Saturday Racing Picks: Saturday's Best Plays From Around The Country

TVG's Emily Shields previews the stakes action across the country this Saturday
Emily Shields
Sat, January 30, 11:23 AM

The 2021 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks trails are heating up with prep races across the country. Gulfstream Park hosts the Holy Bull, which is the second stepping stone en route to the Florida Derby (G1), and Santa Anita will have the Robert B Lewis, with only two more prep races before the Santa Anita Derby (G1). The Kentucky Oaks was once won by Rachel Alexandra, who before that used the Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park as a prep. There are a dozen stakes races across the country Saturday; nine of them are restricted to three-year-olds.

Santa Anita, Race 6 - $100,000 Robert B Lewis Stakes (G3) - Click here to bet with TVG

This could be the day that #1 Medina Spirit (5-2) defeats #8 Spielberg (7-2). The winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), Spielberg has been spotty so far, with just two wins in six starts for trainer Bob Baffert, despite being a $1 millino purchase. Medina Spirit has started just twice, and looked good gaining on Spielberg over a mile last out. #4 Hot Rod Charlie (3-1) was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) as a 94-1 shot.

Gulfstream Park, Race 6 - $100,000 Swale Stakes (G3) - Click here to bet with TVG

#1 Likeable (3-1) drops back in distance after breaking his maiden over a mile very impressively. The son of Frosted didn’t fare well in the Breeders’ Cup but the one turn should suit. This race is tough, with horses like #5 Drain the Clock (5-2) and #6 By George (2-1) coming off good, open-length wins. #4 Poppy’s Pride (4-1) has won four in a row. Longshot Play of the Day: #2 King’s Ovation (12-1) goes for trainer Dale Romans and broke his maiden at the distance.

Gulfstream Park, Race 9 - $100,000 Forward Gal Stakes (G3) - Click here to bet with TVG

Trainer Todd Pletcher could have a huge day, as he starts impressive maiden winner #7 Zaajel (7-5) in this spot. The daughter of Street Sense will have to contend with #3 Competitive Speed (8-1), who has won three in a row and gets better every start. #2 Three Tipsy Chix (5-1) is also on the improve and offers some value for trainer Ian Wilkes.

Gulfstream Park, Race 11 - $200,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) - Click here to bet with TVG

Nine sophomores will attempt to get Kentucky Derby points in this race. Trainer Pletcher has the two big shots with #6 Prime Factor (3-1), and #4 Amount (6-1). They both seem equally capable. Longshot Play: #5 Tarantino (8-1) tries dirt for the first time after winning two of three on the grass, and his pedigree suggests the switch will be no problem.

Oaklawn Park, Race 5 - $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes - Click here to bet with TVG

The one-mile race for sophomore fillies is a well-matched affair, but only #1 Joy’s Rocket 95-2) and #4 Will’s Secret (6-1) are coming off victories. #3 Coach (7-5) is the horse to beat after winning three in a row last year, then finishing third in Grade 2 company for trainer Brad Cox.

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