The next two weeks historically have been for us to debate whether the Kentucky Derby winner has a shot of Triple Crown glory, but in this crazy year horseplayers are just ready for the betting menu to expand, and it’s coming.
With the closing of Oaklawn Park, we are now down to just Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream Park among major thoroughbred tracks. Of course we have a steady diet of Fonner Park and Will Rogers Downs to keep us busy early in the week.
However, in the next couple of weeks we should have several major tracks back in action along with several nighttime tracks.
Churchill Downs, which had to move the Kentucky Derby until Sept. 5 announced the spring meeting would get underway on Saturday, May 16.
After the opening weekend, racing under the Twin Spires will be conducted Thursdays through Sundays with a special holiday Monday card on Memorial Day, May 25. Closing day of the 26-day meet is Saturday, June 27. There will be no spectators allowed unless guidelines from the state change.
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The highlight of the meeting comes on closing day. The feature is the $500,000 Stephen Foster (G2) for four-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles, the $200,000 Fleur de Lis (G2) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles, the $100,000 Regret (G3) for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf and the $100,000 Bashford Manor (G3) for two-year-olds at six furlongs.
The $150,000 Matt Winn (G3) on May 23 has been added as a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race. The race will be worth 10-4-2-1 points toward entry into the Run for the Roses.
Santa Anita Ready to Go
Santa Anita has not received the official go ahead to resume racing yet, but the racetrack has released a condition book with racing set to start on May 15 with clearance from local officials.
The big day during the meeting is June 6 which will feature the $200,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G2), $400,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1), and the $300,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1).
Memorial Day will feature a trio of graded stakes—the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile (G1), the $300,000 Gamely Stakes (G1) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles, and the $200,000 Monrovia Stakes (G2) at 5 1/2 furlongs for fillies and mares.
Nighttime Racing Returns in West Virginia
It looks as if both Charles Town and Mountaineer Park will be in action before the end of the month. Charles Town plans to open for racing on May 14. Mountaineer Park is scheduled to start racing on May 31. Both tracks run at night.
The NYRA has submitted a proposal to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and hopes to be back up and running at Belmont Park as early as May 22.
The big questions is Saratoga, which is set to run from July 16 to Sept. 7. It seems doubtful fans will be able to attend, but the NYRA plan is to race without spectators at the premier meeting on the racing calendar in New York.
Delaware Park plans on running starting on May 27, and we could see racing at Lone Star Park, Canterbury Park and Presque Isle Downs in late May or early June.
Monmouth Park is still slated to kick off the summer meeting on July 3 and the Del Mar meeting is scheduled to start on July 18.
Golden Gate Fields announced that they will resume racing on May 14.