This weekend’s graded stakes action is highlighted by the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita Park, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” event that will grant the winner an all-entry fees paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic this fall.
Kicking off the action on Saturday is the G3 Chicago Handicap at Arlington Park, for fillies and mares over seven furlongs on the synthetic surface. Minks Aprise ships in from California with a listed stakes victory over Golden Gate’s synthetic to her name, and is the morning-line choice in a field of 10. Sarah Sis, a multiple graded stakes winner, will need to show a return to last year’s form, but has been facing better recently and could be tough in this spot.
At Monmouth Park, the Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes highlights Saturday’s card for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Isabella Sings is the 6-5 morning line choice for trainer Todd Pletcher, and just captured a listed stakes over the track. She faces a field of eight.
In New York, Belmont Park’s Saturday card features the Grade 3 Bed o’Roses Handicap for fillies and mares over seven furlongs. Champion Wavell Avenue, winner of last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, faces a field of seven and has been installed as the 6-5 morning line choice.
Santa Anita’s Saturday card is highlighted by a pair of Grade 1 events, the first of which is the Triple Bend Stakes. The spectacular late-running Kobe’s Back has been running well this year since the addition of blinkers, and faces a field of eight as the morning-line 5-2 top choice. His main competition will come in the form of Lord Nelson, who made a spectacular winning run in an allowance race off a six-month layoff three weeks ago, and Subtle Indian, who got out a bit in his last start but still held on to be second in the G2 Kona Gold. The multiple graded stakes placed Coastline also stands a chance in this spot.
The G1 Gold Cup, held at Hollywood Park through 2013, will now be held at Santa Anita Park for the third year. The 10-furlong, $ 500,000 event features a field of eight vying for a guaranteed spot in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The slight favorite is Bob Baffert’s Hoppertunity, who was originally not scheduled to contest this race, but so impressed his trainer in a workout last weekend that Baffert went ahead and entered the colt. Most recently, Hoppertunity finished third in the Dubai World Cup behind California Chrome. This Saturday, he will face the Santa Anita Handicap winner Melatonin, who most recently finished second behind Effinex in the Oaklawn Handicap. Second Summer recently made his presence felt in California, posting a game victory in the G2 Californian last out. The well-matched field also includes last year’s Gold Cup winner Hard Aces, along with the consistent runner Imperative and the speedy Bal A Bali.
Best of luck in your wagers this weekend.
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