The Saturday Special – June 25

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Bell’s The One (second from left) and Sconsin (far right) finished 1-2 in last year’s Roxelana Overnight and meet again in Saturday’s Grade 3 Chicago at Churchill Downs.
Coady Photography.

Now we’re getting serious. The clock ticked past three weeks to go until Opening Day of Saratoga this week and now we’re in the final stages of the biggest countdown of the year.

Hard to believe by this time next week we’ll be halfway through 2022. How’s the year going for you so far? Better finish a few things from that list you made months ago; the next thing you’ll know it will be Labor Day.

In the meantime, we have another big weekend on tap with a slightly abbreviated edition of The Special. Blame it on summertime snafus or time away from home, or better yet, learning the ins and outs of our new website. You’re seeing it now, perhaps for the first time. It’s a work in progress but we’re excited for all the opportunities it brings.

Here’s your primer for Saturday, June 25. Enjoy.

By the Numbers

12: Students from the Belmont Child Care Association’s early childhood education program honored with a graduation ceremony Tuesday at Anna House.

12: Winners of the Mother Goose since 1957 that are in the Hall of Fame: Cicada, Dark Mirage, Chris Evert, Ruffian, Davona Dale, Mom’s Command, Open Mind, Go For Wand, Serena’s Song and Rachel Alexandra.

19: Days until Opening Day at Saratoga. Don’t forget to book those ads.

365: Day suspension for racing or training activities at all NYRA tracks, handed down to Bob Baffert by three-person panel this week. Baffert is already credited with 59 days served and can resume training or racing at NYRA tracks Jan. 25, 2023.

999: Wins for jockey Alonso Quinonez heading into the weekend.

1998: Wins for trainer Roger Attfield through Thursday.

8,750,000: Dollars in purses offered for the 22 stakes on the Keeneland fall meeting schedule.

Worth Repeating

“She’s a tough girl. We just stay out of her way. She’s feeling good and she’s happy.”
Trainer John Terranova on multiple New York-bred stakes winner Bank Sting, who runs in Sunday’s Dancin Renee at Belmont Park

“She came out of the Oaks in good shape. I’m going to cross a line through that race and just regroup with her.”
Trainer Jorge Abreu on Venti Valentine, last of 14 in the Kentucky Oaks and entered in Saturday’s Grade 2 Mother Goose at Belmont

Handicapper’s Corner

The handicappers take a swing through the Midwest this week, scouring for winners on Thistledown’s Ohio Derby Day card. It’s the biggest day of the year in the Buckeye State and they put together an 11-race program topped by the $500,000 headliner to bring the curtain down.

Here are the picks for Saturday, June 25 at Thistledown. Good luck.

John Shapazian (53/236):
1-Infront entry, Wwinspired, Prophetess.
2-Corner Office, Country Take Out, Cadillac Ride.
3-Wildcat Bill, Duke Of Darkness, Country Ruckus.
4-Irish Charm entry, Mr Lightning Boy, Free Speech.
5-Sabelle, Alita, My Dancing Queen.
6-Dougie D Oro, Urieta entry, Totellyouthetruth.
7-Agnello entry, Woodlawn Walk, Concrete Glory.
8-Tantrum, Country Club Bobby, Rumble Strip Ron.
9-First Song, Relish The Ride, Aunt Bee.
10-Army Wife, Crazy Beautiful, Take Charge Lorin.
11-Ethereal Road, Tawny Port, Barese.

Tom Law (60/236):
1-Prophetess, Busybeing Fabulous, Layitonthick.
2-Country Take Out, Cooler, Corner Office.
3-Masterofthehounds, Duke Of Darkness, Wolfline.
4-Mr Lightning Boy, Iconic, Unyielding.
5-Sabelle, Central Parking, Runonfaith.
6-Beer Chaser, Dougie D Oro, Into The Out.
7-Woodland Walk, Kadri, Concrete Glory.
8-Country Club Bobby, Tantrum, Rumble Strip Ron.
9-First Song, Aunt Bee, Authentic Cowtown.
10-Army Wife, Crazy Beautiful, Maracuja.
11-White Abarrio, Tawny Port, Classic Causeway.

Charles Bedard (50/236):
1-Wwinspired, Layitonthick, Johnson entry.
2-Corner Office, Country Take Out, Dougs Morning Pick.
3-Wolfine, Susie’s Kid, Masterofthehounds.
4-Johnson entry, Unyielding, Free Speech.
5-Sabelle, Alita, My Dancing Queen.
6-Dougie D Oro, Beer Chaser, So Dialed In.
7-Skerrett entry, Kadri, Woodland Walk.
8-Sammy’s Smile, Rumble Strip Ron, Silence.
9-Authentic Cowtown, Big Truck, Aunt Bee.
10-Army Wife, Crazy Beautiful, Microcap.
11-Tawny Port, Barese, Ethereal Road.

