There is a lot of racing on Saturday, which includes 11 stakes races in the US. The $250,000 Withers Stakes (Gr. 3) at Aqueduct Racetrack and $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (Gr. 3) at Tampa Bay Downs are the feature races of the day. They are both prep races with ten points going to the winner of each race. Elsewhere, Santa Anita Park has a couple of $200,000 stakes races out west in California.
We are all awaiting the $20,000,000 Saudi Cup in a couple of weeks from King Abdulaziz Equestrian Field in Saudi Arabia. This event doesn’t get much coverage in the US, but it’s the richest race of all-time. According to the likely runner list, we’re going to have 13 countries represented and 15 Grade 1 winners in the race. A showdown between Charlatan and Knicks Go is what I’m looking forward to the most.
We will open the day on Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Fair Grounds has ten races on the schedule for a total of $462,000 in prize money. No stakes racing, but there are some big races on the docket. Head below for our free Fair Grounds Race Course picks for February 6, 2021.
Post Time: 1:58 p.m. CST
Distance:7 ½ Furlongs
We will start going at Fair Grounds with Race 3, a 7 ½ event on the turf for a $51,000 purse. There is a chance of rain in the forecast, so this will move to the main track if the grass is too flooded. If we stay on the turf, I like what I see from Declarationwarrior and More Than Unusual.
Declarationwarrior is looking for a bounce-back spot after struggling to find traction in her most recent showing. She finished 10th on December 27 in a $47,000 assignment after going 1st and 3rd prior to that entry. Declarationwarrior beat Duchess of Sussex by 1 ¼ lengths in an impressive effort at the $50,000 level on January 19.
Nice win for Declarationwarrior and it springboarded him to a Grade 3 race in the $150,000 Herecomesthebride (Gr. 3) on February 29. Something went amiss for Declarationwarrior in her last outing for 10th in a $47,000 race. More Than Unusual is 1 for 5 in her career, and showed nice form since finishing 4th as a rookie on June 11.
Note that More Than Unusual has placed in the top-2, with a win, in her previous four outings. She defeated Too Sexy by a head for a $90,000 purse in an impressive run on September 7. She went stakes racing in her latest outing on December 26 in a $75,000 event in the Tropical Park Oaks. More Than Unusual just missed out by 2 ¼ lengths. Down in class on Saturday, expect More Than Unusual to hang tough deep in the stretch.
Post Time: 3:25 p.m. CST
Race 6 carries a $51,000 purse for 6 furlongs of racing on the dirt. Look for Echoesoftime and Strong Beauty to stand above the rest in this race. Echoesoftime hasn’t been going anywhere lately, but should do much better on these terms on Saturday.
She finished 7th in back-to-back outings on July 4 in the $60,000 Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle Stakes, and then struggled again on July 29 in a $35,000 optional claiming race for $35,000. That prompted a break for Echoesoftime. Those two races were following a win on March 6, so the sudden drop in production was a concern.
In a couple of workouts prepping for Saturday, Echoesoftime completed 5 furlongs in 1:02.00. If Echoesoftime reverts to old form, then a win is going to be within reach. However, returning to the track with the same form in July won’t go well. Strong Beauty has gone 2nd, 5th, 2nd in her previous three entries.
She is 2 for 7 in her career, with a couple of wins on December 12, 2019 and February 5, 2020. In her latest outing, Strong Beauty placed 2nd behind Play Unified by a neck in a $55,000 event. That was a nice effort and gave a quality horse a run for her money. I would support Strong Beauty at this level.
Post Time: 4:23 p.m. CST
Distance:1 Mile 70 Yards
Race 8 is a $55,000 race covering a mile and 70 yards on the dirt. We’re shortlisting the horses on opposite ends of the gate, with Martinized and Everlovinghand likely in a good spot to strike in the stretch. Martinized is winless in three attempts, finishing 6th, 3rd, 6rd in a few disappointments to begin his career.
He’s capable of doing much better, so we can’t ignore him yet. Martinized showed 3rd on December 28 in the best performance of his career for a $42,000 purse. He followed up and struggled recently on January 21 in a $45,000 event, finishing 6th as the second favorite on the board. Not good enough, but he has the talent to get going at any point.
Everlovinghand has finished 4th and 2nd to open his career. He showed nice improvement in his most recent appearance after going 4th on December 12 in his debut. Everlovinghand placed 2nd behind Gallant Star by 3 ¾ lengths in a $50,000 race on January 9 to show nice kick in the stretch, but ran out of room at the wire. I will give Everlovinghand the upper hand in this one.