Weekend Lineup Presented By NYRA Bets: Grade 1 Sprinters To Line Up On Both Coasts

A pair of Grade 1 sprints on opposite coasts highlight this Saturday’s stakes action, with the G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt taking place at Saratoga and the G1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar. In addition, juvenile champion and Belmont Stakes winner Essential Quality will return to action in the G2 Jim Dandy Stakes at the Spa, and 2020 Kentucky Oaks winner Shedaresthedevil will ship west to contest Sunday’s G1 Clement Hirsch.

The Vanderbilt features reigning sprint champion Whitmore seeking his first win of his 8-year-old campaign, while Firenze Fire will attempt to turn the tables after finishing third behind Whitmore in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Morning-line favoritism goes to Michevious Alex, the G1-winning sprinter who shortens back up to six furlongs after running third in the Met Mile.

Meanwhile, the Bing Crosby offers a deep field of nine including divisional leader C Z Rocket. After twice defeating Whitmore at Oaklawn Park over the winter, C Z Rocket will race without Lasix for the first time in his career during this “Win and You’re In” contest for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

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 competition from Woodbine Racetrack and Monmouth Park.

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


5:03 p.m. – $350,000 Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. at Saratoga

Champion Whitmore faces eight rivals in this spot, most notably Grade 1 winners Firenze Fire and Mischevious Alex, both of whom are listed at lower odds on the morning line. Special Reserve has been facing lesser company but has won four of his five starts this season, while live longshot Lexitonian ran extremely well to finish second in his last start at six furlongs, in the G1 Churchill Downs Stakes, and returns to the sprint scene after a poor start and sixth-place finish in the Met Mile.

Vanderbilt Entries

5:39 p.m. – $600,000 Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga

Essential Quality has done little wrong thus far in his career, and it would take a monster effort from one of the five rivals in this race to defeat him on Saturday. That said, Masqueparade is an improving sort for the very patient Al Stall, Jr., and Weyburn being entered in this race instead of the Plate Trial (he’s Ontario-bred) should say something about what trainer Jimmy Jerkens thinks of his chances. Keepmeinmind would benefit from a hot pace up front, should one develop.

Jim Dandy Entries

6:12 p.m. – $250,000 G2 Bowling Green Stakes at Saratoga

Three sons of English Channel make up three of the top four choices on the morning line in the Bowling Green, a 1 3/8-mile contest over the Saratoga lawn. Channel Maker is the favorite, making his first start since running a big second in Saudi Arabia’s Neom Turf Cup and then finishing off the board a month later in Dubai; the Bill Mott trainee, one of three in this race, was third in this race last year and usually seems to hit his best form around the fall. The ever-dangerous Chad Brown enters a pair in Rockemperor and Breakpoint, while the red-hot Mike Maker has New York-bred Cross Border in with a chance.

Bowling Green Entries

9:30 p.m. – $300,000 G1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar

Even if C Z Rocket proves he can run without Lasix, it may not be enough to secure him the victory in this “Win and You’re In” contest for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint this fall. Eight others are signed on for the six-furlong affair, with a trio from the barn of Mark Glatt including last year’s winner, Collusion Illusion. Brickyard Ride will try to steal the race on the front end, while the Glatt-trained Dr. Schivel would seem likeliest to take advantage of a hot early pace.

Bing Crosby Entries


5:39 p.m. – $200,0000 G2 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga

Restricted to 3-year-olds, the Amsterdam features a rematch between Drain the Clock and Jackie’s Warrior, the 1-2 finishers separated by a neck last out in the G1 Woody Stephens. They’ll have a sixteenth of a mile less to travel this time, which should give the advantage to the speedy and determined Jackie’s Warrior as his Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen approaches Dale Baird’s all-time leading trainer record.

