Welcome to this weekend’s review of this Saturday’s graded stakes races. A relatively small basket of races for us to look over this week and we start with the only Grade 1 race of the day, the Diana Stakes at Saratoga, for fillies and mares over a mile and an eighth of the turf track and worth a cool $500,000.
This race has attracted 10 runners and it looks a high quality renewal with every horse having recorded a Beyer of at least 91 in her last outing. In a competitive race, marginal Morning Line favoritism has been allocated to Miss Temple City at 3/1.
Miss temple City is the only grade 1 winner in the field, which she achieved when beating the boys in the Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland in April. It is difficult to ignore the Beyer of 108 she achieved for that run. She has been to Ascot in the meantime running creditably off a big weight in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.
She has two negatives today. She has to give weight all round due to her grade 1 win penalty and she has failed in all of the three times she has attempted this trip in the past. There is no doubt that Miss Temple City is the class horse in the race and she would have been a confident selection over 7 furlongs or a mile but over today’s distance and with a good pace likely, it may pay to side with Wekeela. She was a top class performer in France and has good form behind the mighty Tepin.
The other graded stakes on the Saratoga card is the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes, a 6 furlong sprint for the juveniles (2 year olds). Only 5 horses face the starter and it is difficult see beyond Bitumen and Random Walk. Both won their debuts in style, earning Beyers of 86 and 90 respectively.
Over at Del Mar, we get the chance to see the mighty California Chrome in the San Diego Handicap, a Grade 2 race over a mile and a sixteenth of the main track.
California Chrome will not be having that many more runs before he concludes his career at Gulfstream in January 2017. Even though the race has attracted only 5 runners, it still looks an intriguing race. California Chrome has not raced since winning the World Cup in late March so he has a break of around 16 weeks to overcome. He also has to give weight away all around. If he is a little ring rusty then Dortmund might catch him out with his front-running style.
This fascinating race is one for watching and it is a no bet race for me.
Over at Woodbine, the feature race is the Bold Venture Stakes, which has attracted a very modest turnout of just six horses for this $150,000 Grade 3 sprint. Noholdingbackbear is the 4/5 Morning Line favorite and this looks his race to lose. His recent Beyers are a cut above the opposition and it will be a shock if he is beaten.
The final race in our review is at Monmouth, where we have another sprint race, the six furlong Jersey Shore Stakes, a Grade 3 race for 3 year olds worth $100,000.
6 runners face the starter for this race with Full Salute the 5/2 Morning Line favorite. The horse is versatile as to surface with wins on turf and dirt under his belt. Unfortunately, Paco Lopez who is 2 from 2 on Full Salute is riding elsewhere and is replaced by Trevor McCarthy.
Full Salute has not been impressing Beyer recently and it may pay to side with Front Pocket Money who has been in great form recently. He won his maiden at Oaklawn, an allowance at Churchill Downs before being pipped at the post in an optional-claimer over the turf also at Churchill Downs. The form of these races have worked out very well and, drawn one and back on the dirt, he is the one for me.