Rob Whitlock (52/236):
1-Prophetess, Layitonthick, Wwinspired.
2-Corner Office, Catman Jack, Dougs Morning Pick.
3-Masterofthehounds, Traitor Among Us, Wolfline.
4-Mr Lightning Boy, Smokin Hot Energy, Fox On the Run.
5-Sabelle, Runonfaith, Miss Enciso.
6-Beer Chaser, So Dialed In, Totellyouthetruth.
7-Concrete Glory, Skerret entry, Lazarus Project.
8-Stunt Man, Tantrum, Country Club Bobby.
9-Aunt Bee, Big Truck, First Song.
10-Army Wife, Crazy Beautiful, Maracuja.
11-White Abarrio, Tawny Port, Ethereal Road.

Jessica Paquette (54/236):
1-Prophetess, Hosanna, Beautiful Victoria.
2-Catman Jack, Corner Office, Country Take Out.
3-Wolfine, Wildcat Bill, Duke Of Darkness.
4-Fox On The Run, Keyed On Top, Venetian Dream.
5-My Dancing Queen, Sabelle, Central Parking.
6-Totellyouthetruth, Into The Out, So Dialed In.
7-Lazarus Project, Kadri, Ahimelech.
8-Mr Loooch, Tantrum, Rumble Strip Ron.
9-First Song, Ohio Eagle, Aunt Bee.
10-Maracuja, Army Wife, Candlelight Hours.
11-Tawny Port, Brigadier General, Ethereal Road.

As for the races …

Belmont Park. Race 1. 1:00. New York-bred 2-year-old fillies kick off the card.

Churchill Downs. Race 2. 1:14. Topsy and Watch This Munny make their debuts for Steve Asmussen in 5-furlong maiden for 2-year-old fillies. That also draws firsters from D. Wayne Lukas, Wayne Catalano, Kelsey Danner, Ian Wilkes and Brad Cox.

Belmont. Race 3. 2:03. Early stakes on the card, the $100,000 Wild Applause for 3-year-old fillies going 1 mile. Three of the five are trained by Chad Brown.

Churchill. Race 5. 2:45. Former stakes competitors Sprawl, Background, Twilight Blue, Fulsome, Chess Chief, Heart Rhythm and Mailman Money line up for $148,000 allowance-optional at 1 1/16 miles.

Thistledown. Race 8. 3:18. The $75,000 Daniel Stearns Cleveland Gold Cup kicks off the late all-stakes Pick 4. Nine furlongs for 3-year-old Ohio-breds. Several from the Green Carpet Stakes are back, including the first four across the line in Country Club Bobby, Rumble Strip Ron, Sammy’s Smile and Tantrum.

Thistledown. Race 9. 3:57. Big field of 13 older Ohio-breds for the  $75,000 George Lewis Memorial at 1 1/16 miles.

Belmont. Race 8. 4:40. Field of five for the Grade 2 Mother Goose, including Kentucky Oaks also-rans Shahama and Venti Valentine, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Juju’s Map and last year’s Grade 1 Frizette runner-up and Tempted winner Gerrymander.

Monmouth Park. Race 11. 4:47. Robin Sparkles scratched out of the Intercontinental Stakes two weeks ago at Belmont Park and is one of a dozen fillies and mares entered here in the $100,000 Goldwood Stakes going 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass.

Thistledown. Race 10. 4:48. Tough to top the trio of Army Wife, Crazy Beautiful and Maracuja here in the $250,000 Lady Jacqueline. Seven others will try.

Churchill. Race 9. 4:55. The race of the day, the Grade 3 Chicago featuring Bell’s The One, Sconsin, Bayerness, Lady Rocket and Four Graces.

Gulfstream Park. Race 10. 5:20. Grand Ave Girl looks to add another stakes win on the South Florida synthetic in the $75,000 Powder Break for trainer David Fawkes.

Thistledown. Race 11. 5:35. The main event, the Grade 3 Ohio Derby came up a little stronger than recent years with Florida Derby winner White Abarrio and Lexington Stakes winner Tawny Port, who both ran in the Kentucky Derby, in the field. Classic Causeway also tries to rebound from his 11th in the Kentucky Derby in his first start for trainer Ken McPeek. Ethereal Road, who scratched from the Derby and came back in two weeks to win the Sir Barton at Pimlico, and the New York-bred duo of Barese and Pineapple Man could also be tough. Good race.

Pleasanton. Race 7. 7:45. She’s A Tiger broke her maiden at Pleasanton back in 2013 before going on to a career that featured victories in the Landaluce and Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, and a runner-up after she was disqualified in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. They named a race for her, and here’s the $75,000 She’s A Tiger for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles.

Los Alamitos Race Course. Race 9. 8:58. First stakes on the first day of the meeting, the $100,000 Bertrando for older Cal-breds at 1 mile. Desmond Doss and Fashionabily Fast top the field of five.

Prairie Meadows Racetrack. Race 9. 10:26. Now here’s a stakes we can get behind, the $65,000 John Wayne for Iowa-breds at 6 furlongs. Not sure if it’s named for The Duke, but we’ll go with it.

Photo of author

Tom Law

Tom Law is the managing editor of ST Publishing, Inc., parent company of thisishorseracing.com and The Saratoga Special. He lives in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
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