The Saturday Special – May 20

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Is there life beyond Pimlico Saturday? Of course, there’s life beyond Pimlico. We’ve got action from Newbury to Hazel Park, Bangor to Charles Town. Weave this into the Pimlico card and you won’t miss a thing, here’s your Saturday Special.

Newbury. Race 1. 8:50 a.m. The Group 3 Al Rayyan Stakes kicks off a strong card at Newbury. Group 2 winner Across The Stars, away since August, walks into the lion’s cage with the likes of Midterm, Hawkbill and Chemical Charge.

Bangor. Race 1. 8:55. How the mighty have fallen. Hargam, third in the 2015 Triumph Hurdle, seeks his first chase win, at Bangor, in May.

Newmarket. Race 1. 9:05. Rain has come to Newmarket. The Betway Fairway Stakes for 3-year-olds starts off a solid Saturday card.

Newbury. Race 2. 9:20. Koropick and Perfect Angel, placed in graded stakes as juveniles, return for their 3-year-old debuts in the Shalaa Carnarvon Stakes.

Newmarket. Race 2. 9:40. Beat The Bank puts his undefeated record on the line in the Betway King Charles II Stakes. Seven Heavens, a son of Frankel, won his first two starts last year but hasn’t won since. He tries to right the ship here. 

Auteuil. 9:45. Maggie Bryant’s Device, seeking win No. 14, defends his home country in the Prix les Grandes Gueules du Sport, a Grade 2 hurdle. The challenges come loud and proud as L’Ami Serge ventures from England for Nicky Henderson and Shaneshill and Open Eagle hail from Ireland for Willie Mullins.

Newbury. Race 3. 9:55. A 3-year-old handicap going a mile and a quarter on the turf, wow, what an idea. The idea attracts 14 horses looking to work their way up to being stakes horses going long and longer on the turf.

Newbury. Race 4. 10:30. A big purse of $430,500 offered in the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes. Aclaim rides a three-race win streak, Dutch Connection exits the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Galileo Gold dances all the dances, Lightning Spear chased Minding and Ribchester in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in October, Ribchester finished third in the Dubai Turf in March and Coolmore throws yet another high-class filly, Somehow, against the boys. Some race.

Newbury. Race 5. 11:05. Two-year-olds clash in the Olympic Glory Conditions Stakes. Starlight Mystery and The Love Doctor make their fourth starts. It’s May. Denaar wins.

Navan. Race 4. 11:10. Aidan O’Brien (who else?) aims Belgravia and Finn McCool, daughters of Galileo (who else?) at the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Yeats Stakes.

Newbury. Race 6. 11:40. Aljezeera, a daughter of Frankel, makes her 3-year-old debut in the Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes.

Newbury. Race 7. 12:10 p.m. The Toronado Handicap, a 17-horse scrum, closes a stellar card.

Gulfstream Park. Race 2. 1:34. Juveniles, including homebreds for Wesley Ward, GoldMark Farm and Robert LaPenta, on the turf.

Belmont Park. Race 3. 1:51. Highland Sky, dodging the weather all spring, finds an allowance spot as a stakes prep.

Gulfstream. Race 4. 2:36. Stakes-placed Gemologister, the Meteoroid of flat racing, tries to break his maiden in start No. 23. 

Penn National Race Course. Race 4. 2:51. Wildcat Cartridge will win.

Santa Anita Park. Race 1. 3:00. What a view. What an advantage. California-bred What A View has sparred with the best in the Arcadia, Kilroe Mile and Makers 46 Mile in his last three. He’ll relish the drop back to state-breds in the Crystal Water.

Woodbine. Race 6. 3:51. Aiken still produces runners. City Boy spent the winter there and nearly won his debut in April. The son of City Zip will win this, a tough maiden turf.

Canterbury Park. Race 3. 3:59. On our bucket list of tracks, the Minnesota oval hosts the 10,000 Lakes, a restricted state-bred stakes going 6 furlongs. Hold For More and Bourbon County renew their rivalry.

Belmont. Race 7. 4:17. How loaded is Jimmy Jerkens? He sends out Team Of Teams in the Soaring Softly. Of course, Jimmy Toner and Phillips Racing deserve to win the race with Bellavais.

Woodbine. Race 7. 4:24. The Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes looks like a sweet spot for Are You Kidding Me. Roger Attfield’s veteran won it last year and will win it again this year.

Canterbury. Race 4. 4:31. Rockin The Bleu’s, seeking win No. 10, takes on five familiar rivals in the Lady Slipper.

Monmouth Park. Race 9. 4:52. The New Jersey track is facing hard times, but it puts together a strong Saturday card led by this second-level allowance on the turf. Dickinson, Motion and Delacour, among others, signed up for it.

Thistledown. Race 7. 5:20. You’ve got to like Justalittlesmoke who is always on fire, the Ohio-bred daughter of Smoke Glacken has compiled 12 wins, six seconds and two thirds in, yup, 20 starts. 

Churchill Downs. Race 10. 5:21. Ashland winner Weep No More returns for her first start since finishing fourth in the Alabama last summer. She breaks from the rail in the Grade 3 Matron.

Parx Racing. Race 10. 5:34. The Man has become the man since leaving California. The Pennsylvania-bred has shaken off a nearly two-year layoff to win three in a row for John Servis.

Churchill. Race 11. 5:51. Nessy might upset the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap. Or maybe not, it’s deep with 12 runners, including Kaigun, Danish Dynaformer and Twilight Eclipse, making his first start for Graham Motion.

Gulfstream. Race 10. 5:54. Mike Trombetta ships Forest Boyce and Souper Lucky for The Big Drama.

Santa Anita. Race 8. 7:20. West Coast exits a head loss in the Lexington, he drops back to the allowance ranks for Bob Baffert.

Santa Anita. Race 9. 8:00. The Kona Gold. Lord Simba and Eastwood square off again, they were 1-2 in the Los Angeles in April. Eastwood might have needed that one, he had been away for 22 months.

Charles Town Races. Race 7. 9:49. Still going strong? West Virginia-bred fillies and mares clash in the Fancy Buckles.

Hazel Park. Race 8. 10:15. If you stand Gun Power, you might have something to advertise after this one. The son of Unbridled sired four out of the five runners.