1) CLIMBING THE EVEREST
The world’s richest turf race will be held at Royal Randwick in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday. The A$13 million TAB Everest will host a dozen of the top turf sprinters in training for the feature, led by defending champ Redzel.
2) ALMOND EYE AIMS FOR SWEEP IN SHUKA SHO
Japanese star Almond Eye will aim to become the fifth lass to take all three legs of the Filly Triple Crown at Kyoto Racecourse on Sunday. The 10-furlong Shuka Sho (Jpn-G1) attracts a big field of 18, including eight who are sired by the legendary Deep Impact. The brilliant Gentildonna was the most recent filly to achieve the feat in 2012.
3) QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP TAKES CENTER STAGE AT KEENELAND
Eight of the leading three-year-old turf fillies are set to travel 1 1/8 miles in Saturday’s $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland. Once-beaten standout Rushing Fall faces a strong field including Grade 1 vixen Capla Temptress and Del Mar Oaks (G1) queen Fatale Bere, as well as European imports Mission Impassible and Nyaleti.
4) OHIO-BRED RUNNERS STAR AT THISTLEDOWN
Five $150,000 stakes races for Ohio-bred horses top a huge Saturday at Thistledown. The “Best of Ohio Series” is the most lucrative day of racing at the North Randall, Ohio, venue. The Distaff, Endurance, Juvenile, Sprint and John Galbreath will be in the limelight on Saturday.
5) GREAT BETTING RACE AWAITS IN CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL
Woodbine will play host to a fine Saturday of turf racing action. Leading the way is the C$800,000 Canadian International (Can-G1). An excellent field of 11 will go 1 1/2 miles on the massive turf course. Trainer Chad Brown will saddle a lively pair, and his main domestic rivals will be two-time Northern Dancer Turf (Can-G1) winner Johnny Bear and Manhattan (G1) star Spring Quality. Imports joining that quartet include Thundering Blue, Khan and Desert Encounter.
6) E. P. TAYLOR TOPS WOODBINE UNDERCARD
The Canadian International is far from the only big event at Woodbine on Saturday. A trio of accompanying graded events will be on the card, with the C$500,000 E. P. Taylor Stakes (Can-G1) as the centerpiece. Also on the huge card is the C$250,000 Nearctic Stakes (Can-G2) and the C$125,000 Ontario Derby (Can-G3).
7) TURF STAKES FEATURED AT BELMONT
Two turf stakes races will top the Saturday card at Belmont Park. Sophomore fillies will travel one mile on the green in the $200,000 Pebbles Stakes. Mark Casse’s exciting Got Stormy takes top billing, but she faces unknowns in European invaders Victorine and Stella di Camelot. The undercard is topped by an overflow field in the $100,000 Floral Park Stakes at six furlongs on the inner turf.
8) STAKES A PLENTY AT CHARLES TOWN
An all-stakes nine-race card is set for Saturday at Charles Town. West Virginia-breds comprise the action with a total of $950,000 in total purses on the line. The topper is the $300,000 West Virginia Breeders’ Classic Stakes, which drew a cast of 10. North Atlantic and Weekend Liberty, the respective second and third-place finishers of the race in 2017, will tussle with the surging Runnin’toluvya for the favorite’s role.
9) WIDE OPEN AFFAIR AWAITS IN DISTAFF
A field of 11 fillies and mares will run five furlongs on the Santa Anita Park lawn Saturday in the $100,000 California Distaff Handicap. The Cal-bred feature lacks star quality, though the turf dash could be among the most competitive betting options of the weekend.
10) MY BEST BET OF THE WEEKEND
The 7TH Race at Keeneland on Saturday is for juvenile colts running seven furlongs on the main strip. Second timer Bourbon Calling (#10) (9-2) did enough on debut in a solid field to get the nod for conditioner Ian Wilkes. The $120,000 son of Dialed In was a nice third at Churchill Downs and figures to improve well with one under his belt. The 9-2 morning-line is appealing, too.