Amsterdam Entries

9:00 p.m. – $300,000 G1 Clement Hirsch at Del Mar

Kentucky Oaks winner Shedaresthedevil ships in from Ellis Park to contest the 1 1/16-mile Hirsch for trainer Brad Cox, chasing the expenses-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff granted to the winner. The regally-bred local divisional leader As Time Goes By, an American Pharoah half-sister to Will Take Charge and Take Charge Indy, will enter off a two-race win streak for trainer Bob Baffert. Venetian Harbor has won a pair of graded stakes races sprinting in the past year, but stretches out here, and Warren’s Showtime switches to the dirt after winning the G3 Wilshire last out.

Hirsch Entries

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

Saturday, July 31

4:33 p.m. – $250,000 Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks at Monmouth Park on TVG

The John Servis-trained Pennsylvania breds Midnight Obsession and Leader of the Band lead nine 3-year-old fillies in a wide open, Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks at 1 1/16 miles. Midnight Obsession, owned by Main Line Racing Stable, and Leader of the Band, owned by SMD Limited, finished second and third, respectively, in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks on July 3. Both runners have won two starts this year. Paco Lopez rides Midnight Obsession from post 2, while Frankie Pennington has the mount on Leader of the Band from post 3. Allworthy, trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., comes north after four starts at Gulfstream Park, breaking her maiden and winning an optional allowance claiming race in her last two starts. Gerardo Corrales rides from post 6. Maryland-bred Edie Meeny Miny Mo, trained by Miguel Vega and ridden by Victor Espinoza from post 9, steps into graded-stakes company for the first time after winning his first two races, both at Pimlico.

Monmouth Oaks Entries

Sunday, Aug. 1

4:11 p.m. ― $100,000 Grade 3 Vigil Stakes at Woodbine on TVG

All-time Canadian great sprinter Pink Lloyd and Souper Stonehenge lead a six-horse field in the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes at Woodbine going six furlongs on the all-weather surface. The 9-year-old gelding Pink Lloyd, who won last September’s Vigil, has won 26 of 34 starts for owner Entourage Stable and Canadian Hall of Fame trainer Robert Tiller. A seven-time Sovereign Award winner, including the 2017 Canadian Horse of the Year, Pink Lloyd will try to turn the tables on Florida-bred Souper Stonehenge, who defeated him last time by 4 lengths in the 6-furlong, Grade 3 Jacques Cartier Stakes at Woodbine on June 20. Rafael Hernandez has the mount from post 3. Live Oak Plantation’s 5-year-old homebred gelding Souper Stonehenge is the even-money morning line favorite in the Vigil off his first dominant win in the Jacques Cartier, which was his first graded-stakes victory. Trained by Mark Casse, Souper Stonehenge has won four races, and was third in this year’s Grade 1 Carter Handicap. Patrick Husbands will ride, breaking from post 2.

Vigil Entries

5:19 p.m.―$175,000 Grade 3 Royal North Stakes at Woodbine on TVG

Eight fillies and mares have been entered in Woodbine’s Grade 3 Royal North at six furlongs on the turf, and favoritism should vie between Perry Harrison’s 5-year-old Change of Control and Jim and Susan Hill’s 5-year-old Star Guitar. Making her first start at Woodbine, Change of Control, trained Michelle Lovell, has won two of her last three races. She took the listed Giant’s Causeway Stakes at Keeneland on April 10, and after finishing second by three-quarters of a length in Churchill’s black-type Unbridled Sydney Stakes on April 29, Change of Control was back in the winner’s circle, taking Belmont’s 7-furlong, Grade 3 Intercontinental Stakes on June 3. Patrick Husbands has the mount from post 4. Star Guitar will be making her Woodbine and 2021 debut after closing out last year with four consecutive turf sprint victories in New York. Trained by George Weaver, Star Guitar won once at Saratoga, twice at Belmont, and once at Aqueduct, closing out the year on Nov. 29 with a victory in the black type Autumn Days Stakes. Star Guitar will be ridden by Rafael Hernandez from post 7.

Royal North Entries

The post Weekend Lineup Presented By NYRA Bets: Grade 1 Sprinters To Line Up On Both Coasts appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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