No graded stakes happen this week. But although North American thoroughbred racing shows no graded events, it doesn’t mean there is no stakes racing action at all. On Saturday, Gulfstream Park runs the Sunshine Sprint and the Sunshine Classic, Tampa Bay Downs runs a couple of races with a $125,000 purse for each, the Pasco and the Gasparilla, and then at Santa Anita the Cal Cup Oaks and the Cal Cup Derby happen.
Horse Racing Odds & Picks January 10th Edition
Top Stakes Races for the Week
- When: Saturday, Jan. 15
- Sunshine Sprint – 6 furlongs dirt – $75,000
8 runners are likely to enter the starting gate. Gatsby, trained by Carlos David, is likely to go off the chalk. Boca Boy from the Cheryl Winebaugh barn, Antonio Sano trained Lugamo, and connections for Cajun Brother, Legal Deal, Rough Entry, Cool Quest, and Pudding are all pointing to the Sunshine Sprint.
- Sunshine Classic – 1 1/8 miles dirt – $75,000
As of Monday, only Big Venezuela, Hercules, and Glory of Florida are confirmed for the Sunshine Classic. Rumor has it, top Florida trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. will enter at least one runner in Saturday’s top event at Gulfstream. Expect the Saffie Joseph runner, no matter which horse he enters, to go off the chalk.
Tampa Bay Downs
- Pasco Stakes – 7 furlongs dirt – $125,000
Restricted to 3-year-olds, trainer Todd Pletcher hopes to put last out maiden winner Provocateur on the Derby trail with a Pasco victory. Provocateur could go off at odds-on based on how he dominated in the maiden score. Cattin, trained by Ralph Nicks, and Cyberviking from the Jose Delgado barn will also attract action. Gold Special, Grand Valley, Markhamian, Old Town Road, and Magical Mousse should also enter the gate.
- Gasparilla Stakes – 7 furlongs dirt – $125,000
It will be difficult for any horse to beat Outfoxed. The Bill Mott trained runner has won her last couple of races, both stakes. The top challenger could be last out maiden winner Ha’ Penny from the Joseph Orseno barn. Strategic Bird, trained by Mark Casse, won the Sandpiper in her last and has a big shot. Dame Joviale, Divine Charger, Platinum Gem, and Chasing Happiness also figure to enter.
Santa Anita Park
- California Cup Oaks – 1 mile turf – $200,000
10 runners should contest the 1 mile California Cup Oaks. The top contenders come from the Soviet Problem Stakes. Professors’ Pride and Big Novel finished 1-2 in the Soviet Problem. Fifth place finisher Dendera and Munny Penny, who lost all chance after getting bumped in the Soviet Problem Stakes, should also attract betting dollars. Ellamira, a daughter of Street Boss, won the Golden Gate Debutante in her last.
- California Cup Derby – 1 1/6 miles dirt – $200,000
Just four horses, Straight Up G, Agador Spartacus, Highland Ghost, and Finneus are confirmed to run in the California Cup Derby. Expect plenty of other contenders, including at least one from the Bob Baffert barn. So don’t start handicapping until the draw.
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