2017 Pacific Classic Arrogate Songbird

Arrogate Prepares For 2017 Pacific Classic

The combination of Arrogate’s brutal fourt place finish in the San Diego Handicap, along with Gun Runner’s recent win in The Whitney, has many people wondering just who the best racehorse in the country actually is. It’s a typical debate between talent and production. To regain his footing in the discussion, Arrogate needs a top performance in the 2017 Pacific Classic.

Arrogate went back to work with his typical team in order to prepare for a race that should boast a very competitive field. Official splits for his recent drills included fractions of :25 1/5, :37 1/5, :48 2/5, 1:00 3/5, and 1:12 3/5. He was timed on the gallop out in 1:38 1/5. Everything seems to be pointed in the right direction.

“It was a serious work,” commented trainer Bob Baffert. “He didn’t need much encouragement. He’s showing no signs . He’s moving forward. I’ve seen a big difference in him since that last race. He’s back to his old self again.” This is good news for the horse that will undoubtedly enter the 2017 Pacific Classic as the favorite.

Jockey Mike Smith, who has ridden Arrogate for the brunt of his competitive career, also said that Arrogate, “Looked good. He galloped out strong.”

The field for the 2017 Pacific Classic is expected to include Accelerate, who handed Arrogate his first defeat in the 2017 San Diego Handicap. Collected and Curlin Road are also expected to fill the gates.

But the most anticipated rival to Arrogate will be Songbird, who has picked up two wins this year in the 2017 Ogden Phipps and the 2017 Delaware Handicap. This would be the second time in two years that the Pacific Classic featured a battle between the top male and female dirt runners in the world. Last year, California Chrome made short work of Beholder.

A month ago, this wouldn’t have even been up for debate. Songbird is an astounding talent, but Arrogate feels like he comes from another planet. However, there is a dent in that undefeated armor now and Arrogate’s strongest rivals will feel like there’s a chance to overtake the 2016 Horse of the Year. To be fair, Songbird didn’t look untoucachable in the Delaware as she barely outlasted Martini Glass for the win.

The 2017 Pacific Classic will run on Saturday, August 19th out of Del Mar Racetrack, the same venue as the 2017 Breeders’ Cup. We’ll have more coverage in the next two weeks on the big race.

Preakness Stakes Draw

2016 Preakness Stakes Draw Revealed

Nyquist has drawn the third post in a field of 11 horses for the 2016 Preakness Stakes, giving him an optimal line at this Saturday’s race. It’s also worth pointing out – since most of you are going to bet on him – that Nyquist is also a 3/5 preference by the oddsmakers. The full Preakness Stakes draw is listed below.

Exaggerator comes in as the second favorite at 3/1 after serving as the runner-up to Nyquist for the second time in his career. The Desormeaux ridden and trained contender also trailed the leading three-year old at the San Vicente Stakes. They have competed four times against one another, and it goes without saying that the undefeated Nyquist has his number.

The relatively unknown Stradivari out of Todd Pletcher’s camp received the outside post in the Preakness Stakes draw, and carries 8/1 odds as the third favorite. Sired by Medaglia d’Oro, Stradivari is 2-0-0 in three allowance races, finishing fourth in his debut as well. It will be curious to see if he can make the most of the outside lane.

Lani leads the longshots after a 9th place finish at the Kentucky Derby. He will be squeezed between Collected in the 7th gate and the previously mentioned Exaggerator. The Kentucky-born and Japanese trained contender is one of four horses carrying 30/1 odds. Awesome Speed, Abiding Star, Fellowship and Laboan also share the same number.

Collected came out of the Preakness Stakes draw with a favorable post and is a standalone outside shot at 10/1 with Cherry Wine and Uncle Lino drawing the inside gates at 20/1.

The 2016 Preakness Stakes will run on Saturday, May 21st. To get your wagering in, head over to our preferred betting partner at Twinspires.com!

