The Saturday Special – May 11

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Back in action after a one-week hiatus for all the goings on at Churchill Downs and another loaded edition of The Saturday Special to keep everyone busy the weekend between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

The Man o’ War Racing Festival tops the docket with five graded stakes at Belmont Park topped by the Grade 1 Man o’ War on the grass. The other stakes on Belmont’s card are the Peter Pan, Beaugay, Vagrancy and Runhappy.

Those aren’t the only graded stakes in the U.S. Saturday, with Arlington Park and Santa Anita Park hosting one apiece. Elsewhere there’s racing from Churchill, Delaware Park, Gulfstream, Monmouth, Pimlico, Woodbine and more.

Here’s your primer for Saturday, May 11. And don’t forget Mother’s Day Sunday. Take care and good luck.

Belterra Park. Race 1. 12:35 p.m. Allowance for Ohio-breds starts the Saturday card in Cincinnati.

Churchill Downs. Race 1. 12:45. A week removed from the big day and a more manageable first post. The opener s 6-furlong optional featuring stakes compettors Wilbo, Silver Ride, Petrov and Storm Advisory.

Monmouth Park. Race 1. 12:50. The Jersey Shore came alive last weekend – at least by way of racing. How’d we miss it? Oh right, the Derby. Here’s the second Saturday opener, a $5,000 claimer on the main track.

Pimlico Race Course. Race 1. 1:10. Rev up because in a week’s time Old Hilltop will be hopping, Kentucky Derby winner or DQ’d Kentucky Derby “winner” or not.

Delaware Park. Race 1. 1:15. Racing returned to Stanton last weekend; how’d we miss it? Ah well, same story as Monmouth. Maiden claimer going 1 mile on the main track opens the card.

Belmont Park. Race 1. 1:30. How about this for an opener? The Grade 3 Vagrancy attracts only five but they include Pacific Gale, Dawn The Destroyer, Separationofpowers and Holiday Disguise.

Belterra. Race 4. 2:02. Two Shakes, a maiden winner on the grass at Saratoga in her debut last summer for Wesley Ward, ships up from Keeneland for 5-furlong allowance on the turf. Morning-line price of 3-1 seems a bit long for daughter of Exchange Rate. Take it.

Belmont. Race 2. 2:02. Jimmy Jerkens sends out two – Skywriting and Lion Dancer – in 1-mile maiden for 3-year-olds and up.

Gulfstream Park. Race 4. 2:17. Always wise to keep tabs on the 2-year-old races in South Florida for clues down the road. Here’s a 5-furlong maiden for fillies.

Belmont. Race 3. 2:34. First grass race of the day is 6-furlong allowance on the inner course.

Monmouth. Race 5. 2:48. Solent, daughter of Hard Spun out of Sightseek, tries grass for the first time and in her debut outside New York for Juddmonte and Chad Brown in 1 1/16-mile maiden.

Pimlico. Race 5. 3:02. Remember when Visa executive Carl Pascarella used to pop up at the Triple Crown every year, ready to give up a $5 million check for a possible sweep? He’s an owner and breeder, too, and his Animal Kingdom filly Safari Queen makes her debut in 1-mile turf maiden for Graham Motion.

Belmont. Race 4. 3:08. Any chance there’s a Belmont contender or two in the Grade 3 Peter Pan? The race that’s produced a share of Belmont Stakes winners over the years features five runners led by the 2-for-2 Intrepid Heart, Fountain of Youth fifth Global Campaign and Wood Memorial sixth Final Jeopardy. The latter goes out for Gary and Mary West and trainer Jason Servis, no doubt still stinging from Kentucky Derby DQ.

Monmouth. Race 6. 3:18. Point To Remember returns for 4-year-old campaign for owner/breeder Stronach Stables and Jimmy Jerkens in two-turn optional on the main track.

Gulfstream. Race 7. 3:55. State-bred maiden 2-year-old fillies go 4 1/2 furlongs for $52,000. Mark Casse sends out two in Dienda and Capture The Genie while Jonathan Thomas goes with Embur’s Zip.

Delaware. Race 7. 3:57. Desert Spring looks to make it back-to-back for Godolphin and Michael Stidham in 6-furlong allowance. Son of Ghostzapper took six tries to break maiden so perhaps another like Threes Over Deuces or Manipulated might work better.

Santa Anta Park. Race 1. 4:00. All quiet out of Arcadia of late – that’s a very good thing – and nine-race card starts with 5-furlong maiden on the grass for fillies and mares.

Woodbine. Race 7. 4:27. Intent To Strike, off since last July and gelded, makes return in sprint allowance on the main track.

