LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 17, 2020) – Throughout the year, the NTRA will provide a guide to the best stakes races in North America and beyond. Races are listed in chronological order (all times Eastern). Full previews when available can be found through the link for each race.
This first Grade 1 race of the 2020 Saratoga Race Course meeting takes place on July 18 when the Coaching Club American Oaks, which offers 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top-four finishers, is contested over nine furlongs at the historic oval. Down the interstate, the 53rd running of the Grade 1 Haskell Stakes on Saturday headlines a stacked Monmouth Park card featuring four additional graded stakes.
The Haskell will be broadcast live Saturday on NBC from 5-6 p.m. ET as part of their Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” series. The hour-long show will also broadcast the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes.
TVG will be live on site at Monmouth Park this weekend to feature the Haskell. In addition to Monmouth Park, TVG will be broadcasting racing from Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Woodbine and more all weekend.
Saratoga Live, the critically-acclaimed and award-winning television program, kicks off its fifth season broadcasting the 40-day summer meet at iconic Saratoga Race Course. Saratoga Live will feature more than 210 hours of live programming from Saratoga, which runs through September 7. Saratoga Live will appear each racing day beginning at 1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports and MSG Networks and offer full-card coverage of the Saratoga meet. In addition to daily national coverage on FS2, Saratoga Live will air on FS1 for a total of 31 hours.
Saturday July 18
2:18 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on FS1
Trainer Christophe Clement will saddle a formidable pair of graded stakes winners in Decorated Invader and Gufo, both of who will carry winning streaks into the 36th running of the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame over the inner turf. Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, William Freeman, William Sandbrook and Cheryl Manning, Decorated Invader arrives at the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds off a victory in the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge on June 20 at Belmont Park, where the son of Declaration of War tracked the pace while saving ground along the rail, made his move at the quarter pole and drew off to a 4 ¾-length triumph.
4:06 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Matchmaker Stakes at Monmouth Park on TVG
Trainer Chad Brown is well represented with three entries in the Matchmaker, including morning-line choice Beautiful Lover. The daughter or Arch won the 2019 Boiling Springs at Monmouth last May but has failed to find the winner’s circle in four starts since. Beautiful Lover will be joined in the starting gate by stablemates Nay Lady Nay (IRE) and Tapit Today.
4:40 p.m.—$300,000 Grade 3 Monmouth Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park on TVG
Grade 1 winner-Math Wizard seeks his first victory since taking the Pennsylvania Derby last September when he faces nine challengers in the 1 1/8-miles Monmouth Cup. Math Wizard has been off the board in his two starts this season after ending his 2019 campaign with a fifth-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Among those Math Wizard will face is multiple graded stakes-placed Bal Harbour, unraced since finishing sixth in the 2019 Grade 1 Cigar Mile, and Grade 3 winner Global Campaign.
4:55 p.m.—$125,000 Grade 3 Trillium Stakes at Woodbine on TVG
The Trillium Stakes has attracted eight starters, including 2019 multiple Sovereign Award finalist Amalfi Coast, graded stakes-placed Painting, who rallied impressively to finish second to Jean Elizabeth in the Grade 3 Whimsical, and Live Oak Plantation’s multiple stakes winner Souper Escape.
5:10 p.m.—$300,000 Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park on NBC
Less than a week after finishing sixth in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland, Grade 1-winner Arklow will wheel back against eight rivals in the United Nations Stakes. Arklow captured the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic last October but is winless in four starts since. Breaking next to Arklow out of post No. 2 will be Standard Deviation, winner of the Jersey Derby at Monmouth last August.
5:28 p.m.—$175,000 Grade 2 Royal North Stakes at Woodbine on TVG
Summer Sunday, one of two Stuart Simon trainees in the field, seeks to defend her crown in Saturday’s Royal North Stakes. Bred in Ontario by Trinity West Stables and owned by Anne and William Scott, five-year-old Summer Sunday will look to make a return to the winner’s circle for the first time since her victory in the Royal North last July. A daughter of Silent Name (JPN) out of the Millennium Allstar mare Dancing Allstar, Summer Sunday heads into the Royal North off a third-place effort in the Grade 3 Whimsical on June 21 at Woodbine.
5:46 p.m.—$1,000,000 Grade 1 Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park on NBC
Multiple graded stakes-winner Authentic was installed as the 4-5 morning line favorite to extend Bob Baffert’s record for victories in the Haskell Stakes, Monmouth Park’s showcase race. Unbeaten in his first three career starts, Authentic was second to Honor A.P. in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in his last start on June 6. Baffert has won the Haskell a record eight times. Dr Post, trained by Todd Pletcher, was made the 5-2 second choice. In his most recent start, Dr Post finished second in the Belmont Stakes on July 20.
6:16 p.m.—$350,000 Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga Race Course on FS1
Multiple graded-stakes winner Tonalist’s Shape, who boasts six wins from seven starts, returns to action in Saturday’s Coaching Club American Oaks, a nine-furlong test for sophomore fillies. Trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr., Tonalist’s Shape reeled off four consecutive wins including victories in the Hut Hut, Grade 3 Forward Gal and Grade 2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park. Following an off-the-board effort in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks, she returned to winning form last out with a commanding 3 3/4-length score in the Hollywood Wildcat at 1 1/16-miles on May 15 at Gulfstream.
6:51 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 3 Molly Pitcher Stakes at Monmouth Park on TVG
She’s a Julie, winner of the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes on June 13, looms the one to beat when she breaks from the rail in the 1 1/16-miles Molly Pitcher Stakes. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, She’s a Julie snapped a five-race losing skid when she prevailed in the Ogden Phipps. The daughter of Elusive Quality previously won the 2019 edition of the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes.
Sunday July 19
5:46 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on FS1
Stakes-winner Speaktomeofsummer will look to stretch out in distance in taking another crack against graded stakes company as part of a six-horse field of sophomore fillies in the Lake Placid. Off a seven-month layoff, the Summer Front filly made her 3-year-old bow on June 20, running fourth in the Grade 3 Wonder Again at Belmont Park. Owned by Waterford Stable, Speaktomeofsummer broke her maiden at second asking, posting a three-length score in a one-mile contest in her turf debut in September at Monmouth Park, and capped her juvenile campaign with a two-length triumph in her stakes debut in the one-mile Chelsey Flower over good turf in November at Aqueduct Racetrack.