The Saturday Special – May 26

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Everyone dried out from last weekend’s rain at the Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan? Perfect timing with the official start to summer and a big Memorial Day weekend on tap, led by the annual Fair Hill Races, a pair of Grade 1 stakes at Santa Anita Park and a stakes-filled card at Monmouth Park.

We preview the nine-race Fair Hill card elsewhere on the site but everything else is here in The Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud.

The two Grade 1s of the weekend are the Gamely and the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, formerly the Hollywood Gold Cup and a rematch between City Of Light and Accelerate from last month’s Oaklawn Handicap. We also stretched our reach to Opelousas, La., to Evangeline Downs and Saturday night’s Louisiana Legends Day card.

Here’s your primer for Saturday, May 26. We hope you enjoy and have a great Memorial Day weekend. Good luck.

Goodwood. Race 1. 8:55 a.m. Stellar card kicks off here.

Goodwood. Race 2. 9:30. Social Power, 4-for-5 in his career, takes on a tough group in this $135,000 handicap.

Haydock. Race 2. 9:50. Another rich card offered by Haydock. The Silver Bowl Handicap attracts 17 quality 3-year-olds going a mile.

Curragh. Race 3. 10:00. The next superstar. Van Beethoven, a Coolmore-owned son of Scat Daddy, makes it two in a row.

York. Race 3. 10:05. The Al Basti Equineworld Dubai Bronte Cup Fillies Stakes. Now that’s a title. Isabel De Urbina, owned by Merriebelle Irish Farm Limited, returned with style, winning a listed stakes at Goodwood, she could be in store for a big 4-year-old season.

Haydock. Race 3. 10:25. James Garfield failed in the 2,000 Guineas, but he’s back for the Sandy Lane Stakes. Sands Of Mali, beaten 3 ¼ lengths in the Breeders’ Cup, stands long and tall.

Chester. Race 4. 10:30. Redicean lost his win streak in the Triumph Hurdle, the Alan King-trained gelding returns to the flat here.

Curragh. Race 4. 10:35. Tasleet makes his 5-year-old debut, the son of Showcasing ran hard in four consecutive Grade 1 stakes in 2017, finishing second to The Tin Man, Harry Angel and Librisa Breeze.

Haydock. Race 4. 11:00. Battaash makes his 4-year-old debut, he towers above rivals in the Temple Stakes.

Curragh. Race 5. 11:10. The feature on any continent. The Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas. U S Navy Flag leads a three-horse phalanx from Coolmore and Aidan O’Brien. Of course, there are others. Elarqam and Zihba could be any kind.

Curragh. Race 6. 11:45. Add another gold coin to the pile, Hydrangea should land the Lanwades Stud Stakes for Coolmore, Moore and O’Brien.

Monmouth Park. Race 1. 12:50 p.m. The first bundled stakes card of the season opens with 6-furlong claimer on the main track.

Pimlico Race Course. Race 1. 1:10. We save it every year; what a difference a week makes. Last week it rained buckets on a spectacular card. This week, well, check the forecast and start with a two-turn claiming race for $10,000 to $8,000 tags.

Gulfstream Park. Race 2. 1:15. Six 2-year-old fillies go 5 furlongs, including $170,000 Uncaptured first-time starter Catherinethegreat for Mark Casse.

Belterra Park. Race 1. 1:20. Not a chance On The Contrary, a winner in only start last May at Belterra for Wesley Ward, is 3-1 in 5-furlong turf allowance.

Churchill Downs. Race 3. 1:43. Daring Duchess is heavy favorite off three straight graded stakes efforts in $70,000 Keertana going 12 furlongs on the grass. Daughter of Arch is 2-for-2 on the grass in Louisville, including 3-length score in this race last year.

Belmont Park. Race 2. 2:04. Five-horse field for 1 1/2-mile turf allowance. Classic Covey ran well in Grade 2 Pan American, which is turning into a key race, for Bill Mott and is 2-for-2 on the grass at Belmont.

Arlington Park. Race 1. 2:20. Maiden 2-year-olds go 4 1/2 furlongs in opener.

Gulfstream. Race 6. 3:19. Ruler Of The Nile didn’t run well at all last time on wet fast track at Keeneland and returns to one-turn trip for 1-mile optional.

Finger Lakes. Race 7. 3:52. Son Of Sanibel blasted field of state-bred maidens last time and now he stretches from 5 furlongs to 1 mile and moves into open company in $18,000 allowance.

Pimlico. Race 8. 4:26. Fly ran really well when second in Keeneland turf sprint allowance and looks to use tactical style from outside post in this 5-furlong turf allowance for Phil Schoenthal.

Belmont. Race 7. 4:46. Full field of 12 state-breds for 7-furlong allowance on the grass. Tough group to sort; we’ll look at Hannah’s Smile, 2-for-3 at Belmont and coming off layoff for Michelle Nevin.

