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.


The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • 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 ...

    Full Bio >

More From Gene McLean