LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 19, 2019) – Each week, 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.
The Jersey Shore will be popular beyond its beaches this weekend as Monmouth Park hosts five graded stakes races Saturday anchored by the Grade 1 TVG.com Haskell Invitational Stakes. The Haskell field features Grade 1 winner Maximum Security, who crossed the wire first in the Kentucky Derby before being disqualified, and also has a stellar undercard set to feature multiple Grade 1 winner Midnight Bisou in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher Stakes.
NBC Sports will broadcast the TVG.com Haskell Invitational Stakes nationally on Saturday as the showcase of an hour-long show from Monmouth. The show will air on NBC, running from 5 to 6 p.m. ET.
NYRA’s “Saratoga Live” program also enters its second week of providing comprehensive coverage of the Saratoga Race Course meet, which began on July 11 and runs through Labor Day. “Saratoga Live,” which is produced in partnership with FOX Sports and is presented by America’s Best Racing, Runhappy, and Claiborne Farm, will air each day of the Saratoga meet on FS2.
In addition to the broadcasts on FS2, all Saratoga races will air on TVG as part of their coast-to-coast racing coverage. TVG will also broadcast the Haskell Invitational and all other races from Monmouth Park on July 20.
Friday July 19
5:51 p.m.— $150,000 Grade 3 Lake George Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on FS2 and TVG
Trainer Chad Brown will seek a third win in the Lake George when he saddles a trio of fillies, including Peter Brant’s Blowout, who scored a victory last out in the Wild Applause over the Widener turf course at Belmont Park. Second in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks, the British-bred daughter of Dansili seeks her first graded stakes win.
Saturday July 20
1:51 p.m.— $150,000 Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park on TVG
Multiple Grade 1 winner Divisidero seeks his first victory in more than a year when he faces a field of five challengers in the 1 1/16-miles Oceanport. The 7-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy has dropped his last seven outings since taking the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap last July but has put in some sneaky good runs during that span, including a fourth-place finish in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Mile.
3:27 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Molly Pitcher Stakes at Monmouth Park on TVG
Midnight Bisou, currently ranked No. 3 on the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, aims to remain unbeaten at the 1 1/16-miles distance when she brings her class to the Jersey Shore for the Molly Pitcher. The multiple Grade 1-winning daughter of Midnight Lute looms an overwhelming presence in the field of eight having most recently captured the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8 by 3 ½ lengths. That victory was the fourth straight for Midnight Bisou and her fourth career top-level triumph.
4:29 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 3 Monmouth Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park on TVG
Coal Front, winner of the Group 2 Godolphin Mile this March, looks to rebound from an off-the-board effort in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on June 8 when he breaks from post 3 in the seven-horse field for the Monmouth Cup. When Coal Front finished seventh in an exceptionally salty edition of the Met Mile, it snapped a three-race win streak for the son of Stay Thirsty and marked just the third loss in his 10 career starts. He will be joined in the gate by stablemate Bal Harbour, who enters off a runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth on June 22.
4:50 p.m.—$125,000 Grade 3 Ontario Colleen Stakes at Woodbine on TVG
Sister Peacock, a three-year-old daughter of Real Solution, goes after her third straight stakes score in Saturday’s Ontario Colleen. Trained and co-owned by Stuart Simon, the Kentucky-bred arrives at the one-mile inner turf event off two strong stakes efforts. On April 21, Sister Peacock led every step of the way in winning the Star Shoot Stakes. Under Jesse Campbell, the filly broke quickly and went on to win the six-furlong main track feature by 1 ¼-lengths. One race later, on June 8, Sister Peacock was quick out of the gates again, going on to tally a 2 ¼-length in the inaugural running of the six-and-a-half-furlong William D. Graham Memorial Stakes.
5:06 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 WinStar Matchmaker Stakes at Monmouth Park on TVG
Grade 1 winner Competitionofideas brings her consistency and class to the table in the field of seven for the 1 1/8-miles Matchmatcher on the Monmouth turf. Owned by Klaravich Stables and trained the three-time Eclipse Award winner Chad Brown, Competitionofideas scored in the Grade 1 American Oaks at Santa Anita Park last December and was second last time out behind stablemate Homerique in the Grade 2 New York Stakes on June 7. The only time the daughter of Speightstown has been worse than third in nine starts came when she ran fourth during her maiden outing at Belmont Park last May.
