Weekend Lineup Presented By NYRA Bets: Fillies Take The Spotlight At The Spa

The undefeated Kentucky Oaks-winning filly Malathaat returns to the track this Saturday at Saratoga to contest the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks; the Todd Pletcher-trained daughter of Curlin scared off all but three competitors in the nine-furlong contest. The G3 Caress is also carded for Saturday at the Spa, with New York-bred Robin Sparkles attempting to keep her win streak alive against a field of six.

Saratoga’s graded stakes action kicks off on Friday afternoon with the G3 Lake George Stakes, in which trainer Chad Brown will saddle four of the nine starters. Interestingly, Centre Court, the dam of Lake George contender Navratilova (named for the famous tennis player), won the 2012 Lake George for trainer Rusty Arnold, who sends out Navratilova.

On the opposite coast, Saturday’s Del Mar action features a graded stakes doubleheader on the turf, with the G2 Eddie Read and G2 San Clemente sharing the spotlight. Seven rivals line up in the Eddie Read, including G1 winner Smooth Like Strait and multiple G2 winner United, while a full field of 12 sophomore fillies will face off in the San Clemente.

The New York Racing Association Inc. (NYRA) will host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday featuring action from historic Saratoga Race Course as well as stakes competition from Woodbine Racetrack and Monmouth Park.

Here’s a quick snapshot of this weekend’s graded stakes schedule (all times Eastern):

3:23 p.m. – $500,000 Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga

Malathaat has proven herself more than capable in her five career starts thus far, able to both draw away from her competition and prevail in an absolute dogfight to the wire. The 3-year-old Curlin filly easily moved to the top of her division after out-battling Search Results in the Kentucky Oaks, after which trainer Todd Pletcher gave her a nice two-month break before bringing her back for this 1 1/8-mile contest.

The CCA Oaks drew just three competitors for Malathaat, the most accomplished of which is Clairiere for trainer Steve Asmussen. Another daughter of Curlin, this Stonestreet homebred ran fourth behind the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks and returned to run third in the G2 Mother Goose at Belmont last month, beaten 1 1/4 lengths after stumbling badly at the start.

Maracuja ran second in the G2 Gazelle to earn her way into the run for the lilies, but could do no better than seventh behind Malathaat on that day. The Rob Atras trainee will be making her first start since the Kentucky Oaks.

The field is completed by longshot Rockpaperscissors for trainer Rodolphe Brisset, a last-out allowance winner by 9 3/4 lengths at Indiana Grand. The Distorted Humor filly has reason to improve in her second start off a nine-month layoff, but will have to improve a lot to be competitive with this bunch.

CCA Oaks Entries

6:13 p.m. – $200,000 Grade 3 Caress Stakes at Saratoga

After taking on and defeating open company last out, New York-bred Robin Sparkles returns with an attempt to step up her game to the graded stakes level in the Caress. Trained by Bruce Brown, the 4-year-old daughter of Elusive Quality is riding a two-race win streak and has not finished worse than second in her last eight starts.

The second choice on the morning line is Elizabeth M. Merryman’s Caravel, a four-time stakes winner also riding a two-race win streak ahead of the Caress. Coming from off-the-pace is her game, but the inside post position may be a factor as the front-running Robin Sparkles has drawn immediately to her outside in post two.

Caress Entries

8:30 p.m. – $250,000 Grade 2 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar

Morning-line favorite Smooth Like Strait won the G1 Shoemaker Mile last out, but will need to stretch his speed another furlong against the older, longer-winded United to capture this Saturday’s Eddie Read Stakes. The nine furlongs appeared just outside his scope when Smooth Like Strait was run down late in the G1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, but the form of that race’s dead-heat winner Domestic Spending has certainly been nothing to downplay.

United won the 1 1/2-mile G3 San Luis Rey to kick off his 2021 campaign, but was a very dull fourth and last as the favorite last time out in the G2 Charles Whittingham Stakes. If anyone knows how to turn United’s form around, however, it’s his trainer Richard Mandella, and a sharp five-furlong work in 58 4/5 seconds on July 18 indicates the 6-year-old should be ready for this contest.

Trainer Phil D’Amato will enter a pair of Ontario-breds in Say the Word and Count Again. The former ran second behind Smooth Like Strait in the Shoemaker last out and was gaining late, so the extra furlong will be to his benefit in the Eddie Read. Count Again ran fourth behind Smooth Like Strait (third) in the Turf Classic, and will need to improve another length to beat that rival over the same distance here.

Eddie Read Entries

9:30 p.m. – $200,000 Grade 2 San Clemente Stakes at Del Mar

Going Global has done nothing but win since her move stateside, and is the heavy favorite in this one-mile turf contest for 3-year-old fillies.

Closing Remarks has been the closest to the favorite in several of her efforts this year. She clipped heels at the start of the G3 Providencia last out and showed grit by coming six-wide from well off the pace to finish third. Another step forward after that effort could put her nearer the level of Going Global.

