This Saturday sees the running of the premier race of the Indiana Grand race schedule, with the running if the Grade 3 Indiana Derby.
Stopchargingmaria Returns to Action in $350,000 Madison Stakes
The stakes action from opening weekend at Keeneland will kick off with the 14th running of the $350,000 Madison Stakes. The Grade 1 race, carded at seven-furlongs, has drawn a field of six fillies and mares.
Stopchargingmaria tops the field as the morning line favorite at odds of 5-2 for trainer Todd Pletcher. A four-year-old daughter of Tale of the Cat purchased for $220,000 as a juvenile by Mike Repole, she has won six of her eleven starts. She will be making her first start since finishing second as the favorite in the Beldame (G1) in September and has been training sharply for her return to the races. John Velazquez will be aboard from post position three.
Lady Sabelia seeking fifth straight win
Second choice at 3-1 on the morning line is Lady Sabelia for trainer Robin Graham. A five-year-old daughter of Majestic Warrior, she has won her last four starts and comes into this race off of a score over nine rivals in the Barbara Fritchie Handicap (G2) at Laurel last time out. That was the first graded stakes win of her career. Since then, she has had a bullet workout and will have Horacio Karamanos aboard from post position four.
Wedding Toast rounding back to stakes form
Also in the field at morning line odds of 4-1 is Wedding Toast for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. A five-year-old daughter of Street Sense, she returned to the races off of an extended layoff in January after competing only once in 2014. Her comeback race was a winning effort and she was third as the favorite in the Rampart (G3) last time out. Jose Lezcano, aboard for both starts this year, will be in the irons from post position two.
Players looking to create betting value in the 2016 Preakness May 21 at Pimlico face a familiar dilemma in horse racing: create value underneath the heavy favorite or decide whether the heavy favorite is beatable for the top spot.
On Thursday at Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby week festivities will begin with the $100,000 Kentucky Juvenile Stakes. The five-furlong contest has drawn a field of nine two-year-olds.
Likely a top three betting choice in the Kentucky Derby, Santa Anita Derby winner Exaggerator is a bit of a puzzling case as handicappers begin the process of sorting out contenders in the weeks leading up to the big race.