2016 Preakness Stakes Draw and Odds

Post Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Cherry Wine Corey Lanerie Dale Romans 20-1
2 Uncle Lino Fernando Perez Gary Sherlock 20-1
3 Nyquist Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill 3-5
4 Awesome Speed Jevian Toledo Alan Goldberg 30-1
5 Exaggerator Kent Desormeaux Keith Desormeaux 3-1
6 Lani Yutaka Take Mikio Matsunaga 30-1
7 Collected Javier Castellano Bob Baffert 10-1
8 Laoban Florent Geroux Eric Guillot 30-1
9 Abiding Star J.D. Acosta Ned Allar 30-1
10 Fellowship Jose Lezcano Mark Casse 30-1
11 Stradivari John Velazquez Todd Pletcher 8-1
2016 Preakness Stakes field

2016 Preakness Stakes Field Probables

The obvious leader on the board will be Nyquist, who ran an outstanding race against a competitive field to win the Kentucky Derby as the favorite. Despite allowing for a large field, the 2016 Preakness Stakes field is likely to be ten or less. The 1 3/16th mile race has previously been won by the Kentucky Derby for the past two years.

The runner-up at Churchill Downs this past weekend will likely toss his name in to the hat. Exaggerator ran an absolutely outstanding race but was no match for the sheer speed of Nyquist down the stretch. He fought hard to rally past Gun Runner, who also seems likely for the 2016 Preakness Stakes field.

Recent Kentucky Derby hopefuls such as Lani and Suddenbreakingnews, who finished 9th and 5th respectively, are also going to try and topple Nyquist in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Sharp Azteca is also pointed towards the Preakness Stakes field after a win at the Pat Day Mile, which was part of the Kentucky Derby undercard. Fourth place finisher, Fellowship, is also leaning towards taking part in the second leg of the Triple Crown. The Mark Casse trainee finished third at the Holy Bull, Fountain of Youth and the Florida Derby before landing fourth at the Pat Day Mile.

New shooters are also expected for the race. Laoban and Cherry Wine were both slotted as alternates for the Kentucky Derby but never made the gate since all of the originally nominated horses made the call. Lexington Stakes winner, Collected, is also expected to enter the race after missing the derby. Uncle Lino will also likely enter after winning the California Chrome stakes. Awesome Speed is another probable for the 2016 Preakness Stakes field.

The mystery of the race seems to already be Stradivari, who won an allowance at Keeneland but has yet to compete in a stakes race.

“We’re very excited that the Derby winner and a couple others from the race are coming to the Preakness,” said Georgeanne Hale, racing secretary for the Maryland Jockey Club. “It looks like we’re going to have good field sizes and great weather. All 15 stakes Preakness weekend look to be coming together and right now it looks like two fantastic days of racing.”

The 2016 Preakness Stakes field will hit Pimlico Racecourse on May 21st in an attempt to derail Nyquist’s bid for the Triple Crown.

Collected Cashes in at Lexington Stakes

Trainer Bob Baffert Pointing Collected Towards Preakness

Collected was far the best Saturday at Keeneland, pulling away by four lengths to win the $150,000 Lexington Stakes. The Bob Baffert-trained 3-year old tracked the pace early and shifted into the four path entering the lane. He reeled in the leader One More Round entering the stretch before taking command swiftly and drawing off in the final stages to win by four lengths.

“What an impressive horse. He broke well out of the gate, and he wanted to dictate the pace today,” jockey Javier Castellano said.“ “Coming for home, I really liked his acceleration…The way he galloped out past the wire, I’m really impressed.”

Collected was the 2-1 second choice behind Swipe, and he finished the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.33. Collected paid $6.40, $4 and $3 for his fourth victory in six starts. The 40-1 long shot One More Round held on for second and returned $28.40 and $13.80, and Synchrony paid $5. The $2 exacta paid $164.80 and a $2 trifecta 10-1-5 returned $1,193.40.

After the race Collected’s connections said they were leaning toward the Preakness Stakes in five weeks for the City Zip colt.

“I think that would be the most-logical step given the distance,” owner Peter Fluor said of the Preakness. “We’ll see how he comes out, but that would be a thrill for us.” Collected received 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points for the victory, but he sits just outside the top-20 in the Derby points standings.

The all-time largest Lexington Stakes crowd of 38,863 was the third largest in history outside of Breeders’ Cup on a sun-drenched day at Keeneland.

Bob Baffert will prep Cupid for Arkansas

Bob Baffert Reflects on ‘Pharoah As Cupid Preps For Arkansas

Bob Baffert is a six-time winner at the Preakness Stakes and will go for his seventh this year with a bevy of horses in the Triple Crown mix. One of his top choices remains the unheralded Cupid, whom we haven’t seen that much in competition. Baffert is pointing Cupid down the same derby trail that American Pharoah did during last season.

