gr. 3 Delta Jackpot. This front-running son of Roman Ruler will have some company vying for the early lead in #2 – Schoolyard Dreams (6-1) and #4 – Middle Of The Nite (9-2). A quick pace will benefit stretch-running #6 – Uptowncharlybrown (2-1) , who is 2 for 2 and should relish the added distance. A sleeper could be #5 – Silver Craft (8-1), 4th by 9 to Uptowncharlybrown when 5-2 second-choice benefits with a rider upgrade.
Shippers usually have a tough time adjusting to the deep Tampa dirt surface, that’s why Rule is vulnerable. I like Uptowncharlybrown (#6) over Rule (#1), Schoolyard Dreams (#2) and African Moon (#7; 15-1).
On the West coast at Santa Anita, the 6th race is Robert B. Lewis Stakes contested at 1 1/16 mile, postponed last week due to excessive rain. The one week delay caused the defection of two runners, leaving just 5, led by 6-5 Morning Line favorite, #2 – Tiz Chrome puts his perfect 2-for-2 record on the line, stretching out from sprints for trainer Bob Baffert. Tiz Chrome’s half-brother and highly touted 9-5 second-choice #3 – American Lion makes his 3 year old debut with Julien Leparoux in the irons, was aboard for both his maiden and Gr. 3 Hollywood Prevue victories.
The others in here are John Sadler’s late-running trainee, #1 – Dave In Dixie (7-2) who will require a fast early pace, which may not materialize. After a 6 furlong maiden win at first asking, Dave In Dixie took on 2 year old Eclipse Award winner Lookin At Lucky in the Gr. 1 Norfolk, finishing 6th, but only by 2½ lengths, and gets in 7 lbs. lighter for this contest. Undefeated in four starts, #4 – Caracortado (4-1) is a CAL bred who faces his toughest task to date, while longest shot on the board, # 5 – Tango Tango (20-1) should be showing the way early.
The fact that Julien Leparoux is travelling from south Florida (Gulfstream Park) indicates he’s confident that American Lion is in top form for his 3 year old debut and is a strong Kentucky Derby candidate. But strictly looking at the race through a handicapping stand-point and hopes of quick, early fractions, go with #1 – Dave In Dixie with #2 – Tiz Chrome for an Exacta play, and add #3 – American Lion and #4 – Caracortado to a Trifecta ticket.
On Monday, the President’s Day holiday, there is another Derby Prep race, the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Enjoy a great day of thoroughbred horse racing. Share the fun with a friend.