Two Breeders' Cup Winners Clash in $300,000 Madison Stakes
On Saturday at Keeneland, the top class stakes action will continue with the $300,000 Madison Stakes. Scheduled to be run at seven furlongs, the Grade 1 event has drawn a stellar field of thirteen fillies and mares.
Stopchargingmaria, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Keeneland in the fall, has been tabbed as the morning line favorite at odds of 7-2 for trainer Todd Pletcher. A five-year-old daughter of Tale of the Cat, she has been on the board in thirteen of her sixteen starts and is trying to earn her tenth victory. She will be making her first start of the year and is coming into this race off of three consecutive bullet workouts. Javier Castellano will be aboard and they will break from post twelve.
Wavell Avenue training well off layoff
Second choice at morning line odds of 9-2 is fellow Breeders’ Cup champion, Wavell Avenue. Trained by Chad Brown, the five-year-old daughter of Harlington capped off her season last year with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1). She has won a total of six of her thirteen starts and has been training steadily for her return to the races. Julian Leparoux will be aboard and they will break from post position three.
Cavorting looks for a minor upset from the rail
Also in the race at morning line odds of 6-1 is Cavorting for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. A four-year-old daughter of Bernardini, she has won five of her nine starts and is a multiple graded stakes winner. After finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1), she closed out the year with a third-place finish in the La Brea Stakes (G1) and has been freshened since then. Jose Lezcano will be aboard from the inside post.
For all the negative buzz about Nyquist's average speed figures and vulnerability, the newly crowned and much-deserving 2016 Kentucky Derby winner might just have the most impeccable credentials of any Derby winner in the illustrious history of the race - and certainly in the modern era.
On Friday at Churchill Downs, the field has been set for the 142nd running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks. The Grade 1 event, carded at a mile and an eighth, has drawn a full field of fourteen three-year-old fillies with one listed as an also-eligible.
With the final round of Kentucky Derby preps in the books, it seems improbable, but arguable that the March 12 Tampa Derby was the most useful and review-worthy of the 24 official point-bearing races in 2016.