5 hours of national TV Saturday. Maggie at Fair Grounds
Exciting live racing from Aqueduct Racetrack, Fair Grounds and Tampa Bay Downs will comprise Saturday’s broadcast of America's Day at the Races, the acclaimed national telecast produced by the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) in partnership with FOX Sports.
Presented by America’s Best Racing and Claiborne Farm, America’s Day at the Races will air from 2:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Eastern on FS2, including four graded stakes from Fair Grounds, highlighted by the Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star for sophomores going 1 1/8 miles at the New Orleans-based track in Race 13 at 7:18 p.m. Eastern.
The Kentucky Derby prep race offers 50-20-10-5 qualifying points to the top-four finishers. Leading the charge is Grade 3 Lecomte-winner Midnight Bourbon for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Midnight Bourbon ran third in his only appearance in New York in the Grade 1 Champagne on October 10 that closed out his juvenile campaign. He started his 3-year-old bow with a one-length win going 1 1/16-mile in the Lecomte on January 16 at Fair Grounds.
Proxy, the runner-up to Midnight Bourbon in that contest, will get the chance to turn the tables for trainer Michael Stidham, while Lecomte third-place finisher Mandaloun will also look to improve for trainer Brad Cox.
The Risen Star is the last of four consecutive graded stakes at Fair Grounds and five stakes overall, which starts with the Albert M. Stall Memorial for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up going 1 1/16 miles on the turf in Race 9 at 5:12 p.m.
The broadcast’s graded stakes portion commences with the Grade 3, $200,000 Mineshaft for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles in Race 10 at 5:44 p.m. Maxfield, a perfect 4-for-4, will look to stay unbeaten for trainer Brendan Walsh after closing his sophomore year with a win in the Tenacious in December at Fair Grounds following victories in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity and the Grade 3 Matt Winn.
Wells Bayou, who ran third in the Grade 3 Louisiana last month in his first start since running in the 2020 Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, will be seeking his first win in 11 months for Cox. Chess Chief, who ran off the board in the 2019 Grade 1 Runhappy Travers at Saratoga will also go for trainer Dallas Stewart.
Rounding out the undercard for Risen Star is the Grade 3, $150,000 Fair Grounds in Race 11 at 6:16 p.m. that will see 4-year-olds and up go 1 1/8 miles and feature a formidable duo by Cox in Factor This and Set Piece. Factor This has netted triple digit Beyer Speed Figures four times in his career, including a 110 for his win in the Grade 2 Dinner Party on Preakness Day, October 3, at Pimlico. The English-bred Set Piece has won three of his five starts since arriving from Europe last year.
Race 12 at Fair Grounds showcases the Grade 2, $300,000 Rachel Alexandra for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles in a contest offering 50-20-10-5 qualifying points to the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. Post time is 6:47 p.m.
Souper Sensational, a $725,000 purchase in 2019 and trained by Hall of Famer Mark Casse, will make her graded stakes debut and seeks her second stakes win overall after capturing the Glorious Song in October at Woodbine.
NYRA paddock analyst Maggie Wolfendale will be reporting live on-site from Fair Grounds.
Tampa Bay Downs will offer the $100,000 Pelican for 4-year-olds and up going six furlongs in Race 9 at 4:19 p.m. Cool Arrow, winner of the Grade 3 Smile Spirit in September at Gulfstream Park, will seek more stakes blacktype.
Aqueduct will host a nine-race card with a first post time of 1 p.m. America’s Day at the Races will broadcast races 5-through-9.
America’s Day at the Races will broadcast 13.5 hours of racing coverage and analysis over the holiday weekend on FS2.
Stakes action from Aqueduct on Sunday will include the $100,000 Gander, a one-turn mile for New York-bred sophomores led by a pair of top contenders in Perfect Munnings and Uno for trainer Todd Pletcher. Top-flight stakes action on Monday’s special Presidents’ Day card at the Big A will feature the $100,000 Hollie Hughes, a six-furlong sprint for state-breds 4-years-old and up.