Now that the Breeders’ Cup is in the rear view mirror, many racing fans believe the season comes to an end. That is not the case. There are several key races left in the 2012 racing season in many divisions. So, what lies ahead?
2012 CLARK HANDICAP
The $400,000 Grade 1 race at Churchill Downs for three year olds and up males going 1 1/8 miles on the dirt is scheduled for November 23. The race is usually full of horses who did not participate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Time to time, you will see a trainer enter their horse off the quick three weeks turnaround. For example last year, Flat Out finished 5th in the Breeders Cup Classic and 3rd in the Clark just 20 days later. Ruler on Ice who ran 3rd in the Classic came back to finish 5th. Also, Headache returned to finish 6th in the Clark after a 12th and last place effort in the Classic.
It’s not clear at this point who will enter the Clark from those who ran in the Breeders Cup, but here is a list of other possible and probable entries:
Pool Play will most likely enter according to trainer Mark Casse. He’s the winner of the Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2) on October 6 and 8th place finisher in the Breeders Cup Classic.
Recent Ack Ack Handicap (G3) winner Neck ‘n Neck, trained by Ian Wilkes (Breeders Cup Classic winner Fort Larned)
Bourbon Courage, winner of the Super Derby (G2) at Louisiana Downs
Golden Ticket, dead-heat winner of the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga with Alpha in August.
Take Charge Indy, winner of the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park back in March. Missed almost six months after injuring himself in the Kentucky Derby. He came back to finish 3rd in the Fayette Stakes at Keeneland on October 27.
Mission Impazible hasn’t won a race this year in five tries, but has finished 2nd on three occasions. Most notably the New Orleans Handicap (G2) at Fair Grounds and Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream Park. He finished 2nd to Wise Dan in this race last year.
Middie is a four year old son of Officer who has won 3 of 9 races in 2012 including the Washington Park Handicap (G3) at Arlington Park on September 1.
Stealcase is the second of Casse trained horses that could enter the Clark. After winning the Ontario Derby (G3) at Woodbine, he finished 11th in the Indiana Derby and 3rd in the Ack Ack.
Cease, 3rd in the Woodward Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and 2nd in the Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2) on October 6.
Lunar Victory, trained by Bill Mott, has won six out of his last seven races including his latest the Empire Classic Stakes. None of them in graded company.
Eye of the Leopard has an Allowance win in in six races this year for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, but has missed the board in all four attempts in graded company.
2012 CIGAR MILE HANDICAP
The $350,000 Grade 1 race at Aqueduct for three year olds and up males going one mile on the dirt is scheduled for November 24. Possible entries for this race include:
Tapizar, the 15/1 upset winner of Breeders Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita.
Shackleford, the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) and Met Mile (G1) winner, a disappointing 7th place finish in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile.
Stay Thirsty, the three-time graded stakes winner bypassed the Classic and will most likely run for the last time in this race. He will retire and go to stud at Ashford in Kentucky.
Jersey Town, winner of the Kelso Handicap (G1) recently ran 5th in the BC Dirt Mile. He is the 2010 winner of this race.
Delegation, won of the Durham Cup Stakes (G3) at Woodbine on October 14 and finished 3rd place in the BC Dirt Mile.
2012 GAZELLE HANDICAP
The $350,000 Grade 1 race also at Aqueduct for three year olds fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the dirt is scheduled for November 24. Possible entries for this race include:
Believe You Can might make a return here. She has been out since June 23 when she finished 3rd in the Mother Goose at Belmont Park. She won the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Fair Ground Oaks (G1).
Disposablepleasure looks to go back to dirt after unsuccessful attempts on the grass and all weather. She has finished 2nd in the Mother Goose and Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2).
2012 MATRIARCH STAKES
The $250,000 Grade 1 race at BetFair Hollywood Park for fillies and mares three years old and up going one mile on the turf is scheduled for November 25. Possible entries for this race include:
Broken Dreams just won the Senator Ken Maddy Stakes (G3) on October 20 at Santa Anita. She also won the Osunitas Stakes at Del Mar in August.
Kindle is coming off a 2nd place effort in the Senator Ken Maddy Stakes (G3). She won the Bangles and Beads Stakes at Fairplex Park prior.
Halo Dolly won the Miss America Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on October 20, Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2) and Solana Beach Handicap at Del Mar, Alameda County Fillies and Mares Stakes at Pleasanton and Fran’s Valentine Stakes at BetFair Hollywood Park.
Byrama (GB) has won the Manhattan Beach Stakes and Unzip Me Stakes in 2012.
City to City finished 10th in the Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1), but has won the John C. Mabee Stakes (G2) and Buena Vista Handicap (G2) in 2012.
Dayatthespa is on a five race winning streak, all coming in 2012. The Chad Brown trained filly won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1), Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3) and Appalachian Stakes (G3).
Samitar, another Brown trained filly, finished 4th in the QEII and won the Garden City Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park in September. Not sure if either of these two will make the trip across the country.
2012 HOLLYWOOD DERBY
The $250,000 Grade 1 race at BetFair Hollywood Park for three years old male going 1 1/4 miles on the turf is scheduled for November 25. Possible entries for this race include:
Old Time Hockey might turn around quick after experiencing a rough trip in the Twilight Derby on November 2. He won the La Jolla Handicap (G2) at Del Mar in the Summer.
Smart Ellis finished 3rd in the Twilight Derby. He has yet to win a stakes race in 2012. He won an Allowance Optional Claiming $80,000 at Del Mar.
OTHER GRADED STAKES RACES & RESULTS
As we get closer to all of these races, we will have a better idea of who will enter, but at least you get an idea of what big races are on the horizon. There are several big races across the United States and Ontario between now and then. Click here to view which races and tracks.