Fresh thoughts of an exciting Preakness Weekend give way to Memorial Day Weekend, which offers more than an extra day off for most the country.
Memorial Day gives everyone the opportunity to remember the brave men and women who paid the ultimate cost for our country so we could enjoy that three-day weekend and so much more all year round. A big weekend of racing is always a great way to celebrate the holiday and everything starts Saturday.
The highlights of the day included a four-pack of stakes at Monmouth, a trio of graded stakes at Santa Anita, Louisiana Legends Day at Evangeline Downs and graded action at Churchill and Woodbine. There are plenty of other top races throughout North America and we’ve covered it all in this week’s primer.
So here goes, the weekly preview for Saturday, May 25. Be safe and good luck.
Monmouth Park. Race 1. 12:50. Start the day on the shore with two-turn maiden for fillies and mares.
Pimlico Race Course. Race 1. 1:10. Final Saturday of the short spring meet starts with 5-furlong claimer on the grass.
Delaware Park. Race 1. 1:15. Six for 6-furlong maiden to open the card. So Cunning is short price on the morning line with three works at Payson Park for Christophe Clement. Capturemenow might be the one though, with three starts under her belt at Tampa Bay Downs already this spring.
Belmont Park. Race 1. 1:30. Seven 2-year-olds entered for 5-furlong turf maiden, including three from Kim Laudati and two for juvenile specialist Wesley Ward. Karak, daughter of Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Karakontie who goes out for Ward, cost $365,000 at OBS March sale.
Belterra Park. Race 3. 1:35. Rodolphe Brisset sends Lawnmower north from Churchill for debut in 1 1/16-mile turf maiden. Daughter of Red Rocks faces seven others with steady work tab.
Monmouth. Race 3. 1:41. Good optional for fillies and mares features Horologist, Gotham Gala and Tweeting.
Gulfstream Park. Race 3. 1:46. Todd Pletcher sends out Integral, homebred 2-year-old filly by Algorithms for Suzanne and Michael Masters, in 4 1/2-furlong maiden.
Woodbine. Race 3. 2:12. Skywire and Global Access, 1-2 in the Wando Stakes last month, meet again in Grade 3 Marine going the same 1 1/16-mile trip. Both are effective on synthetic and at Woodbine for top connections.
Churchill Downs. Race 4. 2:13. Early stakes on the card is $100,000 Keertana Overnight going 1 1/2 miles on the grass. Gaining chased eventual Preakness Day stakes winner Ickymasho when second last time in the Grade 3 Bewitch at Keeneland and looks tough against another Roger Attfield runner in Lacustre, Peru and Room To Finish.
Belterra. Race 5. 2:35. Similar to previous turf maiden, this one for straight 3-year-olds, draws field of 11. Rusty Arnold, Jack Sisterson and Paulo Lobo with runners out of their Keeneland barns.
Monmouth. Race 5. 2:40. First stakes of the day is $75,000 John J. Reilly for state-breds.
Gulfstream. Race 5. 2:49. Bet Mrs. Maisel in 5-furlong turf maiden; then fire up the Amazon Prime and watch the show. It’s brilliant.
Pimlico. Race 5. 3:02. Tibr, off since fifth in U.S. debut in May 2018 at Belmont, returns for Graham Motion in 5-furlong turf optional.
Monmouth. Race 7. 3:32. Chad Brown sends out Beautiful Lover and Clause in $75,000 Boiling Springs. He’s no lock in two-turn turf stakes with Ready To Tango, Her Royal Highness, Aunt Hattie, Karama and Ellyb also in the field.
Churchill. Race 7. 3:50. Trinity and Oxburger, close in Keeneland maiden going the same 9-furlong trip on the grass, meet again.
Delaware. Race 7. 3:57. Inclusive, runner-up in last year’s Display at Woodbine, makes first start for Graham Motion in 1-mile and 70-yard allowance on the grass.
Belmont. Race 6. 4:12. Wesley Ward sends out two – Mentality and Chelsea Cloisters – in 6-furlong turf allowance for fillies and mares. The latter is 3-year-old daughter of First Samurai looking for first win since debut score in April 2018 at Keeneland, but she’s run in six stakes since, including group events overseas.
Churchill. Race 8. 4:22. Sprint optional for 3-year-old fillies draws Grade 3 Schuylerville winner Catherinethegreat and stakes winners Into Trouble, Mae Never No and Athens Queen.
Pimlico. Race 8. 4:26. Aikenetta enjoyed some success in Maryland back in back and returns to the Free State for Rudy Rodriguez in 1 1/16-mile optional on the man track. Daria’s Angel and Moon Virginia will make that return tough.
Monmouth. Race 9. 4:31. Jason Servis vs. John Servis in Grade 3 Salvator Mile. The former sends out Sunny Ridge while the latter goes with Diamond King.
