Saturday Special: September 12

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Plenty of action here in the U.S. and most definitely abroad Saturday, with the prestigious Ladbrokes St. Leger and QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes leading the way overseas.

Kentucky Downs rolls out its version of the Kentucky Cup with four stakes led by the $600,000 Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup. Woodbine gears up for Sunday’s Grade 1 Woodbine Mile – which doesn’t feature Wise Dan this year – with a stakes-filled Saturday card and Delaware hosts the 22nd annual Owners’ Day program.

Here’s your Saturday Special:

Doncaster. First Race. 9:05 a.m. Group 2 Champagne Stakes kicks off St. Leger Day card and Richard Hannon’s Estidhkaar goes for three straight against the likes of War Envoy, Kentucky-bred colt by War Front from Coolmore-Aidan O’Brien.

Doncaster. Third Race. 10:15. Field of eight lines up for Group 2 Park Stakes going 7 furlongs, including favored Aljamaaheer for Roger Varian.

Leopardstown. First Race. 10:35. Field of 13 2-year-old fillies go 7 furlongs, including the Galileo daughter Wedding Vow for Aidan O’Brien.

Doncaster. Fourth Race. 10:50. Final English classic of the season, the historic 1 7/8 mile Ladbrokes St. Leger. No shortage of choices with 14 in the field, including two Kentucky-breds in the Dynaformer colt Somewhat and Kitten’s Joy colt Marzocco. Romsdal, third in Epsom Derby earlier this season for John Gosden, bids for slight upset of favored 2013 Racing Post Trophy winner Kingston Hill.

Leopardstown. Second Race. 11:05. John F. Kennedy, Coolmore-Flaxman owned colt by Galileo, takes on Tombelaine, colt by First Defence owned by Juddmonte and trained by Dermot Weld.

Leopardstown. Third Race. 11:40. Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Petingo Handicap going 1 ¾ miles attracts field of 16, plus two on also-eligible list.

Leopardstown. Fifth Race. 12:45 p.m. Group 1 Matron Stakes shakes up as showdown between Darley Yorkshire Oaks winner Tapestry and Coronation Stakes winner Rizeena.

Leopardstown. Sixth Race. 1:15. Remember Darwin? Fourth in Grade 2 Nashua back in 2012 for Todd Pletcher, he’s now trained by Aidan O’Brien and was third last time out in Group 1 Sussex Stakes. Good effort here in Group 2 Clipper Boomerang Mile could earn him trip back to the U.S. for Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Belterra Park. First Race. 1:30 p.m. The ageless Perry Ouzts, well on his way to another title in Cincinnati, rides ready-to-win second-time starter Storm Bank in 5 ½-furlong maiden.

Churchill Downs. Third Race. 1:47. Iowa Oaks winner Tiz Windy makes return for Carl Nafzger against Ocean Bertie and Courageous Julie, who exit tougher spots, in allowance/optional on the main track.

Leopardstown. Seventh Race. 1:50. The headliner – Group 1 QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes going 10 furlongs on grass. Australia, winner of Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and Juddmonte International in succession, is the one to beat for O’Brien and Coolmore. The Grey Gatsby tried him in the Juddmonte International and is back again. Dubai World Cup runner-up Mukhadram also in the field.

Laurel Park. Third Race. 2:10. Stonestreet/Bolton/Pletcher head south with Lawn Party for $60,000 Brookmeade Stakes.

Woodbine. Fourth Race. 2:27. Sovereign Award winner Alpha Bettor still going strong at age 6 and he’s 3-1 choice in Grade 3 Bold Venture going 6 1/2 furlongs on Polytrack.

Laurel. Fourth Race. 2:40. Tim Keefe’s Connemara Coast gets this writer thinking of this time last year.

Delaware Park. Fifth Race. 3:06. First of six stakes that make up Owners’ Day program is DTHA Governor’s Day. New York shipper Stormin Monarcho would come back on eight days rest if he starts.

Delaware. Sixth Race. 3:34. The $75,000 Small Wonder for 2-year-old fillies.

Kentucky Downs. Third Race. 2:35. Neil Drysdale on the scene in Franklin, Ky., with Power Ped.

Laurel. Fifth Race. 3:10. Call it what you want, the first division of the $60,000 Jamestown Stakes or a $60,000 restricted maiden turf sprint. Nine are entered in Virginia-bred, Virginia-sired race and all are maidens, including four firsters.

Woodbine. Sixth Race. 3:31. New York maiden winners Skinner Box and Isabella Sings head north for Grade 2 Natalma Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on the grass. Malcolm Pierce and Mark Casse are waiting.

Delaware. Seventh Race. 4:02. New York-bred Stonesider filly Galiana back to defend title in Tax Free Shopping Distaff.

