From Colonial Downs to Belmont, from the turf to the dirt, this is one of the year's top weekends for horse racing. Find a simulcast center and take a seat. Here's the menu:
At Belmont Park today, Skip Away meets his old nemeses Will's Way and Formal Gold -- as well as Editor's Note and Pacific Fleet -- in the $500,000 Grade I Woodward Stakes at 1 1/8 miles.
The centerpiece of Belmont's Super Stakes Weekend, the Woodward was won last year by Cigar. It was the final victory for the beloved Maryland-bred, who retired at the end of the year.
The $250,000 Grade I Ruffian Handicap at 1 1/16 miles and $150,000 Grade II Jerome Handicap at one mile will also be contested today at Belmont.
Tomorrow at Belmont, Maryland-breds Awad and Ops Smile tangle in the $400,000, Grade I Man o' War at 1 3/8 miles on the turf. Two-year-old colts and fillies meet in the twin $150,000 Grade I one-mile events, the Futurity and the Matron Stakes.
At Woodbine this afternoon, Gentlemen, the No. 1-ranked thoroughbred in North America and a leading candidate for Horse of the Year, prepares for the Breeders' Cup Classic in the $500,000 Grade I Woodbine Mile on the turf. Although Gentlemen is a star on the dirt, he is also a standout on turf, winning five of seven.
At the Meadowlands tonight, about 10: 35, Touch Gold continues his quest for Horse of the Year in the $1 million Grade II Buick Pegasus Handicap. Winner of the Belmont Stakes and Haskell Invitational, Touch Gold faces three other top 3-year-olds in the 1 1/8 -mile test: Anet, Behrens and Frisk Me Now.
In an earlier race at the Meadowlands, American Champ can claim the lead for owner Arthur Appleton and trainer Robert W. Camac in the overall standings of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships (MATCH). American Champ races in the $50,000 six-furlong Bergen County Stakes.
At Delaware Park today, three 2-year-old fillies from Maryland stables compete in the 11-horse, $50,000 Blue Hen Stakes. One, the undefeated Cheap Digs, is brought to you by the team that produced Captain Bodgit: owner Phyllis Susini and trainer Gary Capuano. Frank Douglas would be riding, except that he is sidelined and undergoing therapy -- and continuing to improve -- after his serious spill last month at Timonium.
At Colonial Downs in southern Virginia, two stakes are set this afternoon, including the $100,000 Safely Kept. The Grade III, six-furlong sprint features shippers from Kentucky, New Jersey, Illinois and Louisiana -- as well as the Maryland competitor Weather Vane.
Tomorrow, Charles Town in West Virginia stages its richest day of races: the West Virginia Breeders Classic -- six races for West Virginia-bred, -sired or -raised horses. Post time is 1 p.m.
Not that this has a thing to do with horse racing -- other than subsidizing it -- slot machines are now operating at Charles Town.
NOTE: Colonial Downs has changed post time Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 1 p.m. Jim Peterson, track president, said the later posts were causing Colonial Downs to miss out-of-state simulcasts. Friday post time remains 6 p.m.
Pub Date: 9/20/97