Independence Day in the books, the final countdown on for Saratoga and Del Mar and another loaded weekend of racing action to preview in this week’s edition of The Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud.
The Stars and Stripes Racing Festival at Belmont Park and the Ride To The Million card at Arlington Park top the day’s slate, along with a quartet of stakes at Delaware Park and stakes action at Laurel, Gulfstream, Parx, Los Alamitos, Suffolk, Woodbine, Belterra and more. Like we said, it’s a loaded day of action.
Speaking of loaded, The Saratoga Special office is just about setup and our slate of advertisers are assembling. Still looking to get in on the action? Fear not, there’s time and space. Check out our 2018 brochure to find out all the details.
Here’s your primer for Saturday, July 7. Enjoy and good luck.
Sandown. Race 4. 9:10. The Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes lost its main attraction when Masar withdrew, now it looks like a clash between American-bred Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior, coming back seven days after finishing third in the Irish Derby.
Sandown. Race 6. 10:20. America seems to have winnowed its races to 6 furlongs to 1 1/16 mile. England? Today’s card at Sandown offers races from 5 furlongs to 2 miles. The Coral Marathon launches them 2 miles. Ten-year-old High Jinx returns to the flat after winning two in a row over hurdles.
Belmont Park. Race 1. 1:30. Stars and Stripes Day starts with 6-furlong maiden for 2-year-olds.
Monmouth Park. Race 3. 1:46. Supreme Aura won the Pegasus last time and looks to take another step toward Haskell in $100,000 Betfair.com Long Branch.
Parx Racing. Race 6. 3:10. Blue Bahia, off since winning the Captiva Island in early March at Gulfstream, returns to Philadelphia for the $100,000 Turf Amazon. She’s 9-for-13 at the 5-furlong turf trip and takes on the likes of Smiling Causeway, Boos and Goldwood.
Gulfstream Park. Race 6. 3:19. Camila Princess back home for $100,000 Martha Washington after seventh in Grade 3 Wonder Again at Belmont. She’s 3-for-4 on the grass at Gulfstream.
Delaware Park. Race 6. 3:45. First stakes on the card is $75,000 Cape Henlopen. Renown won it last year and comes off win going same 1 1/2-mile trip at Great Meadow.
Belterra Park. Race 6. 3:55. Nine Ohio-bred 2-year-olds entered in $75,000 Hoover, including maidens Galactic, Dancing Willard, Legendary Jack, Private Drive, Got To Get Out and Going With Style.
Parx. Race 8. 4:04. Pure Sensation just missed in Jaipur and is back to defend title in the Grade 3 Parx Dash. Florida-bred son this last year by 5 3/4 lengths and he takes on 11 others with $200,00 on the line.
Belterra. Race 7. 4:26. Ohio-bred 3-year-old fillies go 1 1/16 miles on the grass in $75,000 Cincinnatian.
Belmont. Race 6. 4:36. Hello old friend. Mendelssohn returns to the U.S. for the Grade 3 Dwyer and looking for some redemption after rough go in the Kentucky Derby. He meets quality field that also includes Firenze Fire and Noble Indy – 11th and 17th, respectively, in the Derby, and late-developing Rugbyman.
Laurel Park. Race 8. 4:40. Midnight Poker tries to bounce back from first loss in five starts last time in Danzig at Penn National against six other 3-year-olds in $75,000 Concern.
Arlington Park. Race 5. 4:41. First stakes of Ride To The Million Day is the Grade 3 America Derby going 9 furlongs on the grass. A prep for the Grade 1 Secretariat, $100,000 stakes looks fairly wide open with Dubby Dubbie, Ezmosh, Captivating Moon and Tap Daddy in the field.
Delaware. Race 8. 4:45. Fillies and mares stretch to 11 furlongs for Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial. Palinodie and Esquisse look like the standouts, with last-out stakes winner Creative Thinking.