5:47 p.m.—$1,000,000 Grade 1 TVG Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park on NBC and TVG
Despite the imposing presence of Maximum Security, who crossed the wire first in the Kentucky Derby before being disqualified for interference, a field of seven 3-year-olds was drawn for the 52nd renewal of the Haskell Invitational. Maximum Security, who won the Grade 1 Florida Derby earlier in the season, will break from post 7 and was installed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite by oddsmaker Brad Thomas despite losing by a length to King for A Day while prepping for the Haskell last out in the Pegasus Stakes June 16. Red Oak Stable’s homebred King for a Day has been training for this race at Todd Pletcher’s Saratoga Race Course headquarters and he returns to the Jersey Shore in an attempt to win his second consecutive stakes race, his first graded stakes and his first Grade 1 event.
6:30 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on TVG
Hronis Racing’s Catalina Cruiser seeks a title defense in Saturday’s San Diego Handicap where he will face five challengers in the 1 1/16-mile event that is the main stepping stone to the $1 million Pacific Classic on August 17. Catalina Cruiser won the 2018 San Diego as a stand-in for stablemate Accelerate then came back to take the Pat O’Brien Stakes to set his Del Mar record at 2-0. The chestnut son of Union Rags made his 2019 debut with a stretch-rallying win in the Grade 2 True North Handicap at Belmont Park on June 7.
8:30 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 San Clemente Stakes at Del Mar on TVG
The extensive racetrack tour of Stillwater Cove will make Del Mar its seventh stop when the daughter of Quality Road runs in the San Clemente Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. Owned by Marcus Stables and trained by Wesley Ward, Stillwater Cove has already raced at Keeneland (twice), Ascot (England), Saratoga, Woodbine (Canada), Churchill Downs and most recently Belmont Park. She has two wins from seven starts and compiled $120,834 in earnings.
Sunday July 21
2:07 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga Race Course on FS2 and TVG
Guarana has done no wrong in both of her career starts and will attempt to keep her unbeaten record alive in the Coaching Club American Oaks, a nine-furlong test for sophomore fillies on the main track. Owned by Three Chimneys Farm and trained by Chad Brown, the bay Ghostzapper filly dazzled in her career debut at Keeneland by 14 ¾ lengths before making the jump to the top level in spectacular fashion in the one-mile Acorn, where she was a six-length winner over Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks heroine Serengeti Empress.
5:16 p.m.—$175,000 Grade 2 Royal North Stakes at Woodbine on TVG
Team Valor’s Oleksandra will look to make her Canadian debut a winning one in the Royal North Stakes. A promising five-year-old homebred from Animal Kingdom’s first crop in Australia, Oleksandra boasts four wins, two seconds and a third from nine lifetime starts.
6:30 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 2 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar on TVG
Woodford Racing’s Catapult, whose victory in the Eddie Read secured the 2018 Top Grass Horse of the Del Mar meeting title, will take on five rivals in defense of the title Sunday. Catapult followed the Eddie Read with a victory in the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile at the summer meeting and ended his 2018 campaign with a runner-up finish to Expert Eye in the Breeders’ Cup Mile that raised his earnings for the year to $623,800.
7:20 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 3 Shuvee Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on TVG
Grade 1 winner Wow Cat (CHI) headlines a talented eight-horse field for the Shuvee, the last race of Sunday’s 13-race Saratoga offering will include the entirety of Saturday’s card, which was cancelled in anticipation of excessive heat, along with a steeplechase allowance race that was cancelled due to rain on Wednesday. The Chilean-bred Wow Cat has made her last three starts in Grade 1 company, including a win in the 2018 Beldame Invitational at Belmont Park in October. The 5-year-old Lookin At Lucky mare will make her first start since a rallying effort to be second in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on November 3 at Churchill Downs.