This weekend’s action has several venues with key races.
On Saturday, we are back at Hawthorne Race Course in Illinois with two more division of the Plum Peachy Pace. The second division will feature Fox Valley Exploit, who is 2 for 2 this year and paced a field best 1:54.4 qualifier.
Over at the Meadowlands, there are two division of the $50,000 Graduate Trot Series in Race: 6 and Race: 10
Race: 6 is a wide open affair with Reign of Honor, who is 7/2 on the morning line and trotted a 1:52.3 qualifier, spearheads the field of nine.
The second division, Race: 10, is headed by Gimpanzee. The 9/5 morning line favorite buzzed a fleet 1:51.2 mile last time out.
Northfield Park in Ohio continues their Ohio Sire Stakes series with five divisions in races 1, 3, 5, 7 and 11. Horses to beat in the series include Guinevere Hall in race:1, Kikimora, who is a heavy 3/2 favorite in race 3, Uncle Peters Love who draws the rail and is listed at 9/5 in race: 5, Pj’s Legacy, who paced a mile in 1:52 last time out, is listed at 8/5 in race 7 and Mcmarkle Sparkle, who paced a 1:50.1 mile last time out is your morning line favorite in race: 11
Around the Ovals
**** In 2020, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs).
Here are the leaders following this past weekend:
- Tim Tetrick – 32
- Brian Sears – 30
- Dexter Dunn – 22.
- Yannick Gingras – 15
- Mark MacDonald – 10.
- Ron Burke – 35
- Marcus Melander – 22
3t. Brian Brown – 10; 3t. Tahnee Camilleri – 10; 3t. John McDermott – 10.
- Black Horse Racing – 10
- Oldford Racing – 7.5
3t. Burke Racing Stable – 6.3; 3t. J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby – 6.3; 3t. Weaver Bruscemi – 6.3.
**** Due to the COVID-19 virus and the uncertainty many players had about traveling to The Meadowlands, the 2020 World Harness Handicapping Championship has been canceled.
Players that qualified for a seat through The Meadowlands or DerbyWars.com will be refunded the $1,300 tournament seat as a prize payout. Players can also choose to have their qualifying seat held for the 2021 contest.
“This was a tough decision for us,” said Rachel Ryan, Marketing Manager for The Meadowlands. “With so many unknowns remaining for The Meadowlands regarding permitted onsite attendance and COVID protocols we (along with DerbyWars) made the call to cancel for this year. We want all players to feel comfortable traveling to the track and safe while onsite wagering. Not holding the WHHC this year was our best option.”
DerbyWars has announced a $25,000 online game with an estimated $10,000 first prize for Meadowlands Pace Night on Saturday (July 18). Players can qualify every week on DerbyWars.com.
The focus of this weekend’s action will be on Belmont Park in Elmont, NY and Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky as Belmont will feature four Stakes races and Churchill will showcase three stakes races.
The Churchill Downs action heats up with Race: 8, the Bashford Manor, the first major Stakes race for two year olds. Cazadero, a dazzling winner in his debut, looks to be the horse to beat in the six furlong contest.
Moving on to Race: 9, the Fleur de Lis will feature super star mare Midnight Bisou, who will most likely be a heavy favorite come post time.
Race: 10 is not only the featured race on the card, but also carries some weight in the year end Eclipse Award voting. The Grade: 1 Stephen Foster drew a very strong field of seven including several of the upper echelon older males in training today in Tom’s d’Etat, who has won three straight, By My Standards, who is also riding a three race win streak coming into this and the gorgeous Owendale, who usually drops way back early in his races, then comes with a big late run.
Over at Belmont, the four stakes races open up in race: 7, the Vagrancy Handicap for older females. Come Dancing, who had a sensational 2019, will look to bounce back for a poor performance in her 2020 debut.
Race: 8 is the New York Stakes also for older females but on the turf. In an interesting tidbit about this wide open affair is the seven horses that are entered, are entered by just four different trainers.
Italian import Call Me Love looks to be among the favorites in this marathon race.
Race: 9 is the True North Stakes, a sprint for older males. The speedy, Grade: 1 winning Promises Fulfilled, who will be making his first start in 8 ½ month, will oppose the ultra consistent Firenze Fire.
Race: 10 is the feature race, the Grade: 1 Just a Game Stakes for four year olds and up fillies and mares on the turf. This race looks to be absolute barn burner on paper as Champion Uni, who will be making her 2020 debut in this spot, will take on the speedy, mega talented Newspaperofrecord, multiple Grade: 1 winner Get Stormy as well as several other who have real talent.
Little Bets N’ Pieces
***** Bill Mott became only the seventh trainer in history to record 5,000 wins when Moon Over Miami the third race at notched Churchill Downs last Saturday.
