Saturday Special – June 4

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A spectacular showdown at Santa Anita Park in the newly configured Vanity Mile, the Epsom Derby across the Atlantic, a strong renewal of the Penn Mile and supporting stakes at Penn National Race Course and a boatload of stakes at Gulfstream Park highlight this week’s Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud, home of Alternation, Broken Vow and Cowboy Cal.

We’ve also got previews of some strong heats at Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Woodbine and Arlington Park in a jam-packed edition this week. Everything on offer today should whet your appetite for next weekend’s Belmont Stakes Racing Festival with Royal Ascot right around the corner.

No time like the present to get to it. Here’s your Saturday Special for June 4. Enjoy.

Epsom. Race 1. 9:00 a.m. Hope for a rainout in the Little League game, serve up cold cereal, let the dog run loose…it’s Derby Day at Epsom. It starts with a competitive 15-horse strong handicap.

Epsom. Race 2. 9:35. The Princess Elizabeth Stakes kicks off the stakes docket on a banner day of racing. How do you not like Sayana? Another star for the Aga Khan.

Epsom. Race 3. 10:10. The Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Cup. A Group 1 stakes going a mile and a half for $588,000. Roger Varian, who once came to America to ride for Jack Fisher (Poor Porgi ended his riding lark and launched a training career), prepares Postponed for his fifth stakes win in a row. Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Found makes her fourth start of the year.

Musselburgh. Race 4. 10:25. Go North. The Edinburgh Cup entices the 3-year-old stayers. A couple of maidens could prove daunting to the winners.

Epsom. Race 4. 10:45. Twenty sprinters clash in the $1.47 million Investec Corporate Banking Dash (Heritage Handicap). Our friend George Baker sends out Harry Hurricane and Humidor, a five-year range between their ages.

The Curragh. Race 1. 11:20. American-breds aren’t fashionable? Coolmore unleashes three here. Intelligence Cross, a son of War Front and Good Vibes. Pennsylvania, a son of The Factor and Seeking Luck. Sportsmanship, a son of War Front and War Poppy.

Epsom. Race 5. 11:30. The Investec Derby. Wow, what a classic renewal of the classic race. US Army Ranger puts his undefeated record on the line. Wings of Desire could provide one more segment of the Dettori/Gosden show. Harzand travels from Ireland for the Aga Khan and Dermot Weld.

Worcester. Race 6. Noon. Maiden hurdlers at Worcester in June…maybe Saratoga-bound? Take a look and be imaginative.

Churchill Downs. Race 1. 12:45. Thirstforlife, third in Kentucky Juvenile in debut for Mark Casse, faces five other juveniles in 5-furlong maiden opener.

Gulfstream Park. Race 1. 12:45. Chuck Simon tries to keep strong run going in South Florida when he sends out Oklahoma Den in 1-mile claiming race on the grass.

The Curragh. Race 4. 1:00 p.m. The Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes attracts a strong group of fillies and mares, including last-out winner Only Mine.

Newcastle. Race 1. 1:10. Hard to believe Newcastle is now an all-weather meeting. It starts here and, yes, it looks a lot like American racing.

Gulfstream. Race 2. 1:15. The $75,000 Parrot Key is rematch between Yourdreamsormine and Grand Shores, one-three in Bull Gator last time. George Weaver anxious to get Requite, second to Holy Boss in last year’s Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga, rolling again.

The Curragh. Race 5. 1:30. The Silver Stakes offers another rung of the ladder for Chemical Charge, an undefeated son of Sea The Stars. Sir Isaac Newton, another Coolmore ironman, stands in his way.

Gulfstream. Race 3. 1:46. Graded stakes winner Daring Kathy shortens up and takes on males in $75,000 Bonita Stakes going 5 furlongs on the grass.

Parx Racing. Race 5. 2:43. Disco Chick ran lights out in Skipat Stakes on Black-Eyed Susan Day and looks tough in $100,000 Foxy J G Stakes going 7 furlongs.

Gulfstream. Race 5. 2:49. Ballet Diva already owns four wins from nine starts on the main track in Hallandale. She tries for No. 5 in $75,000 Royal Palm.

Thistledown. Race 5. 2:55. Graded stakes competitors Sr. Quisqueyano and Thirtysilverpieces both entered for $20,000 in allowance-optional going two turns.

Woodbine. Race 5. 3:16. Full field of 12 for 19th running of the Ballade, a nod to the dam of legendary late sire Saint Ballado.

Arlington Park. Race 3. 3:19. We touted Ditka three weeks back and he struggled to sixth-place finish going 1 mile. Distorted Humor colt back to sprinting in early allowance heat.

Gulfstream. Race 6. 3:21. Chuck Simon goes with two in $75,000 Raymond Earl – Xaverian and Aire Bueno – against the likes of Hammers Terror, My Point Exactly and We’re All Set.

Pimlico Race Course. Race 6. 3:30. Ousby attracted attention in James W. Murphy on Preakness undercard but only managed seventh at 4-1. He’s back on two weeks rest and in allowance company this time.

