Just when you thought the Breeders' Cup was the capper for this year's big racing events, we now have a tasty menu of races to look forward to over this Thanksgiving holiday.
Let's take a glance at the terrific stakes on tap under the Twin Spires. Churchill's Thursday card is highlighted by the Falls City for fillies and mares. This one figures to come down to a battle of this trio: Don't Tell Sophia, Flashy American, and Fiftyshadesofhay. Interesting that trainer Bob Baffert brought Fiftyshadesofhay cross-country to Louisville, so you gotta think she has a big shot. Don't Tell Sophia is coming off a bang-up triumph in Churchill's Chilukki Stakes, so we'll give her the nod.
Friday's $500,000 Clark Handicap features a showdown between Wayne Lukas' Will Take Charge and Bob Baffert's Game On Dude. There's a ton on the line in this race besides the purse. If the Dude wins, he will likely sew up an Eclipse Award for Older Horse. If Will Take Charge prevails, he'll lock up the Eclipse Award for top 3 -Year-Old.
Game On Dude was brilliant all year until his dud in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Yet overall, he has been a faster horse than Will Take Charge, and with the Clark at a mile an eighth ( shorter than the B.C. Classic) he could have an advantage over Will Take Charge. The Baffert runner could end up as the controlling speed. Says here the Dude bounces back and lands in the winner's circle.
On Saturday's meet-closing card, 2 -year-olds will be spotlighted. Fillies first in the Golden Rod.
Madly Truly is the only stakes winner in this field and is a contender, along with Stonetastic, who has run well at the Downs. I'll go with a bit of a better price and tab the Al Stall-trained filly, Vexed, who'll be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan.
Next up the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and the colt, Almost Famous, could get seriously famous by taking this one. The Patrick Byrne-trainee really likes Churchill, and is coming off a tremedous allowance victory by six lengths earlier this month. Almost Famous has generated some buzz among the early contenders for next year's Derby. His early speed will probably be too tough for the rest to catch in the KJC.
Hey, New York has a delicious slate of racing on Saturday. Aqueduct has the Remsen Stakes, which includes the highly-regarded 2-year-old, Honor Code.
This guy carries Derby dreams for trainer Shug McGaughey and Honor Code just might be the one to make that dream come true. He's bred to go long, and a Remsen win will leave him as the leading contender heading to the 2014 Road to the Roses.
And after you grab some turkey dinner leftovers, don't forget to catch Aqueduct's Cigar Mile, which will pit boy versus girl. Both Groupie Doll and Goldencents were shining stars at the Breeders' Cup and they figure to be the top players in this one.
Goldencents should prevail over Groupie Doll as while both are so very fast, he has simply faced tougher sprinter-type runners all year long. Eclipse possibilities are on the line in this race for this pair as well. Goldencents could earn Champion Sprinter and/or Champion 3-year-old, while Groupie Doll could capture Sprinter honors and perhaps earn top Older Female.
Like I said, this Thanksgiving weekend could serve up quite a racing feast.