LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 1, 2019) – Each week, the NTRA will provide a guide to the best stakes races in North America and beyond. Races are listed in chronological order (all times Eastern). Full previews when available can be found through the link for each race.
This weekend’s slate of racing features a blockbuster 14-race program at Gulfstream Park that boasts nine graded-stakes worth $1.65 million in purses, highlighted by the 73rd running of the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes for 3-year-olds. The Fountain of Youth anchors a three-hour broadcast of “Fox Sports Saturday At The Races” from 3-6 p.m. presented by America’s Best Racing, Runhappy, and Claiborne Farm on FS2.
HRRN, official radio home of the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup World Championships, will be live at Gulfstream Park for coverage of the Fountain of Youth beginning at 4 p.m. ET. The show can be heard at SiriusXM channel 93 and can be accessed worldwide via live streaming at horseracingradio.net.
Saturday March 2
1:00 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park on TVG
Saturday’s Palm Beach will provide race fans a look at some up-and-coming stars when eight 3-year-olds go to post in the 1 1/16th-mile turf event with 3-year-olds entered from the barns of Bill Mott, Kiaran McLaughlin, David Fawkes and Mark Casse. One of the likely favorites with great potential is McLaughlin trainee A Thread of Blue who comes into the Palm Beach having won three of his last four starts, including the February 3 Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream by 3 ½ lengths.
1:30 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream Park on TVG
Hembree heads a field of seven entered for the one-mile Canadian Turf Stakes and enters off a victory over the Gulfstream Park turf course February 9 when he took the El Prado Stakes. The son of Proud Citizen also captured the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine last October prior to starting in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs.
2:00 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream Park on TVG
Veteran gelding Quijote, winner of the Sunshine Millions Sprint Stakes on January 19, seeks his first graded stakes victory against a field of seven challengers in the six-furlong test. Quijote defeated heavily favored graded stakes winner X Y Jet in the Sunshine Millions Sprint, drawing off to prevail by 3 ¾ lengths that day.
2:30 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 The Very One Stakes at Gulfstream Park on TVG
Stronach Stables’ homebred Holy Helena returns to the site of her first graded-stakes triumph and is attempting to become the first two-time winner of the $150,000 The Very One contested over 1 3/16-miles on the turf. After six starts over dirt and synthetic surfaces, including a victory in the 2017 Queen’s Plate, Holy Helena was moved to the turf by trainer Jimmy Jerkens last winter and responded with three straight victories, including two over the Gulfstream course.
3 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes at Gulfstream Park on TVG and FS2
Three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will saddle three of the eight entrants in the 1 1/16-miles turf race for 3-year-old fillies. Brown’s arsenal of Golconda (FR), Cambier Parc, and Connectivity face a group that includes My Gal Betty and Belle Laura, both of whom started in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last November.
4:30 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Honey Fox Stakes at Gulfstream Park on TVG and FS2
Epic Racing’s Valedictorian enters the one-mile Honey Fox on the turf off a gate-to-wire win in the Grade 3 Suwannee River on February 9 after previously finishing third in the Grade 3 Marshua’s River Stakes. The Todd Pletcher-trained Bellavais captured the Marshua’s River on January 12 to earn her first graded victory and seeks to further pad that resume as part of the 10-horse Honey Fox field.
5:01 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park on TVG and FS2
Cash is King and D.J. Stable’s Jaywalk, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2018, will have all eyes on her as she makes her highly anticipated sophomore debut against six challengers in the one-mile Davona Dale. Jaywalk, the 2-5 morning-line favorite, has not raced since stretching her win streak to four races with a 5 ½-length romp in the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November, cementing her Eclipse Award.
5:32 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 2 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on TVG and FS2
Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Hidden Scroll, an impressive winner of his lone career start, was installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite for the 1 1/16-miles Fountain of Youth Stakes, which will award a total of 85 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top 4 finishers. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Hidden Scroll made his career debut on the undercard of the January 26 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Championship at Gulfstream, going gate-to-wire to win the one-mile maiden special weight by 14 lengths in 1:34.82 over a sloppy, sealed track.
Vekoma, undefeated in two starts including the Grade 3 Nashua Stakes last out, is second choice on the morning line at 7-2. Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes winner Signalman is the third choice at 9-2.
6:06 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes at Gulfstream Park on TVG
R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable’s millionaire gelding Channel Maker seeks a return to his Grade 1-winning form as the horse to beat in the Mac Diarmida going 1 3/8-miles on the turf. Dating back to his final start in the fall of 2017, Channel Maker has faced Grade 1 company in nine of 10 races, the lone exception a dead-head victory with Eclipse Award finalist Glorious Empire in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes last summer at Saratoga Race Course. Two of those races during that span have come at Gulfstream, where he was fifth in both the 2018 Gulfstream Park Turf and inaugural $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational January 26.