OTB Race Previews & Odds
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The $300,000 Grade 1 Santa Margarita Stakes went down at Santa Anita on Saturday. In a small field of five older fillies and mares it was 11-10 favorite Joyful Victory that finally broke through in a Grade 1 event and secured the victory by a somewhat easy four lengths over 2-1 second choice More Chocolate and Brushed by a Star.
Perhaps the biggest graded stakes race of the weekend took place on Saturday at Oaklawn Park - the $600,000 Grade 2 Rebel Stakes for three year old Kentucky Derby hopefuls raced for the very nice first place prize and the 50 qualifying points on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby".
The $100,000 Grade 3 Las Flores Stakes went down at Santa Anita Park on Sunday for older fillies and mares. It was Rumor that posted the upset victory for her first ever graded stakes score for trainer Richard Mandella by a half length over 4-5 favorite Teddy's Promise.
The $300,000 Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Handicap went down Saturday at Gulfstream Park. It was an incident marred race in which the 4-5 favorite Breeders' Cup Classic winner Fort Larned stumbled at the start, dropped his jockey and was declared a non-finisher.
In the $150,000 Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, 3-2 favorite, Todd Pletcher trained Old Tune made it two straight wins at Tampa Bay Downs with a wire-to-wire victory by 1 1/4 lengths. 7-2 second choice Forces of Darkness, making her U.S. debut, rallied up the hedge for second by a head over Mystical Star.
In the $300,000 Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, two favorites to contend for this year's Kentucky Derby were upset by 6-1 third choice Hear the Ghost in his first ever start beyond six furlongs. Bob Baffert's Flashback off a convincing win in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes finished second as the even money favorite while 2-1 second choice, Doug O'Neill's Goldencents was third.
Todd Pletcher trained 2-5 heavy favorite Verrazano let the world know why he is one of the early Kentucky Derby contenders Saturday with a decisive three length score in the $350,000 Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs.
The $150,000 Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes was run at Gulfstream Park on Sunday, March 3. 2-1 second choice Rydilluc was mighty impressive in running away from the 11 horse field by 3 1/2 lengths.
Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida hosted an 11 horse field in the $150,000 Grade 3 Swale Stakes on Saturday. Clearly Now at 7-1 odds came out on top over 50-1 long shot Singanothersong.
In one of three Grade 1 races on Santa Anita's impressive Saturday card, 2011 Eclipse Award winner as juvenile filly Beholder was much the best in the field of seven for the $250,000 Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes.
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