This Weekend in Racing: 3-5 July
This weekend’s action primarily focuses in on the Meadowlands in New Jersey. The jammed packed action begins on Friday night with the four part New Jersey Sire Stakes Series. Races 2 and 5 are for three year old colts and geldings, while races 4 and 6 are for three year old fillies.
Race: 2 is rather wide open with Play Trix On Me, who leads the field in earnings this year and who trotted a field best 1:53.2 qualifier, will be the horse to beat.
Odds on Sarasota reflects Play Trix On me in the 4th race as this filly also has the most money won and the fastest qualifier of anyone in the field.
Race: 5, on paper, looks to be a barn burner as several, including Rock Me Hard, Rockin’ the Aces and Rock and Teen, all have a big chances to win.
Race: 6 also looks competitive on paper. The final leg of the series will feature Dubai Princess, who ripped a mile in 1:52 flat her last time out.
The action rolls right into Saturday night with three more legs of the Graduate Series and the $170,900 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial Trot.
Escapetothebeach will kick off the Stakes action in race: 4, the first leg of the Graduate Pace. The four year old is looking to notch his fourth win in 2020.
Race: 6, and the second leg of the Graduate Series, looks to be the most competitive race on the card as Covered Bridge, who is 3 for 4 this year and blazed a 1:48.2 mile last time out, and Dancin Lou, who is unbeaten this year, will lock horns in that one.
The Arthur J. Cutler is carded as race 8 and drew an overflow field of 13 (11 and a pair of AE’s). Manchego is clearly the one to beat in featured race of the evening.
The last leg of the Graduate Series goes as race: 10 on the program. The ultra consistent Goldberg, who has hit the board in 9 of 10 starts this year, should take a lot of action at the windows.
One of the other highlight races on Saturday include the Next Generation Pace for two year old fillies at Scioto Downs. Notwhatshesaid (2 for 2) and Winella Hanover (1 for 1), spearhead this race.
Met Mile Highlights Busy Weekend of Thoroughbred Racing
Thoroughbred racing focuses in on Belmont Park in Elmont, NY as Saturday’s card will feature four Stakes races, highlighted by the very popular Metropolitan Mile for three year olds and up.
2019 Travers winner Code of Honor, tour de force Carter Stakes winner Vekoma and California invader and multiple Grade: 1 Stakes winner McKinizie will lead a field of seven.
Other races on the card include the Victory Ride Stakes for three year old filly sprinters. Grade: 1 placed Frank’s Rockette draws the rail and will certain take a lot of action at the windows in this 6 ½ contest. It will not be a walk in the park for this daughter of Into Mischief as Center Aisle, who was visually impressive blowing the doors off a maiden field in her debut. The $1.5 million purchase then broke slowly and raced greenly down the lane while chasing a possible star in the making (Casual) in her next and last start, and Reagan’s Edge, who has come from behind to win 2 of her 3 career starts and has ascending speed figures, figure to make it competative.
Following the Victory Ride is the Poker Stakes, a one mile event on the turf. It looks as though Social Paranoia will be your post time favorite here. This colt by Street Boss is ultra consistent as his 12 on the board finishes out of 14 carer starts would indicate.
The Met Mile follows the Poker, then it’s on the Manhattan Stakes, a 10 furlong turf contest for four year olds and up on the turf. Trainer Chad Brown, who trains 3 of the 8 horses in this race, has a big chance to run 1, 2, 3. Brown enters Rockemperor was flying late and missed winning the Grade: 2 Charlie Whittingham at Santa Anita by inches in his last start, Instilled Regard, a $1.05 million son of Arch, who was dead game in winning the Fort Marcy on this oval last time out and Devamani just missed in his last two races (both Graded Stakes’), including finishing a whisker behind Instilled Regard last time out.
The last Stakes race on the program is the Suburban Handicap for four years olds and up. The runners in this wide open affair include the $900,000 Moretti, who is razor sharp right now, the speedy Mr. Buff who obliterated the Haynesfield Stakes field by 20 lengths on Feb 22. If no one challenges him early, he’ll be long gone late. Also entered is Tacitus, a stunning gray colt who might be the best bred horse in training today. By super sire Tapit out of 5 time Grade: 1 winner Close Hatches, this colt, although running well in just about every single race in between, hasn’t won a horse race of any kind in 14 months and 2019 Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston who likes this oval and probably needed his last race when he chased Moretti (finished second), should all merit attention in this race.
Elsewhere, trainer Bob Baffert has a strong 1-2 punch in the Los Alamitos Derby in the $1 million Pioneerof the Nile colt Thousand Words and impressive debut winner Uncle Chuck.
Two races later on the “Los Al” card is the Great Lady M Stakes that drew Bellafina, a beautiful, $800,000 daughter of Quality Road. The bay filly towers over the field in talent and money won.
Little Bets N’ Pieces
**** 2020 Santa Anita Derby winner Honor A. P. will be retired to Lane’s End Farm upon the conclusion of his racing career. The three-year-old will stand next to his sire, Honor Code.
