Week of November 22, 2010
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

The last big weekend of the year is upon us, with 6 Grade 1 and 17 graded races in total, Thanksgiving weekend is shaping up to be a decent last hurrah before the 2011 Kentucky Derby trail picks up in the beginning of the year. Because there is no official racing season, you’ll still be able to enjoy plenty of racing at tracks such as Aqueduct, Calder, Fairgrounds, Portland Meadows, Santa Anita and Tampa Bay Downs to name a few. In next week’s post we’ll list this year’s remaining stakes races in the Upcoming Races section.

In addition to the slowdown in racing, another bittersweet part of the year is the spate of retirements. Some were expected while others were an unpleasant surprise. Zenyatta, Blame, Quality Road and Forever Together were all somewhat anticipated while Lookin at Lucky was not. Other recently announced retirements include Mine That Bird, who will have a farewell ceremony at Churchill this weekend, Warrior’s Reward and The Pamplemousse.

This weekend was the unofficial kick-off of the 2011 Kentucky Derby trail with the slots rich Delta Downs Jackpot ensuring the winner a spot in the starting gate. The $1 million purse is the second richest race for 2-year-olds behind the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and pays the winner $600,000. This year’s first and second place finishers were both longshots and Florida breds. Gourmet Dinner at 20-1 and Decisive Moment at 45-1 produced massive payouts with a $2 exacta $759.80 and a $2 trifecta paying $9,738.40 (watch the replay). While it’s far too early to speculate on Gourmet Dinner’s Derby chances, or even if this performance was simply a fluke, it’s worth noting that this year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Awesome Feather and Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Big Drama are both Florida breds. Big Drama also won the Jackpot in 2008.

Coming up at the site this week we’ll take a look at Ten Things You Should Know about the Cigar Mile and we might even do picks for some of the weekend action! At Raceday 360 Wire you can keep up with all the commentary and debate about Horse of the Year and the ongoing discussion about Zenyatta. People also haven’t stopped talking about Life at Ten either… stop by and keep up with all the conversations this week!

Last Week’s Races

Discovery Handicap

Hollywood Prevue Stakes

Graded Stakes Races This Week

Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker

See you at the track!

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Elsewhere of Interest