This weekend's racing action features a pair of Grade 3 events on Saturday, featuring the return of multiple graded stakes winner Irish War Cry in the G3 Hal's Hope at Gulfstream Park. The Graham Motion trainee will face a tough bunch in the one mile contest, including Malagacy for trainer Todd Pletcher and Economic Model for trainer Chad Brown. Another interesting entrant is the New York-bred Send It In, also trained by Pletcher, who is making his first start in Florida and first start in about 10 months; last out, send it in won the G3 Excelsior at Aqueduct in April of 2017.
The G3 Daytona Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday is a 6 1/2-furlong downhill turf dash at the Great Race Place. A trio of Peter Miller trainees have the upper hand in this spot, including Stormy Liberal, Calculator, and Conquest Tsunami.
In listed stakes action, Sam Houston is offering the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup on Saturday evening. The nine-furlong test has drawn a field of six, led by Ken McPeek trainee Blueridge Traveler.
Additionally, the $100,000 Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park on Sunday serves as a non-points offering local prep for the Sunland Derby. A field of nine sophomores will line up to go 1 1/16 miles, including a pair of Steve Asmussen trainees named Reride and Beautiful Game.
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