All eyes will be on last year's champion fillies, Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta, as they both make their 2010 debuts on Saturday. While the Steve Asmussen-trained Rachel Alexandra is set to race in the ungraded New Orleans Ladies Stakes at the Fair Grounds (approx. post time 6:15 e.t.), Zenyatta has her sights set on the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Handicap at Santa Anita. The John Shirreffs-trained Zenyatta will carry 127 lbs., conceding up to 19 lbs. to her opponents, which include Striking Dancer, Floating Heart and Pretty Unusual. The Santa Margarita is 1 1/8 miles on the Pro-Ride surface; the scheduled post-time is 6:40 e.t.
Also, on Saturday's card at Santa Anita is the G2 San Felipe, a Derby prep at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. The line-up appears familiar with the first three finishers from the Feb. 13 G2 Robert B. Lewis in action again—Caracortado, Dave In Dixie and American Lion.
The other Derby prep of interest is the G2 Rebel at Oaklawn Park. Shipping in from California is 2009 2-year-old champion Lookin at Lucky, who will be making his 2010 bow for trainer Bob Baffert and regular rider Garrett Gomez. Others in the 1 1/16-mile Rebel with possible Kentucky Derby aspirations are Noble's Promise, Cardiff Giant and Dublin. Three-year-old fillies are in the spotlight in the G3 Honeybee, also 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. Heading the field is Decelerator, a stakes winner at Oaklawn on Feb. 13. Brereton Jones's homebred No Such Word and Beautician, runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, are entered as well.
Tampa Bay Downs will host a 12-race card on Saturday which includes three graded stakes. Eclipse winner She Be Wild will try to avenge her fifth-place finish in the Forward Gal in the G3 Florida Oaks (1 1/16 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies). The G3 Hillsborough, for older females at 1 1/8 miles on turf showcases Mushka, the favorite at 5-2 on the morning line, Lady Shakespeare, and Tottie, who is undefeated in two U.S. starts. The Tampa Bay Derby (G3) has a contentious 7-horse field headed by slight favorite Super Saver. Making his 2010 debut here, the Todd Pletcher trainee last won the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs by five lengths in November.
The Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) at one mile on the dirt for older horses will take place Saturday at the South Florida racetrack of the same name. The morning line favorite is This Ones for Phil, from Rick Dutrow's barn. He will face two entries from Kiaran McLaughlin's shedrow—Grasshopper and Past the Point, as well as Harlem Rocker (Todd Pletcher) and Cool Coal Man (Nick Zito).
Sunday's Gulfstream program features the G2 Inside Information, a seven-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares on the main track. The top four finishers of last month's Hurricane Bertie return for Inside Information. Kays and Jays was the winner of the 6 1/2-furlong Hurricane Bertie, who outfinished Tar Heel Mom, Warbling and Pretty Prolific.
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