American Pharoah won both the Rebel Stakes and the Arkansas Derby prior to becoming one of the greatest thoroughbreds in the history of the sport, and undoubtedly the best in the modern era. Cupid has already taken the Rebel Stakes, beating Whitmore and Creator, and will be the top consideration at one of the last major races prior to the Kentucky Derby. A field of 12-13 horses is probable for this weekend’s event.

Bob Baffert will also run Contender in the grade-three Lexington Stakes this weekend as well, and had him training out along with Cupid at Santa Anita. It was a strange moment for the trainer, who took a moment to reflect upon his post-Pharoah time.

“To see him [retire] was sad because it’s like watching your child leave. You think, ‘Is he going to be OK? Is he sleeping at night?'” The legendary Bob Baffert continued to recall the post partum effect after retiring American Pharoah. “We went through about 60 days where we were depressed about it, not being able to see him at the barn, but at the same time we have great memories. We got to be a part of it and my kids will be able to tell their kids about it when I’m gone. That [year] is part of their lives. It will always be remembered. It was tough when he left, but we’re always looking at those young 2-year-olds coming up. We always have our minds thinking about the future.”

Collected’s immediate future depends on how he runs at Lexington and while he won’t be in the running for the Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert wouldn’t rule out a run in the second leg of the Triple Crown. “If he were to run well, maybe we’d consider the Preakness for him, but we’re being realistic where distance is concerned for him,” he said.

Cupid remains one of Bob Baffert’s most intriguing entries in to the Triple Crown season. “He’s shown he’s different than a sprinter. He’s come around quickly since January. He’s really matured a lot. We knew he was a nice horse but [in the Rebel] he showed us something different. He can be a little bit of a handful like most Tapits, they can get a little bit excited, so we put a lot of work into him just to keep him relaxed and focused.”

Mor Spirit is still in contention, but is coming off a pair of frustrating runs at Santa Anita where he was bested by Exaggerator and Danzing Candy in subsequent derby prep races. Of the three, Cupid’s mystique continues to grow the most and bettors will be excited to see what he’s capable of at this weekend’s Arkansas Derby.

Even with some curious pathways leading up to the Triple Crown, one can never doubt the decisions of an accomplished trainer like Bob Baffert. That’s why Cupid and Mor Spirit will continue to generate heavy interest in a thick Kentucky Derby field.

Jockey Martin Garcia Rides 3 Stakes Winners Saturday

Martin Garcia Has Big Saturday Riding 3 Stakes Winners

In May of 2010, Martin Garcia rode the Bob Baffert trainee Lookin at Lucky to victory in the 135th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. This past Saturday, Garcia rode another potential Preakness entry to victory when Cupid claimed the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park.

Garcia followed the Cupid win with a pair of stakes wins at Sunland Park on Sunday. For his efforts and stakes wins, Garcia was honored with the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week award for March 14th – March 20th.

On Saturday at Oaklawn Park, Garcia helped Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert get his sixth victory since 2010 in the Rebel Stakes with Coolmore’s Cupid. Making just his fourth start, Cupid showed a lot of heart and found a late gear as he dueled with Whitmore alongside at the 1/8 pole. Cupid fought off Whitmore to win the 1 1/16 mile Derby prep in 1:43.84. As the second-choice favorite at 5/2, Cupid paid $7.80 to win in the 14-horse field.

“He (Cupid) showed a lot of ability and we know he can run. He really proved today that he is improving. The distance doesn’t matter, he can go as far as he wants.”

Sunland Park was the destination on Sunday where Garcia would once again go wire-to-wire in the $415,000 Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes aboard Collected. After breaking on top Collected won by two widening lengths as the even-money favorite and covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.90 on a fast track. Collected paid $4.20 to win.

“I used a little bit of horse at the start, but once we got the lead he was cruising,” Garcia said. “When I asked him to go, he responded nicely. I think we even saved something for his next race.”

Trainer Justin Evans and Garcia teamed up to win the $100,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes aboard Redneck Humor earlier on the Sunland Park Card. Redneck Humor went off at 5-1 and paid $11.60 to win.