Horseracing in North America is largely on hold thanks to the coronavirus COVID-19. The Keeneland meet was scrapped, Aqueduct is being used as a temporary hospital for patients, Woodbine is not going to open in April as scheduled, and racing at Santa Anita is in a holding pattern.
While tracks like Will Rogers and Fonner are experiencing a revival thanks to just having their doors open, there is no better time to dive into international racing.
Even with racing suspended in the United Kingdom, racing continues in Japan, Hong Kong, and Australia, offering global opportunities to wager.
Japan’s Grade 1 races take place on Sunday local time, which is Saturday nights in the States. The Osaka Hai is this coming weekend April 4/5, with 2018 Armina Kinen hero Blast Onepiece taking on a host of middle-distance stars. The 2,000-meter race (1 ¼-miles) will also have Danon Kingly, second in the Japanese Derby last year, and 2018 and 2016 Derby winners Wagnerian and Makahiki, respectively.
Racing at Randwick in Australia continues this weekend with four Group 1 races on Saturday, which is Friday night in America. Race 6 is the Inglis Sires’ Stakes worth $500,000 for juveniles. It is a wide-open affair with 15 young horses entered.
The $1 million Australian Derby (G1) takes place as Race 7. Castelvecchio was brilliant on March 21 winning the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas. Eric the Eel took the Mount Franklin Open Handicap just a week ago.
The $1.25 million T J Smith Stakes (G1), famously won by the likes of Chautauqua and Black Caviar in recent years, will have two-time Everest winner Redzel in the gate, as well as defending champion Santa Ana Lane.
The $1.5 million Star Doncaster Mile (G1) rounds out the day. Phenomenal mare Melody Belle won four in a row last year, but has been disappointing so far in 2020. Gai Waterhouse sends out Con Te Partiro, who is by Scat Daddy and ran in Grade 1 races in the States before heading Down Under.
Hong Kong has a big day coming April 26, with the FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin. It carries purses of HK$70 million over ten races, including the QEII Cup, the Champions Mile, and the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
Whether or not Santa Anita is able to return to racing and if Belmont opens on time, there is still plenty of Grade/Group 1 action to enjoy around the world.