Belmont. Race 7. 4:45. A half dozen for the Grade 3 Beaugay, including European import Homerique for Chad Brown and Peter Brant and her stablemate and Grade 1 American Oaks winner Competitionofideas.

Pimlico. Race 9. 4:55. Second division of 1-mile turf maiden for older females looks like spot for Pepper Pot to break her maiden, but don’t count out Alleria, Madding Crowd or Gracely.

Churchill. Race 9. 4:55. Funny Duck, 39-1 upset winner of last year’s Grade 3 Pat Day Mile, drops to allowance-optional ranks for the first time in 2019 debut.

Monmouth. Race 9. 4:55. If you’ve ever been to Saratoga you know East and Union. How about the Into Mischief filly East And Union? She looks to improve stretching out on the grass for Bill Parcells and Jeremiah Englehart in maiden for fillies and mares.

Woodbine. Race 8. 4:59. The $100,000 Ballade for older fillies and mares by a sire standing in Ontario for entire season of year of conception. Scotty’s Model should be tough in field that also includes Zestina, Summer Sunday and Silent Sonet.

Belmont. Race 8. 5:18. Graham Motion and George Strawbridge Jr. aimed high with Varenka last fall, running her in three stakes that included Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf after good performance in her debut. She returns for 2019 bow and in logical maiden race on the grass.

Monmouth. Race 10. 5:25. When the upstarts tell you about how “great” some of the recent 3-year-old fillies are, cue up some races from Serena’s Song and give them an education. Here’s the $75,000 Serena’s Song Stakes with a field of six.

Churchill. Race 10. 5:26. Catherinethegreat, winner of last year’s Grade 3 Schuylerville Opening Day at Saratoga, tries turf for the first time and meets Chelsea Cloisters, Abyssinian, Play On and others in $100,000 Mamzelle at 5 furlongs.

Santa Anita. Race 4. 5:31. Not many more chances for straight 3-year-olds to run in the maiden ranks. One-mile heat features a couple from John Sadler’s barn in Commanding Chief and Air Boss along with the turf-to-dirt son of Tiznow Time Is Now for Richard Mandella and Mike Smith.

Gulfstream. Race 10. 5:34. The $100,000 Big Drama for state-breds at 7 furlongs could be spot for Garter And Tie to get back on track after close loss to fellow 3-year-olds in small stakes last time.

Arlington Park. Race 7. 5:35. Field of 11 for Grade 3 Hanshin Cup. Remember Reride? Fourth in last year’s Jim Dandy at Saratoga, he makes second start of 2019 and second for Ignacio Correas in 1-mile stakes at a decent price on the morning line. Tough to say who’s the one to beat. Most likely Nun The Less, second last time in Grade 3 Ben Ali in return to synthetic track, where he’s 3-for-5.

Belmont. Race 9. 5:51. Runhappy didn’t race at Belmont during his brief career but he’s got a $150,000 stakes named for him. Prep for next month’s True North over Belmont Stakes Racing Festival is led by graded stakes winners Firenze Fire and Recruiting Ready and Carter runner-up Skyler’s Scramjet.

Santa Anita. Race 5. 6:03. The featured Grade 3 Santa Barbara coming off the downhill turf course going 12 furlongs. Causeforcommotion finished second in last year’s edition and exits decent mid-April prep in lone start of 2019 for Eric Kruljac.

Arlington. Race 8. 6:07. Echoes Of Laughter won first and only start last May for Larry Rivelli and makes return in 5-furlong optional, for the $75,000 tag. Rivelli always tough in spots like this, especially with horses off the layoff.

Belmont. Race 10. 6:24. Aidan O’Brien sends two from Ireland in Magic Wand and Hunting Horn for featured Grade 1 Man o’ War. The former finished fifth in Dubai Sheema Classic after a second in Pegasus World Cup Turf back in January here in the U.S. She’ll be tough against U.S.-based field led by Channel Maker, Focus Group, Arklow and Zulu Alpha.

Santa Anita. Race 6. 6:33. Ce Cee impressed breaking her maiden in debut last month for Michael McCarthy and daughter of Elusive Quality looks to make it 2-for-2 in optional for older fillies and mares.

Arlington. Race 9. 6:36. Two-turn maiden for fillies and mares to close the card.

Santa Anita. Race 8. 7:33. Bob Baffert loads up with pair – Hot Sean from the rail and Once On Whiskey from the outside – in 6 1/2-furlong optional.

Santa Anita. Race 9. 8:03. Open maiden for 3-year-olds going 5 furlongs on the grass closes the card and the day. Happy Mother’s Day!