Thistledown. Race 7. 3:55. Blazing Bling back to defend title in $75,000 Michael G. Mackey Memorial Angenora for state-bred fillies and mares. She’s winless since and 10-1 on the morning line, but this is third start off layoff and she goes first-time Lasix.

Parx. Race 8. 4:04. Eighth Wonder shortens up to sprint after good second in Parx Oaks last time out, while Ben Colebrook ships American Doll in from Kentucky for $100,000 Jostle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Churchill. Race 8. 4:19. Good two-turn allowance attracts last year’s Preakness runner-up Tale Of Verve, Enduring Honor, Honorable Duty and Curlins Pride.

Monmouth Park. Race 8. 4:20. Eel looked good winning debut against short field in late April at Gulfstream. Harlan’s Holiday colt steps up against older winners in 1-mile allowance-optional off a couple strong works on the Oklahoma in Saratoga.

Pimlico. Race 8. 4:26. Elegant Supermodel, German-bred filly who was third in Group 3 Albany Stakes during last year’s Royal Ascot meeting, set for U.S. debut and first start in nearly a year in $100,000 Stormy Blues going 5 furlongs on the grass.

Woodbine. Race 8. 4:51. Charming Delilah needed one in her last; now she’s back for $100,000 Sweet Briar Too going 7 furlongs on the Tapeta.

Churchill. Race 9. 4:51. Multiple stakes winner Hogy makes 7-year-old debut in $67,000 Mighty Beau.

Gulfstream. Race 9. 4:58. The stakes just keep coming. The $75,000 Sea Lily for older females looks like good spot for Marty Wolfson to get Best Behavior going again after brief freshening.

Parx. Race 10. 5:00. Full field of 12 lines up for $100,000 Lyman Stakes for state-breds going 7 furlongs.

Belmont Park. Race 8. 5:13. Curious how many 3-year-old male turf stakes horses there are out there? Today’s the day to find out. Ten line up for Grade 3 Pennine Ridge going 9 furlongs. Camelot Kitten won Grade 2 American Turf over subsequent next-out stakes winner Surgical Strike and looks tough against the likes of Azar, Highland Sky, Converge and Dressed In Hermes.

Churchill. Race 10. 5:21. Seven sprinters whose connections didn’t want to ship north for next week’s True North at Belmont line up for Grade 3 Aristides. Limousine Liberal couldn’t last in Grade 2 Churchill Downs on Derby Day and is 7/5 in this spot. Union Jackson turned in one of the better performances of the Keeneland sprint meeting and makes stakes debut.

Monmouth. Race 10. 5:24. Lady Shipman used the Crank It Up Stakes as springboard to powerful season last year. Is there another Lady Shipman in this group?

Arlington. Race 7. 5:27. Ten Illinois-bred fillies line up for $50,000 Purple Violet Stakes.

Gulfstream. Race 10. 5:30. The $75,000 Amelia Island. Ever been? Make the trip next winter.

Gulfstream. Race 11. 6:02. Awesome Banner was on his way after starting career with three straight wins, including back-to-back graded events this winter, before two off-the-board efforts going long with eyes on the spring classics. Son of Awesome Of Course gets going again, for the first time with Mark Casse, in $75,000 Big Cypress.

Penn National Race Course. Race 1. 6:05. No monkeying around in Grantville on big night as $200,000 Penn Oaks gets things started. Field of seven lines up, including stakes winners Sweet Victory and Pricedtoperfection, unbeaten Involuntary and the improving Lottie.

Penn National. Race 2. 6:35. Ben’s Cat headlines Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, a rare race he hasn’t dominated through the years. He won it in 2011 then finished fourth (2012), third (2013) and second (2015). Ageless star faces tough test again with Spring To The Sky and Cyclogenisis in the field.

Penn National. Race 3. 7:05. Five vie for $200,000 in Mountainview Handicap. No much of a handicap though, with four carrying 116 and one – S’maverlous – carrying 117.

Santa Anita Park. Race 6. 7:30. Heart To Heart and Tourist ship West for Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile, where they find Twentytwentyvision, Midnight Storm and Home Run Kitten waiting. Small field, big race.

Penn National. Race 4. 7:40. The headlining Grade 3 Penn Mile got a field of seven, led by Canadian Horse of the Year Catch A Glimpse, a filly riding six-race win streak; Kentucky Derby also-ran Oscar Nominated, turf stakes winner Giant Run and Airoforce, graded stakes winner on the main track as a 2-year-old.

Santa Anita. Race 7. 8:00. How’s this for a headliner? The Grade 1 Vanity, now called the Vanity Mile and shortened from 9 to 8 furlongs, features last year’s champion older female in Beholder, last year’s champion 3-year-old filly in Stellar Wind and the hugely talented Grade 1 winner Taris. Beholder is 12-for-13 at Santa Anita and 2-for-2 at the mile trip. She’ll be super tough as always, but big question looms whether age is catching up on the 6-year-old superstar.