Belmont. Race 7. 4:45. Linda’s Ballet ran well in turf debut May 2 and returns in similar 7-furlong state-bred maiden for Linda Rice.
Pimlico. Race 9. 4:55. Back to the grass for 5-furlong allowance that draws comebacking El Dulce, You Can Never Tell, Love You Much, Sonic Boom E Jet and Great Herman.
Santa Anita Park. Race 3. 5:00. Nine 3-year-olds entered for 9-furlong turf maiden.
Gulfstream. Race 9. 5:01. Razorback Lady, second in Grade 2 Inside Information last time, finds softer spot in $75,000 Ana T. Stakes.
Belmont. Race 8. 5:18. Tossup makes first start for Pat Kelly in return from lengthy layoff. One time for our man Rick Violette.
Churchill. Race 10. 5:26. A dozen older fillies and mares for Grade 3 Winning Colors. Awestruck comes off back-to-back allowance wins and is 3-1 favorite against the likes of Let It Ride Mom, Classy Act, Divine Queen, Astrollinthepark and Salt Bae.
Woodbine. Race 9. 5:30. Pink Lloyd, Canadian Horse of the Year in 2017 and wnner of three other Sovereign Awards, won his 2019 debut and should make it two straight in $125,000 Greenwood Stakes.
Monmouth. Race 11. 5:32. Synchrony might not have cared for the cut in the ground in Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby undercard, so we’ll give him another chance in Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes. He’s 2-for-3 on the course.
Belmont. Race 9. 5:51. Fog Of War, 2-for-2 and winner of last September’s Grade 1 Summer Stakes over eventual Preakness winner War Of Will, looks tough in $100,000 Paradise Creek. If he’s vulnerable at the 7-furlong trip in return perhaps it’s Mucho, runner-up in the Grade 1 Hopeful last year, that could upset in his turf debut.
Churchill. Race 11. 5:58. Two-turn maiden on the main track for 3-year-old fillies closes the card.
Woodbine. Race 10. 6:01. Baby Driver ran well to be fourth in debut at Keeneland April 24. Daughter of Bodemeister figures to improve in second start for Barbar Minshall in similar 1-mile turf maiden.
Santa Anita. Race 5. 6:03. Still no use of the full downhill course so the Grade 3 Daytona goes as a 5-furlong turf stakes. Eddie Haskell looks tough despite his 1-for-9 mark on the Santa Anita turf, probably because of his 6-for-9 mark at the distance on the grass.
Arlington Park. Race 8. 6:13. Grade 2-placed Lightscameraaction, a $235,000 purchase by Team Block at Keeneland January sale, makes first start for Chris Block in 1-mile optional for 3-year-old fillies.
Belmont. Race 10. 6:24. Goold old Spring To The Sky, still rolling at 10. He finished second to Spectrolite in 2019 debut last month at Aqueduct and meets that foe again in 6-furlong turf optional.
Evangeline Downs. Race 1. 6:50. Louisiana Legends card opens with 4 1/2-furlong maiden for 2-year-old state-breds.
Santa Anita. Race 7. 7:03. Ashleyluvssugar won the Grade 2 Charlie Whittingham back in 2017 and is back for another try after missing the race last year. Veteran Cal-bred gelding by Game Plan owns six wins on the course and meets small but good field led by Marckie’s Water, Prime Attraction and Tizzarnner for 10-furlong stakes.
Evangeline. Race 2. 7:18. Ours To Run brings five-race win streak into the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle going 5 1/2 furlongs.
Santa Anita. Race 8. 7:33. American Anthem looked like a winner until the sixteenth pole last time in 1-mile optional on Derby Day at Churchill Downs. He cuts back to more optimal 7-furlong trip for Grade 2 Triple Bend with Mike Smith back aboard for Bob Baffert.
Evangeline. Race 4. 8:16. Back to the stakes and the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Soiree at 1 mile.
Santa Anita. Race 10. 8:33. Older horses go 9 furlongs in turf optional to close the card.
Evangeline. Race 6. 9:16. Waiting for a Star Guitar? Same here. Jimi’s A Star looks to bounce back from loss to Shang and others last time in $75,000 Louisiana Legends Cheval.
Evangeline. Race 7. 9:46. Time for some grass and the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Turf Distaff. Special Blessing, Tap Dance Star and Hyper Piper finished 1-2-3 in local prep and could duplicate that effort again.
Evangeline. Race 8. 10:16. Back to the main track for $75,000 Louisiana Legends Sprint. It’s getting late and we need a winner. Monte Man loves to win – he’s 11-for-32 in his career that started in New York – and figures to defend title from a year ago.
Evangeline. Race 9. 10:44. The $75,000 Louisiana Legends Turf features field of seven that’s tough to sort. Take your pick.