“He’s a horse that we have had an eye on since David Ingordo bought him as a yearling for Lee and Susan Searing’s CRK Stable,” said Lane’s End President Bill Farish. “He was a standout at Saratoga and at $850,000 ended up being the highest-priced yearling in Honor Code’s first crop. We are very excited to secure another prospect from the A.P. Indy line. His looks, pedigree and his growing resume as a top racehorse gives him a great chance to be a successful sire.”
**** Two-time champion sprinter Roy H has been retired, trainer and co-owner Peter Miller announced last week.
The 8-year-old son of More Than Ready won back-to-back (2017-2018) runnings of Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Miller said the gelding will stay at the barn as a pony.
“It is with some sadness but also great joy that we announce the retirement of Roy H from racing,” Miller said. “What can you say about a horse like this who has given us so many thrilling moments? He is the embodiment of class and we will definitely miss seeing him compete. Fortunately, we will not have to miss him for long as he will be retired as a barn pony and remain a very important part of our team. He is a ‘favorite son’ among our staff and the feeling seems to be mutual as Roy H loves to be around the other horses and loves to train.”
Roy H retires with $3,139,765 in earnings, with a 10-5-2 record from 23 starts.
**** Stephen Foster winner Tom’s d’Etat and Fleur de Lis winner Midnight Bisou both exited their Churchill Downs races no worse for the wear and will now head to Saratoga Race Course in the coming days.
“It was just an unbelievable day on Saturday,” Tom’s d’Etat’s trainer Al Stall Jr. said. “To draw off like that, and almost break the track record, was unreal. He ran a sub :36 second final three-eighths. You don’t see many route horses in the country that are able to do that, especially as geared down as he was in the final stages.”
Stall said Tom’s d’Etat is likely to make his next start in the Aug. 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga, where the horse has won three of four starts including last year’s Alydar Stakes.
“Five weeks is good timing. He has a good record at Saratoga so that makes sense,” Stall said.
One race earlier to the Stephen Foster, 2019 Champion Midnight Bisou put on a tour de force performance in the Fleur de Lis.
“I can’t say enough how thankful we are to Jeff Bloom, Sol Kumin, and the Allens for keeping this brilliant mare in training for this year,” said trainer Steve Asmussen.
**** Speaking of tour de force wins, trainer Bob Baffert said Gamine bounce out of her 18 3/4-length obliteration of the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes on June 20 “surprisingly well.”
Baffert said the Grade 1, $1.25-million Kentucky Oaks on September 4 at Churchill Downs is the long-term goal for the daughter of Into Mischief, but that he would “like to race once more” beforehand with a trip to Saratoga a possibility. The nine-furlong, Grade 1, $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 18 at Saratoga would be a logical spot.
“For as fast as she ran, she looks really good,” Baffert said. “It really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be on her. After the Oaklawn race she came back and was a little light on me, but this time she came back looking really well. So we’re excited about her. I haven’t really thought of a next race for her. I’d like to find one race before the Kentucky Oaks, I just don’t know yet. I may have to come back to Saratoga.”
Gamine earned 50 qualifying points towards the Kentucky Oaks following an Acorn win and is currently No. 12 on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard.
**** 2019 Three Year Old Male Champion Maximum Security had his fifth workout of June last Saturday at Santa Anita, going six furlongs in a bullet 1:12.2.
Trainer Bob Baffert did not specify a goal for Maximum Security, but said the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on July 18 at Del Mar is a “possibility.”
“He’ll be nominated everywhere,” Baffert said.
The $150,000 San Diego Handicap is a prep for the Grade 1 Pacific Classic, a $500,000 race at 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 22 at Del Mar.
“He worked nicely,” Baffert said. “He’s a very exciting horse. He looks healthy and he’s moving well. It’s all been positive with him.”
Baffert said Maximum Security will have one more workout at Santa Anita before the stable moves to Del Mar for the track’s summer season, which begins July 10.
Other notable horses trained by Baffert were on the track at Santa Anita for workouts on Sunday:
Authentic, second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on June 6, worked five furlongs in 1:01.4 for the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 18 at Monmouth Park.
Improbable, winner of the Grade 1 Gold Cup on June 6 at Santa Anita, worked five furlongs in 1:01.4, which Baffert described as a “maintenance work.”
**** Super star mare Enable is set to begin her 2020 campaign with a defense her Coral-Eclipse crown this Sunday at Sandown.
The 6-year-old daughter of Nathaniel will face a likely field of seven other talented runners including Group 1 winning Japanese-superstar mare Deirdre, the globetrotting Magic Wand, as well as Regal Reality and Bangkok.
**** 2020 Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law put in his first timed work since his authoritative win in the Belmont Stakes last month.
The 3-year-old son of Constitution trained by Barclay Tagg went an easy four furlongs at Belmont Park in :50 seconds flat with regular rider Manny Franco in the saddle.
“Barclay just wanted to get him out there to do an easy half-mile,” Sackatoga Stable managing partner Jack Knowlton said. “We’re just letting him stretch his legs to keep him fit. They said he didn’t miss a beat after the Belmont. He ate fine, his legs were fine.”
Plans call for Tiz the Law to run next in the Travers, then in the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby.
“We’re in no rush to do anything with him since we have until Aug. 8 to get him ready for the Travers,” Knowlton said.