Connections of Filly & Mare Turf victress show their love for her in the winner’s circle
This weekend’s horse racing action is highlighted by a quartet of Grade 1 turf races in Hong Kong which have drawn an international cast, including Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare turf heroine Loves Only You.
Stateside, the stakes action is led by the G2 Los Alamitos Futurity and the G3 Mr. Prospector on Saturday. Additionally, Arkansas Derby winner Super Stock returns in Oaklawn’s $150,000 Poinsettia Stakes on Saturday.
4:25 p.m. – $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes at Fair Grounds
The best effort of 6-year old Grand Luwegee’s career came when he won this race last year at Fair Grounds, his lone start at 1 ⅛ miles on dirt. A muddy track last year may have contributed to his 52-1 shocker, and a Saturday forecast repeat that could be to his liking for the 30th start of his career as he has never finished out of the money out of 6 starts in the mud. Add to that jockey Colby Hernanadez is back up and we have the recipe for this Gerard Perron owned, bred, and trained horse to take the big stack and move less than $10,000 away from a cool half million.
But he’ll have company out front with the presence of Pound for Pound. No rider has been more assertive with her speedy mounts so far at Fair Grounds than Aubrie Green who rides the 2019 Classic champion, who missed the race last year. Owned by Israel Flores Horses, bred by Jay Adcock & B & B Bloodstock, this early mover also knows how to fight off rivals late. Seven of his 17 exacta finishes have come down to less than half a length. Trained by Andrea Ali, the 6-year old horse drew post 3 and could follow Grand Luwegee until ready to punch.
Louisiana Champions Day Classic Entries
5:05 p.m. – G3 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream Park
Endorsed, the 5-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro, is graded stakes-placed and has run respectably in a few Grade 1 stakes, but he is still seeking to win his first stakes in a steady 23-race career. He was claimed for $100,000 out of a third-place finish in an Aug. 26 optional claiming allowance at Saratoga, but has been winless in three starts for trainer Mike Maker, finishing third in the Louisville Thoroughbred Society Stakes, fourth in the Phoenix (G2) at Keeneland and a close third in an optional claiming allowance at Churchill while being ridden by Gaffalione for the first time.
Albaugh Family Stables LLC’s Dennis’ Moment enters the Mr. Prospector coming off his first win since capturing the 2019 Iroquois at Churchill Downs. The Dale Romans-trained son of Tiznow captured a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance at Keeneland.
Wind of Change, who won the ungraded Mr. Prospector at Monmouth in May, is coming off a second-place finish in an optional claiming allowance in his first start on Gulfstream’s Tapeta course.
Officiating, who made a strong middle move on Tapeta before fading in the Showing Up, won the off-the-turf Bear’s Den at seven furlongs over a sloppy track in his previous start.
Mr. Prospector Entries
5:13 p.m. – $150,000 Poinsettia Stakes at Oaklawn Park
Super Stock, winner of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) last April at Oaklawn, is among seven 3-year-olds entered in Saturday’s inaugural $150,000 Poinsettia Stakes.
Super Stock exits a 1 ¼-length victory in the $250,000 Zia Park Derby Nov. 23 at Zia Park for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and his father/co-owner, Keith Asmussen. In addition to the Arkansas Derby, Super Stock won the $200,000 Ellis Park Derby Aug. 15 at Ellis Park.
6:58 p.m. – G2 Los Alamitos Futurity at Los Alamitos
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will send out Messier and Barossa as he seeks his eighth consecutive victory in the Grade 2, $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity Saturday.
A son of Empire Maker and the Smart Strike mare Cherokee Past has won two of three and earned $105,600. After finishing second as the odds-on favorite in his debut June 27 at Los Alamitos, the Canadian bred has gone back-to-back, prevailing by a combined 10 lengths. In his most recent appearance, Messier won the Grade 3 Bob Hope by three lengths Nov. 14.
An Into Mischief colt out of the Flower Alley mare Bouquet Booth, Barossa, who has the same ownership group as Messier, finished ninth of 11 in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 5. He’s won once in four starts and earned $69,200. He broke his maiden at eight furlongs two starts back at Santa Anita.
Los Alamitos Entries
1:00 a.m. – G1 Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin
G1 Coronation Cup winner Pyledriver lines up this weekend as the highest rated horse in the field with an international rating of 121 and has beaten last year’s LONGINES Hong Kong Vase hero Mogul comfortably in three of their four meetings, including the Coronation Cup.
Meanwhile, Mogul returns to defend his title and leads a three-pronged attack on International Day at Sha Tin from the formidable Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore training and riding combination. The 4-year-old son of Galileo, has not won in four starts since last year’s Hong Kong success. However, that victory was his third from as many runs right-handed at 2400 metres on good ground and jockey Moore believes his 2021 performances can be excused.
Hong Kong Vase Entries
1:40 a.m. – G1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin
Danon Smash was a smashing victor of last year’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (six furlongs), and will defend his crown this Sunday.
But before all of this, his sire – Lord Kanaloa – now one of the top stallions in Japan, gave Danon Smash’s handler – Takayuki Yasuda – two crowns in the Hong Kong Sprint (2012 & 2013).
A 6-year-old now and readying for his final start before stallion duties, Danon Smash kicked off his campaign with victory in the G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) first-up in March (this year) to register his first top-level win in Japan. It was also another father-and-son achievement following the pair’s triumphs in the Hong Kong Sprint.
Hong Kong Sprint Entries
2:50 a.m. – G1 Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin
Gearing up for his toughest test to date and the chance to create history, Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year Golden Sixty will step away from barrier two in Sunday’s Hong Kong Mile. This weekend, the 6-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro will bid to extend his winning thread to 16 and his overall tally to 19 wins – a new local record in Hong Kong.
Golden Sixty shares the current mantle of 18 wins in town with Silent Witness and Beauty Generation. And Lui describes the quirky but incredibly talented gelding as the horse of a lifetime.
Hong Kong Mile Entries
3:30 a.m. – G1 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin
No matter where she finishes in the Hong Kong Cup (2000m, or 1 1/4 miles), those watching will be witnessing both history in the making and a history maker, Japan’s champion mare with an endearingly fetching name – Loves Only You.
The LONGINES Hong Kong Cup will be the final race for Loves Only You, capping a short, star-studded, and decidedly international career, which has seen the now 5-year-old daughter of Deep Impact land one of the most elusive overseas wins for Japan – its first Breeders’ Cup victory, while her FWD QEII Cup triumph at Sha Tin earlier this year came at her first Hong Kong sortie.
Hong Kong Cup Entries
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