Laurel. Seventh Race. 4:10. The Oakley Stakes, another turf sprint for Virginians.

Belmont Park. Seventh Race. 4:13. Baffle Me exits fourth in awfully tough restricted stakes in early August at Saratoga and takes on eight others in Grade 3 Noble Damsel. Nice group includes Annecdote, Group 3 winner in England last season who makes U.S. debut for Clement.

Delaware. Eighth Race. 4:30. Cinco Charlie, off three straight graded stakes, stands out in First State Dash for 2-year-olds.

Belmont. Eighth Race. 4:45. Grade 2 Sands Point fills gap of moved and renamed Grade 1 Garden City. Xcellence and Ball Dancing, third and fifth, respectively, in Group 1 French Oaks, take on Daring Dancer, A Little Bit Sassy, Sea Queen, Miss Besilu and others.

Churchill. Ninth Race. 4:55. Eclectic group for sixth edition of the Open Mind.

Gulfstream Park. Eighth Race. 4:57. The Chief sends out Sum Roar, first-time starter by In Summation in maiden for 2-year-old fillies.

Delaware. Ninth Race. 4:58. Tough spot for $75,000 purse in George Rosenberger Memorial for fillies and mares on the grass. Field includes Gathering, Party Starter, Red Hot Tweet and Daylight Ride.

Kentucky Downs. Sixth Race. 5:05. Not surprising that $90,000 1-mile maiden special weight draws the big players – Juddmonte and Mott (Hard to Port), LoPresti (Errant), Romans (Twenty Gauge), Catalano (Lawless West), McPeek (Lawn Ranger), Maker (Pepper Roani) and Ramsey and Ward (Crown the Kitten).

Woodbine. Ninth Race. 5:07. Saratoga Dreamer was impressive winning debut at Saratoga Aug. 20 for Christophe Clement. He’s favored over eight others in Grade 2 Summer Stakes for juveniles on the grass.

Laurel. Ninth Race. 5:10. Woodberry Payne aims high with Cap’n Raymond, a winner this summer at Saratoga, in $60,000 Punch Line Stakes.

Belmont. Ninth Race. 5:17. Daredevil, half brother to 2008 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Albertus Maximus, debuts for Todd Pletcher.

Gulfstream. Ninth Race. 5:30. The Vid Stakes. Remember The Vid? Banked nearly $1 million, won stakes at 3, 4, 5 and 6. Look him up. Neat horse.

Indiana Grand Racecourse. Second Race. 5:33. Indiana-bred maiden/optional claiming. That’s a mouthful. Wait, there’s maiden/optional races now?

Kentucky Downs. Seventh Race. 5:35. Regally Ready, winner of 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, goes in $200,000 More Than Ready.

Laurel. 10th Race. 5:40. Second division of Jamestown and the 5/2 morning-line favorite is the Jonathan Sheppard-trained Moon River. Nine of 10 entered are maidens, including five firsters.

Canterbury Park. Ninth Race. 5:42. The Shakopee Juvenile.

Arlington Park. Eighth Race. 5:45. Grade 3 Pucker Up draws Final Redemption, runner up in Tenski Stakes in her second career start, from Fair Hill. Graham Motion trainee draws tough assignment against Aurelia’s Belle and Stellaris, one-two in Grade 3 Arlington Park Oaks in July.

Delaware. 11th Race. 5:54. Debt Ceiling, a good third behind Coup de Grace in Oh Say Stakes last time at Delaware, looks tough in New Castle for 3-year-olds and up going 6 furlongs.

Kentucky Downs. Eighth Race. 6:05. Quay and Kiama were one-two in turf sprint at Saratoga and they are back in $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint against the likes of Sky Treasure, Eden Prarie, Richies Party Girl and maybe Kune Kune.

Laurel Park. 11th Race. 6:10. Hard Enough makes first start off claim for Mike Trombetta in $60,000 Bert Allen Stakes on the grass.

Canterbury. 10th Race. 6:13. Mott in Minnesota. Hall of Famer sends out Long On Value in $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby going 1 mile on turf. Not an easy one with General Jack and Proud Azteca from Mike Maker’s barn and Northern California shipper Argyle Cut in the field.

Kentucky Downs. Ninth Race. 6:35 p.m. Tricky Hat can be a bit of a handful, but he was a pro in the John’s Call last time out at Saratoga. He’s one of 11 entered in $600,000 Kentucky Cup Turf going 12 furlongs. Cool race.

Kentucky Downs. 10th Race. 7:05. Wrap up the card just in time to get ready to watch the Kentucky Wildcats try (and probably fail) to beat the Florida Gators again with the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf. Miz Ida is a great story and one our team wrote about here and here in 2013.