The final weekend of racing at both Saratoga and Del Mar is bittersweet, as it serves notice to racing fans that summer will be ending soon. On a positive note, it also marks the kickoff of the race meeting with the highest purses in the country: Kentucky Downs.
Saturday is the first day of racing at Kentucky Downs this season over the European-style turf course. The 10-race card offers four listed stakes, each with purses of $ 350,000. The Brad Cox-trained Cash Control is the morning-line choice in the Ladies’ Turf (5:56 pm EST). Han Sense, trained by Mike Maker, is the top choice for the Juvenile (6:28 pm EST), and Wesley Ward trainee Undrafted will look to rebound in the Turf Sprint (7:02 pm EST). Closing out the day’s action, the Christophe Clement-trained Lull will try to take down the Juvenile Fillies Stake (7:31 pm EST).
At Gulfstream Park on Saturday, the second round of the Florida Sire Stakes returns. Four stakes for Florida-breds highlight the 13-race card in South Florida. Most notably, the unbeaten juvenile Three Rules will contest the Florida Sire Affirmed Stakes (6:06 pm EST). Multiple graded stakes winner Awesome Banner returns in the Florida Sire Prized Stakes (4:56 pm EST), R Kinsley Doll headlines the Florida Sire Jewel Princess (1:26 pm EST), and Sweet Tooth Haven leads the group in the Florida Sire Susan’s Girl (12:56 pm EST).
A newly instituted local prep race for the $ 1 million Cotillion, Parx will run the listed $ 150,000 Princess of Sylmar Stakes on Saturday (4:39 pm EST). Highlighting the field is Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia, making her first start since finishing third in the Acorn on June 11.
At Saratoga, the G3 Saranac kicks off Saturday’s stakes action. For 3-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles on the turf, the Saranac features a field of seven led by Camelot Kitten for trainer Chad Brown. Last out winner against tougher company, Camelot Kitten should be well-placed here.
Saturday’s co-feature at the Spa is the G1 Spinaway for juvenile fillies over seven furlongs. Trainer Todd Pletcher has entered both of the top two prospects in this event, with Cherry Lodge taking the slight edge over her stablemate Sweet Loretta.
Frosted returns Saturday in the G1 Woodward at Saratoga, seeking his third straight win off impressive victories in the Met Mile and the Whitney. He will contest 1 1/8 miles on the main track against a field of eight other older horses. Mubtahiij figures to be tough off a difficult third in the Suburban, but one race prior to that he finished second behind California Chrome in the Dubai World Cup. Bradester has done nothing wrong this year, including earning his first G1 win in the Stephen Foster, and enters the Woodward on a three-race win streak. Others who may be tough are Samraat and Shaman Ghost.
Saratoga’s G3 Glen Falls Stakes features a rematch between Guapaza, Suffused, Achnaha, Ball Dancing and Photo Call over 1 3/8 miles on the turf. Last out, Guapaza got the best of that grouping in the Waya Stakes, defeating Suffused by a head over 1 ½ miles. New to the mix is Itsonlyactingdad, winner of Monmouth’s G3 Matchmaker last out.
Over at Del Mar Saturday is the G1 Del Mar Debutante, for 2-year-old fillies over seven furlongs on the main track. The exciting race features American Pharoah‘s full sister, American Cleopatra, trained by Bob Baffert to a two-length victory in her only career start. Slightly favored on the morning line is Champagne Room, winner of the G2 Sorrento Stakes last out in her second career start.
On Sunday, Saratoga features the G2 Prioress for 3-year-old fillies over six furlongs. The Todd Pletcher-trained Off the Tracks won the G1 Mother Goose two starts back and was third behind longshot Paola Queen in the G1 Test Stakes last out. Kareena was sixth in the Test after setting the early pace last out, and may improve off the first start in graded company. Coppa ships east once again and has won all three of her career starts, including a win in the G3 Victory Ride.
Over to Del Mar, the G2 John C. Mabee Stakes features fillies and mares over 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Leading the 12-horse field is the Argentinian-bred Sobradora Inc, undefeated over five career starts including a listed stakes at Del Mar last out. Prior to that, she won a pair of G1’s in Argentina. Nancy from Nairobi and Elektrum, both from John Sadler’s barn, make up the second and third choices, respectively.
In the G2 Del Mar Derby on Sunday, a full field of 14 sophomores will contest 1 1/8 miles over the turf course. Leading the well-matched field is Lucky Bryan, who finished second in the G3 La Jolla Handicap last out. Monster Bea should prove tough in here, though he was fourth in the La Jolla without much excuse.
On the Monday holiday, Parx Racing has three graded stakes to co-feature their card, but the highlight will be in the listed Turf Amazon Stakes when Lady Shipman takes on seven rivals over five furlongs on the turf.
The G3 Greenwood Cup is up next, over 1 ½ miles on the main track. The likely favorite will be Scuba off his second-place effort in the Monmouth Cup, followed by Hawaakom off his win last out in the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes.
In Parx’s G3 Turf Monster Stakes, a field of 10 will contest five furlongs over the turf. Trainer Brian Lynch’s Power Alert is the likely favorite off a second-place effort in the Parx Dash.
In the G3 Smarty Jones, a group of 14 sophomores will contest 1 1/16 miles over the main track as a prep race for the Pennsylvania Derby. Wild About Deb ran well to finish third in the Peter Pan, but followed that up with a seventh-place effort in the Ohio Derby. He returns from a layoff and should be well-placed here. Cocked and Loaded, winner of the G3 Iroquois as a juvenile, was claimed for $ 40,000 last out and steps back into graded company here. Todd Pletcher sends Uncle Vinny and Unbridled Daddy, and Abiding Star has a particular liking for this track.
At Saratoga Monday, the G2 Bernard Baruch Handicap features a field of 10 over 1 1/16 on the turf. Takeover Target is the likely favorite for leading trainer Chad Brown, and Ring Weekend will hope to rebound off his sixth-place effort in the Fourstardave.
Monday’s G1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga features juveniles over seven furlongs. The likely favorite is Eddie Kenneally’s Bitumen, winner of the G3 Sanford Stakes. Stakes winner Runaway Lute also stands out in the field of seven, as does G3 Bashford Manor winner Classic Empire off a bit of a layoff.
Del Mar’s G1 Futurity on Monday will feature a small but talented six-horse field. Klimt won the G2 Best Pal Stakes last out, but Straight Fire broke his maiden by 10 ½ lengths in his second lifetime start, and Chasing Aces broke a 52-year-old track record in his last out.
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