JC / Railbird

Oaks Preps

Saturday Line-Up (Updated)

Oaks prep, Derby preps, and two big stars making their first starts of the year:

The NTRA, which unveiled a fresh new web site look last Friday, launches a new feature, NTRA Live!, a series of webcasts hosted by Randy Moss, this Saturday. Beginning at 6:00 PM, racing fans with an Internet connection anywhere in the world will be able to watch a live video stream — free! — of both the New Orleans Ladies and Santa Margarita Handicap. Very cool. (And not just because the video venture was inspired by “Take Back Saturday!“)

Also Saturday: 2009 Tampa Bay Derby winner Musket Man tries something new, starting in the five furlong Turf Dash Stakes at Tampa (4:57 PM). Musket Man, making his second start off a long layoff, has never finished out of the money, but he’s also never raced at less than six furlongs or on turf. [9:50 AM: Just saw this post on PaceAdvantage, in which someone familiar with the connections’ intentions reports Musket Man has breezed over turf once before and that the race is a prep (a prep they expect to win) for the Carter at Aqueduct. DRF shows trainer Derek Ryan with a .38 percentage (out of eight starters) in turf sprints; Musket Man is the 5-2 morning-line favorite.]

Three potential Omnisurface Stars to watch: In the New Orleans Ladies, Zardana — trained by John Shirreffs, shipped in to take Rachel Alexandra’s measure — makes her first start on dirt [in the US]. The 6-year-old mare won the 2009 G2 Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood (Cushion Track) and the Swingtime at Santa Anita (turf). Also trying dirt for the first time is Noble’s Promise, who makes his first start of the year in the Rebel Stakes. Noble’s Promise won the G1 Breeders’ Futurity last fall at Keeneland (Polytrack), and broke his maiden over the Ellis Park turf. At Santa Anita, Interactif makes the move to synthetics in the San Felipe Stakes. The Todd Pletcher-trainee won his maiden debut on the Monmouth dirt and boasts two 2009 turf stakes wins, the G3 With Anticipation at Saratoga and G3 Bourbon at Keeneland.

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