Big Racing Week Ahead: Oaklawn Park Opens the Gates / Smarty Jones Stakes on Tap / Huge Weekend at Gulfstream Park

(Gray Attempt — winning the Sugar Bowl at the Fair Grounds in his last out — is entered in the Smarty Jones Stakes this week at Oaklawn Park / Hodges Photography & Courtesy of the Fair Grounds)

Just got a nudge from my great friend Ed DeRosa over at — the only place you need to go for all of your handicapping needs and tools. He was snapping his fingers just loud enough to remind us here that a huge week of racing is approaching.

In addition to the fun in the sun down at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans — which will be highlighted, no doubt, by the racing debut of our very own Seek N Justice on Sunday — the gates will open on the 2019 race meet at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.

And, the weekend’s richest races will be hosted at Gulfstream Park down in South Florida. The Pegasus World Cup has now been divided into two divisions — one on the dirt and the other on the grass. Both should be fantastic racing events.

Here’s what we have for you:

Big week of racing coming up! Oaklawn opens on Friday and with it the Smarty Jones Stakes offers some Kentucky Derby points races

Smarty Jones PPs:

America’s richest races are Saturday at Gulfstream Park, and the fields are coming into focus. Here are contender PPs for both the turf and main track races:

Let’s get it started.


(Well Defined) has a ton of natural talent and I was going to take advantage of that today,” Morales explained. “I wasn’t too worried about where I was going to be because we were really lucky with the draw position on the outside, so I figured I was going to ride a cool race.

“The horse is naturally fast and has a super-long stride, so I was going to come out running, but if somebody wanted to take the lead, I was OK with that,” Morales said. No one did, and he stretched the lead to three lengths from Knicks Go up the backstretch.

“All I wanted to do was ride a cool and collected race and keep my horse running,” Morales said. “I didn’t feel like I was going that fast at all, and my horse was going as comfortable as he possible could.

“I knew he was doing it relaxed and very much on his own. I had a lot of horse going into the second turn, so I figured I was going to ask him a little more and not wait for them to get me. If they were going to catch me, they were really going to have to come running.”

  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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