Churchill. Race 9. 4:55. Honorable Treasure, sixth in last year’s Grade 1 Champagne and off the board in two other stakes, takes on older horses in 7-furlong allowance from the outside post.

Monmouth. Race 9. 4:55. First stakes of the day is $60,000 John J. Reilly Handicap for Jersey-breds going 6 furlongs.

Gulfstream. Race 9. 4:55. Surgical Strike makes first start for Curtis Garrison after winning Grade 3 Arlington Classic and John Battaglia Memorial in 2016 and placing in other stakes for Ben Colebrook. Master Plan also makes first start of the year off layoff.

Pimlico. Race 9. 4:55. The last of four races all with a 4:55 post time is two-turn allowance restricted to Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired horses which have never won a state-bred or state-sired race other than. Victory Rally suits the conditions and should win for Michael Matz.

Woodbine. Race 8. 4:57. Seven line up for Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes and the race looks like it goes through Melmich and Gigantic Breeze. The former is 16-for-32 on Woodbine’s synthetic, while the latter won five times in 2017 including Grade 2 Autumn at the track and trip.

Churchill. Race 10. 5:26. Juddmonte spent $475,000 for Golden Mischief at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale with designs on winning graded stakes. She gets chance in Grade 3 Winning Colors against stablemate Pinch Hit, Treble, Missle Kentucky and Golden Domer.

Monmouth. Race 10. 5:27. Golden Orb, who Christophe Clement was excited to talk about in his Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour last summer, takes on Reversethedecision, So Hi Society, Coffee Crush and Jehozacat in $75,000 Boiling Springs for 3-year-old fillies.

Santa Anita Park. Race 5. 5:30. Smart move running the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita early on the card, allowing easterners getting rolling on their holiday weekend to see rematch of City Of Light and Accelerate. Those two finished 1-2 in Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap and take on Dr. Dorr, Pavel and three others in 1 1/4-mile West Coast fixture.

Belmont. Race 9. 5:50. Gidu is the one to beat in $100,000 Paradise Creek going 7 furlongs on the grass. Son of Frankel is 2-2-0 in four starts for Todd Pletcher and exits victory in small stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Bob Baffert shipped Masked to New York in early with designs on this.

Churchill. Race 11. 5:58. Mercertown, son of Scat Daddy and half brother to graded stakes winner Ahh Chocolate, comes off short freshening for Neil Howard in two-turn maiden.

Monmouth. Race 11. 5:58. Page McKenney is back in the Mid-Atlantic for the Grade 3 Salvator Mile, taking on the likes of Sunny Ridge, Chip Leader, Shaft Of Light and Great Stuff in $100,000 co-feature.

Santa Anita. Race 6. 6:00. Itsinthepost ran his race last time when third in Grade 2 Dixiana Elkhorn at Keeneland; now he’s back home for Grade 2 Charles Whittingham against many familiar foes like Flamboyant, Frank Conversation and Syntax.

Arlington. Race 8. 6:13. Brad Cox ships Ezmosh north from Churchill for Grade 3 Arlington Classic. Son of Tizway won turf debut in late March at Fair Grounds after connections flirted a bit with Triple Crown trail this winter. Alternative Route makes first start on grass off win in Rushaway on synthetic last time for Al Stall Jr.

Monmouth. Race 12. 6:29. Divisidero and Frostmourne were rained out last week in the Dixie and they’re back for the Grade 2 Monmouth. So is Money Multiplier, who won this last year and hasn’t been out since late February when third in $1 million race in Qatar.

Evangeline Downs. Race 1. 6:50. Louisiana Legends card opens with $75,000 Louisiana Legends Cheval for 3-year-olds going 1 mile.

Santa Anita. Race 8. 7:00. Uni and Hawksmoor ship from the East Coast for the Grade 1 Gamely, where they’ll take on Beau Recall, Madam Dancealot and Madame Stripes.

Evangeline. Race 2. 7:20. Extra Credit should win the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Turf for Brad Cox and Klein Racing.

Evangeline. Race 3. 7:50. Pacific Pink loves Evangeline – daughter of Private Vow is 5-for-6 with a second – and stands out in $75,000 Louisiana Legends Distaff.

Evangeline. Race 4. 8:20. Testing One Two is 2-for-2 against Louisiana-breds, and she beat open company in small stakes at Delta Downs in January. She’s the one to beat in $75,000 Louisiana Legends Soiree, but don’t count out Saints’ Girl.

Evangeline. Race 5. 8:50. Field of 11 led by the Larry Jones-trained Ours To Run for the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle going 5 1/2 furlongs.

Evangeline. Race 7. 9:50. Monte Man takes four-race win streak into $75,000 Louisiana Legends Sprint.

Evangeline. Race 8. 10:20. Mobile Bay brings five-race win streak and looks to improve off second in last year’s Louisiana Legends Classic in this year’s $100,000 renewal.