San Clemente Entries

Here is a snapshot of the other weekend graded stakes in North America, courtesy of NTRA:

Friday, July 23

5:39 p.m. – $150,000 Grade 3 Lake George Stakes at Saratoga on FS2

Hall of Fame and seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher is represented in the Grade 3 Lake George Stakes at one mile over Saratoga’s inner turf course by morning line favorite Jouster, a Noble Mission (GB) filly owned by Starlight Racing and Glen Hill Farm. Jouster, who will break from post 5 in the field of 10 3-year-old fillies under Luis Saez, recorded the field’s best Beyer of 88 in her Grade 2 Appalachian score at Keeneland in April. Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown has four entered in the Lake George and looks to extend his winning streak in this race to three and add to his record total of four Lake George wins. Leading the way for Brown is Klaravich Stables’ Technical Analysis (IRE). From post 8, Jose Ortiz will pilot Technical Analysis, who exits the 1 1/8-mile Grade 3 Wonder Again Stakes on the Belmont Park turf where she ran sixth in her first stakes start. Brown also sends out Minaun (IRE), a last out runner-up in Belmont’s 1-mile Wild Applause on June 26. Owned by Bradley Thoroughbreds, Iris Smith Stable and Rigney Racing, Minaun will break on the far outside in post 10 under Manny Franco. Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Robert LaPenta’s Amy C (GB) and Head of Plains Partners’ Fluffy Sox complete Brown’s quartet. Amy C won her only start in Brown’s care on June 25 at Belmont after starting her career in France and will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr from post 6. Fluffy Sox earned a graded stake win as a juvenile in the 1-mile Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes on the Del Mar turf and finished fifth last out in the Wonder Again. Joel Rosario will pilot the daughter of Slumber (GB) from post 3.

Lake George Entries

Saturday, July 24

10:35 a.m. – $1,199,000 Group 1 King George and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes on TVG and RTN

The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes, Europe’s midsummer showpiece and a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Longines Turf, headlines this weekend’s racing at Ascot in the England. With Enable now retired after a record-breaking third win in the race last year, the stage is set for a new star of the middle-distance division to emerge. Aidan O’Brien is set to send out a formidable pair in the King George: Love, the dual-Classic winning filly from last year who made a perfect seasonal debut when winning the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Broome, recent winner of the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. The field also includes Godolphin’s Group 1 Epsom Derby winner Adayar and John and Thady Godden’s Mishriff. Hardwicke Stakes winner Wonderful Tonight and the impressive 3-year-old Lone Eagle complete a small but stellar field of six.

King George and Queen Elizabeth Entries

3:43 p.m. $175,000 Grade 2 Nassau Stakes on TVG

Fox Hill Farm’s Jolie Olimpica (BRZ) headlines a full and balanced field of 12 entered in Saturday’s Grade 2 Nassau Stakes from Woodbine in Canada. Undefeated in her native Brazil in three starts in 2019, Jolie Olimpica has raced exclusively against graded stakes company since being imported to the United States, winning two of six starts. Jolie Olimpica, the 5-2 favorite in the Nassau, finished third as the beaten favorite in the Grade 3 San Simeon in her most recent start in March. Another Time, a winner of two of four starts at Woodbine, is the second choice in the morning line at 6-1.

Nassau Entries

4:19 p.m. $200,000 Grade 3 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup 

Three Diamond Farm’s graded stakes winner Field Pass has been installed the 8-5 favorite against five other contenders in Saturday’s $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup at Pimlico. Field Pass is winless in three races in 2021, however, two of those losses came by narrow margins against formidable competition in the Grade I Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland in April and the Grade 2 Wise Dan Stakes at Churchill Downs in June. Victor Carrasco is named to ride Field Pass, who is trained by Mike Maker.

Two other graded stakes winners will contest the BWI Turf Cup: Godolphin’s homebred 2020 Grade 2 Del Mar Derby winner Pixelate, and Calumet Farm’s 5-year-old English, winner of the 2019 Grade 3 Virginia Derby.

BWI Turf Cup Entries

Sunday, July 25

5:39 p.m. – $200,000 Grade 3 Shuvee Stakes on FS2

Millionaire Dunbar Road headlines a field of seven fillies and mares in the 1 1/8-mile Grade 3 Shuvee Stakes on Saratoga’s main track. An earner of $1,210,740 for owner Peter Brant and trainer Chad Brown, the 5-year-old mare finished 5th in her only 2021 start in the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes presented by Twinspires.com at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. Dunbar Road, a daughter of Quality Road, recorded her lone career Grade 1 victory when she took the 2019 Alabama Stakes over Saratoga’s main track. Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the mount from post 4. WinStar Stablemates Racing’s Crystal Ball starts from post 6 under Luis Saez and will try to maintain her perfect record in 2021. The 4-year-old Malibu Moon filly has won each of her three starts this year and most recently took the 1 1/8-mile listed Lady Jacqueline Stakes at Thistledown. Crystal Ball, trained by Rodolphe Brisset, is winless in two Saratoga starts but was runner-up to Paris Lights by a head in the 2020 Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks. Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott sends out Antoinette, a 4-year-old Hard Spun filly owned by Godolphin. In her most recent start, Antoinette finished second to Letruska, the 5-year-old mare who has spent three consecutive weeks as No. 1 in the weekly NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. In her only previous start over the Saratoga main track, Antoinette finished 3rd in last year’s Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, won by the Mott-trained Paris Lights. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will guide Antoinette from post 5.

Shuvee Stakes Entries

The post Weekend Lineup Presented By NYRA Bets: Fillies Take The Spotlight At The Spa appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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