For racing, Thanksgiving weekend is filled with tasty treats with some outstanding stakes races from coast-to-coast all weekend long.
The holiday weekend headliner is the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar, where California Chrome could bounce back to nail down a pair of season championships. Chrome will make his grass debut in this Grade One race and a victory could very well help lock him in as Horse of the Year, not to mention the 3 -year-old crown.
Let's face it, while Bayern's front-running, gutsy victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic was solid, many fans and experts alike believe he should have been disqualified for the collisions he caused out of the starting gate. I rarely disagree with the stewards on their calls but in the Classic, I think they got it wrong. I think the results of the Classic sort of left the door open in the Horse of the Year chase, and Chrome's camp wants to try to take advantage of that opening.
Right after the Breeders' Cup, I thought Chrome and possibly a few other prominent runners might head to Churchill's Clark Handicap, where they all could try to polish up their Horse of the Year resumes. But maybe the Derby and Preakness winner's trainer, Art Sherman knows best, and rather than shipping cross -country to Louisville, they will go in the Hollywood Derby in their own backyard. While the Del Mar race will be the colt's first test on the turf, Sherman likes what he's seen after Chrome's pair of grass workouts.
By taking this grass Derby, Chrome's 2014 resume would be an eye-catcher for any Eclispe voter.
In addition to this race, there are a pair of important 2-year-old races on Saturday. Churchill's Kentucky Jockey Club features some lively hopefuls for next year's Run for the Roses, including the Bob Baffert-trained Lord Nelson, whom Baffert believes can run all day.
At New York's Aqueduct, trainer Dale Romans has pair of 2 -year-olds running in the Remsen: Keen Ice and Thirtysevenliveson . Romans chose the trip to the Big Apple, rather than running in Kentucky Jockey Club in his own backyard. Hmmmm.....