8 Things to Look Forward To in March

8 Things to Look Forward To in March

© Benoit Photo

One of the greatest things about horse racing is that there’s always lots to look forward to–with so many races and so many horses, there’s always another great race just around the corner! Here are eight things to look forward to during the month of March…

1. Songbird’s Second Race of 2016–The immensely talented champion two-year-old filly of 2015 started off this season with a win in the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. II) last month and will start off the new month with a bang when she runs in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita on March 5th. Can she keep her unbeaten record intact and solidify her status as the favorite for the Kentucky Oaks?

2. A Wide-Open Renewal of the Santa Anita Handicap–With many of the nation’s top older horses heading to Dubai for the Dubai World Cup, this year’s Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) on March 12th could be a wide-open race without a clear-cut favorite. Effinex, runner-up in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic, could be among the favorites, with Eagle, Imperative, and Itsaknockout among the other prominent nominees.

3. The Return of Brody’s Cause–The 2015 Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) winner Brody’s Cause is considered to be a major Kentucky Derby contender, and the Dale Romans-trained colt is expected to make his 2016 debut in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) on March 12th. How will he have progressed during the winter? We’ll find out this month!

4. A Showdown in the San Felipe Stakes–The third of Santa Anita’s four Kentucky Derby prep races is expected to feature a stellar field led by Mor Spirit, Smokey Image, Exaggerator, and Danzing Candy. One thing is for certain, the hierarchy of California’s Derby contenders will shift after the San Felipe is run on March 12th.

5. The Return of Untapable–The 2014 champion three-year-old filly Untapable could have easily been retired following a respectable 2015 campaign, but instead, she’s been kept in training for another year and will make her much-anticipated 2016 debut in the Azeri Stakes (gr. II) on March 19th at Oaklawn Park. Here’s hoping that she’ll have another great year!

6. The Dubai World Cup–The richest day of racing in the world will be held at Meydan on March 26th, and a great group of U.S. horses are expected to compete! Leading the charge is 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome, who will seek to surpass Curlin as the richest U.S.-based racehorse of all time with a win in the $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup. Grade I winners Frosted, Keen Ice, and Mshawish are expected to join California Chrome in the Dubai World Cup, while X Y Jet will target the Dubai Golden Shaheen and Frank Conversation will take a shot in the UAE Derby.

7. A Great Day of Racing at Fair Grounds–Shortly after the completion of the Dubai World Cup races, Fair Grounds will take over the spotlight by running an incredible nine stakes races on the afternoon of March 26th, including the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), where Gun Runner, Mo Tom, Greenpointcrusader, and others will attempt to stamp their tickets to the Kentucky Derby.

8. Entries for the Florida Derby and Spiral Stakes–The penultimate day of the month will bring more excitement when the post positions are drawn for the Florida Derby and Spiral Stakes, two major Kentucky Derby prep races that will be run on April 2nd. Who will face Mohaymen and Nyquist in the Florida Derby? Will Shogood stretch his speed in the Spiral? Seeing the entries will be fascinating!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy all that March has to offer!

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to sign up for email newsletters and special offers from The Turf Board! Also, if you’re a fan of horse racing history, please check out my upcoming book Lost to the Ages: 10 Forgotten Champions of U.S. Horse Racingscheduled for release later this year!

Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin's quest to become North America's richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the Bloodhorse.com blog Unlocking Winners.

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2 Comments on "8 Things to Look Forward To in March"

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Eric Rickard

Nice race days abound. Don’t forget to mention the great racing in Australia, and the start of the flat season in the UK.

Eric Rickard

Nice race days abound. Don’t forget to mention the great racing in Australia, and the start of the flat season in the UK.