The 66-year-old Mott, inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1998.
The South Dakota native has won some of the world’s biggest races, including the 2019 Kentucky Derby Country House via disqualification, the 1996 Dubai World Cup with Cigar, and the 2010 Belmont Stakes with Drosselmeyer.
“It was nice to finally get it out of the way,” Mott said. “It’s a great milestone and it gives you some bragging rights. It puts you in a club with a handful of great trainers.”
He won Eclipse Awards as outstanding trainer in 1995, 1996, and 2011.
Mott ranks seventh in all-time wins behind Dale Baird (9,445), Steve Asmussen (8,873), Jerry Hollendorfer (7,651), Van Berg (6,523), King Leatherbury (6,503), and Scott Lake (6,104).
**** Trainer Chad Brown said multiple Stakes winner Rushing Fall, who worked a half-mile on the turf in :49.4 on Friday morning, will make her next start in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley on July 11 at Keeneland.
**** Gainesway Farm has purchased the breeding rights to four time Grade: 1 winner McKinzie.
The handsome five year old bay horse will stand at the legendary farm upon his retirement for a fee that has yet to be announced.
“It is very exciting to stand a horse with McKinzie’s credentials at Gainesway,” said Gainesway’s Director of Bloodstock Alex Solis, II. “I don’t believe there is a more exciting prospect than McKinzie out there. We are grateful to Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, Paul Weitman, and Bob Baffert for this fantastic opportunity.”
With earnings of $3,438,560, McKinzie has run first or second in 13 of 15 graded stakes during his career.
“From Day 1, McKinzie has just been exceptional,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. “He is a gorgeous physical with brilliant speed and stamina. I’ve only had one other horse in my career that has been able to accomplish what he’s done by winning a grade 1 at 2, 3, and 4. It takes an extraordinary horse to achieve that.”
**** 2018 Champion 3 Year Old Filly Monomoy Girl will run next in the Grade 2 Ruffian Stakes on July 11 at Belmont Park, trainer Brad Cox this week.
The 5-year-old daughter of Tapizar returned off an almost year and a half layoff to win an allowance race at Churchill Downs on May 16.
“She’s really training well and we feel like the one-turn mile at Belmont will really suit her well right now and it gives us plenty of time between races,” Cox said. “The race just make sense. She’s coming off a very long layoff, and we have to keep that in mind. She was off a year and a half. It’s not like this is her second race back after a three-month layoff.”
A winner of 10 of her 12 lifetime starts, her year end goal is the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Cox added.
**** WinStar Farm’s Gouverneur Morris, who is Grade: 1 Stakes placed at 2 and 3, has been diagnosed with colitis that will sideline him for a couple of months.
The very handsome gray son of Constitution is being treated at the New Jersey Equine Center.
Gouverneur Morris became ill Monday after being treated in a hyperbolic chamber at Fair Hill for a leg infection.
“He did not look good at all. He had diarrhea, his color was off and his heart rate was elevated,” Team Valor CEO and founder Barry Irwin said. “He was diagnosed with colitis, which can be very bad, but so far he is holding his own. Hopefully, within four-to-six days he can leave there, but this will knock him out and he will need a couple of months off.”
**** 2020 Santa Anita Derby winner Honor A. P., who breezed four furlongs in a bullet :47 1/5 at Santa Anita Park last Wednesday, and is likely to make his next start in the $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar, co-owner Lee Searing said.
“Honor A. P. came out of the race just great, which as far as I’m concerned is more important than anything,” said Searing, who owns him with his wife, Susan. “Being around John Shirreffs and having him in charge of the ship is just a real treat for me. I think he is very much toward staying local here and giving him his prep race at Del Mar in the Shared Belief. Anything can change, but that appears to be his plan, a good plan.”
**** Grade 1 Belmont Stakes winner Tiz The Law will stand at Coolmore America’s Ashford Stud upon his retirement.
The handsome colt will stand next to Tripke Croiwn winer s Americna Pharoah, Jusify as well as
“Tiz The Law is the outstanding colt of his generation so we are obviously delighted he’ll be coming here,” said Coolmore America manager Dermot Ryan. “From day one when he broke his maiden at Saratoga we have been watching him closely and he has everything one looks for in a stallion prospect. We are grateful to Jack Knowlton and his partners in Sackatoga Stable for letting us be a part of such an exciting horse, and also to Barclay Tagg, Robin Smullen and their team who have done a tremendous job with him. He’s a Grade 1-winning juvenile and is now a Classic winner. Combined with his near perfect race record, he’s very good-looking and is a very well-bred individual.”