Woodbine. Race 8. 4:53. Will any of the eight entered in the $100,000 My Dear follow the footsteps of Dream It Is and parlay victory in 5 1/2-furlong stakes to success a few weeks down the road in Saratoga’s Schuylerville?
Belmont. Race 7. 5:11. Good matchup on tap between Limousine Liberal and Whitmore in Grade 2 Belmont Sprint Championship. The former finished good third in Grade 1 Met Mile while the latter comes off close second in Grade 2 True North. Favorable Outcome and Shaft Of Light won’t give it away.
Delaware. Race 9. 5:15. Back to one turn for Tequilita in $75,000 Dashing Beauty going 6 furlongs.
Arlington. Race 6. 5:16. Fillies and mares take their turn in Grade 3 Modesty, key local prep for the Grade 1 Beverly D. Monster longshots on the inside, the expected favorite Daddy’s Lil Darling on the outside. Winner of the Grade 1 American Oaks last winter at Santa Anita, Daddys Lil Darling will need to overcome post 13 and the 1 3/16 miles.
Laurel. Race 10. 5:40. A dozen 3-year-old fillies entered in $100,000 Stormy Blues. Some possible clues for turf sprints at Saratoga no doubt in this heat.
Delaware. Race 10. 5:45. Connections of Red Ruby and Coach Rocks, 1-2 in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan, hope to use Grade 3 Delaware Oaks as steppingstone to the Grade 1 Alabama next month at Saratoga. Strong field also includes Acorn third Gio Game, Maya Malibu, Mo Shopping and Takechargedelilah.
Belmont. Race 8. 5:46. The co-featured $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational lures Athena, Capla Temptress and Chipolata from Europe, Paved from California and Thewayiam from Fair Hill. The others have been sharpening the knife in New York, including Grade 3 Edgewood winner Toinette, Grade 3 Wonder Again winner La Signare and Wonder Again runner-up Significant Form.
Arlington. Race 7. 5:51. The 3-year-old fillies aren’t left out of the mix and a dozen line up for the $100,000 Hatoof.
Suffolk Downs. Race 13. 5:55. Field of six Massachusetts-breds – yes, you read that right – square off in $50,000 Last Dance going 1 mile.
Belmont. Race 9. 6:18. Big field of 11 for the Grade 2 Suburban. Bob Baffert sends out two in Hoppertunity, winner of the Grade 2 Brooklyn a few races before stablemate Justify completed the sweep of the Triple Crown; and Dr. Dorr, runner-up in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Tapwrit looks to regain form that landed him a victory in last year’s Belmont Stakes while Diversify also seeks return to ways that secured his win in Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup last October.
Arlington. Race 8. 6:23. Older turf horses stretch out to 12 furlongs for Grade 3 Stars and Stripes. Our old friend Nessy is one of a dozen entered, along with Canessar, Arklow, Slim Shadey and Catcho En Die.
Gulfstream. Race 12. 6:36. Not Surprising did his best work in one-turn sprints, but the $100,000 Not Surprising is a 1-mile grass stakes. Big field of 14 lines up, including Grade 2 Penn Mile third Coltandmississippi from Todd Pletcher’s barn at Belmont.
Belmont. Race 10. 6:50. Big purse of $1.2 million and Grade 1 status on the line in co-featured Belmont Derby Invitational. All the major players in the division are in the field – Analyze It, Hawkish and Catholic Boy – along with Kentucky Derby fifth My Boy Jack and Europeans Hunting Horn and Kingstar.
Arlington. Race 9. 6:55. The Grade 3 Arlington Handicap is local steppingstone to the Grade 1 Arlington Million. Synchrony, Divisidero and Just Howard ship in from Fair Hill, Revved Up and Converge come from New York and Compass Zone and Tizzarunner and Roman Approval make the trek from Kentucky.
Los Alamitos Race Course. Race 8. 7:28. The Grade 2 Great Lady M. – named for the dam of Horse of the Year Lady’s Secret – features a field of five led by blowout Grade 3 Desert Stormer winner Marley’s Freedom and multiple graded stakes winner Skye Diamonds.