Racing: US Graded Stakes Review

Just four races for us to review from last Saturday’s action and we’ll start with Arlington’s two grade 3s. In the Arlington Matron, Brooklynsway and No Fault of Mine were the main focus of attention betting wise but neither made the greatest of starts. Brooklynsway stumbled early on and though she got up to third in the closing strides, she was never able to challenge.

No Fault of Mine drifted out early on and bumped but did make good headway to challenge Flipcup, who made her bed 3/16s out, but was never able to get by. Flipcup, who was highlighted in our preview, now has a 75% (3 wins from 4 runs) strike rate on the Polytrack surface.

The other grade 3 race on the card, the Arlington Classic went to Surgical Strike. He had been dropping himself right out in recent races so connections experimented with blinkers and these seem to work.

He stalked the leaders in 4th for much of the race before making his move coming wide into the straight. Under firm urging, he passed Swagger Jagger and One Mean Man to prevail by a head. This was an encouraging win for Surgical Strike and, provided the blinkers continue to work (not guaranteed), he should prove profitable to follow in this level of company.

The only Grade 2 event of the day was Woodbine’s Eclipse Stakes over a mile and a sixteenth. Are You Kidding me won the race last year and was a shade under 7/5 to repeat the feat at the off. He duly won by 2 lengths leading pretty much all the way. Melmich looked a danger on paper and pressed the winner for much of the way. In fact he may have put his head in front turning into the straight but Are You Kidding Me was too strong and was going away at the end while Melmich faded into third place.

For our last graded race we were at Churchill Downs for the Winning Colors Stakes for 3 year old and up fillies and mares over 6 furlongs. The race seemed to give Spelling Again a good chance of getting back on the winning track following a string of placed results behind some of the best fillies and mares in racing. However, as we questioned in our preview, dropping down to 6 furlongs was an issue and she got going all too late to finish a fast finishing third.

We were treated to an exciting finish as Diva Express made her bid at the top of the straight and went clear before I’m a Looker began a strong run and joined Diva Express on the line. The judge couldn’t split the pair and a dead heat was declared. We highlighted the chances of Diva Express in our preview and she remains unbeaten in three starts on the track.

Looking forward to this weekend we have some high grade racing to preview with the milers taking centre stage with a dirt and a turf grade 1 at Santa Anita and a $500k Grade 3 at Penn National.

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