LEXINGTON, Ky. (August 16, 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.
Highlighted by a highly competitive renewal of the Grade 1 Pacific Classic, Del Mar’s Saturday racing program will feature four other graded stakes on the 11-race card – the first time the track has run that many black type features on one program. TVG’s coverage from Del Mar will start with the first post at 5 p.m. ET and the Pacific Classic special will air from 8-10 p.m. ET commercial free.
NYRA’s “Saratoga Live” program, which began on July 11 and runs through Labor Day, airs 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.
HRRN will be on-site at the “Spa” every Saturday throughout the 2019 season to provide exclusive radio coverage of the meet’s premier stakes races. This weekend’s broadcast will feature coverage of the Grade 1 Alabama and Grade 2 Lake Placid from 5 p.m. until the conclusion of the Alabama – which has a scheduled post time of 5:59 p.m. – on Sirius/XM 156 and streaming live on horseracingradio.net.
Saturday August 17
2:40 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks at Monmouth Park on TVG
Coming off a nine-length romp in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks on July 6, Eclipse Award-winner Jaywalk tops the field for Saturday’s 95th running of the Monmouth Oaks. The reigning juvenile filly champion notched Grade 1 victories in the Frizette and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 2018 but had been 0-for-3 to start her 3-year-old campaign prior to the Delaware Oaks.
5:26 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on FS2 and TVG
Augustin Stable’s homebred Varenka headlines a talented field of eight sophomore fillies in the Lake Placid, a 1 1/16-mile inner turf test. Trained by Graham Motion, Varenka demonstrated significant promise in her juvenile campaign finishing second in the P.G. Johnson at second asking at Saratoga, followed up by a closing second to Newspaperofrecord in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont Park. She closed her 2-year-old season as a maiden with a wide-rallying fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
5:42 p.m.—$400,000 Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine on TVG
Tone Broke and Avie’s Flatter headline a field of nine Canadian-bred 3-year-olds in Saturday’s $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes, third jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown at Woodbine. There is no Triple Crown on the line this year, as One Bad Boy, winner of the 160th running of the Queen’s Plate, finished third to Tone Broke, the L and N Racing LLC silk bearer, in the Prince of Wales Stakes on July 23 at Fort Erie. This marks the 16th consecutive year without a Triple Crown champion in Canada. Wando was the last to record the three-race sweep in 2003.
5:59 p.m.—$600,000 Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on FS2 and TVG
After Point of Honor won a thrilling stretch-drive duel against Ulele in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes in May, the two talented foes will rematch as part of an accomplished nine-horse field of 3-year-old fillies in the 139th running of the Alabama, contested at 1 1/4 miles. Bred in Kentucky by Siena Farms, Point of Honor burst on to the scene with a six-length win as a juvenile on December 16 at Gulfstream in a 1 1/16-mile route taken off the turf. Placed into stakes company in her 3-year-old bow, she cruised to a 2 3/4-length win in the Suncoast and followed the Gulfstream Park Oaks by handling the stretch out in distance in the Black-Eyed Susan. She will now be running at the Alabama distance for the first time.
6 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 Green Flash Handicap at Del Mar on TVG
Two-time defending Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal will end a five-month layoff to defend his championship in the $100,000 Green Flash Handicap. Trainer Peter Miller has set a similar race schedule to 2018 for Stormy Liberal, a 7-year-old Stormy Atlantic gelding whose back-to-back Breeders’ Cup triumphs have boosted his earnings to more than $2.1 million. Stormy Liberal has been freshened since a third-place result in Dubai and trained up to the Green Flash at San Luis Rey Downs and Del Mar.
8 p.m.— $250,000 Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap at Del Mar on TVG
Marckie’s Water and United, the 1-2 finishers in the Grade 2 Charlie Whittingham at Santa Anita on May 25, are part of a field of nine for the Del Mar Handicap, which is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Marckie’s Water, a 5-year-old son of Tribal Rule trained by Richard Baltas for Little Red Feather Racing and partners, was second to Bowies Hero in the Grade 2 Eddie Read Stakes on July 21. United, a 4-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding, won a 1 1/8-mile allowance on the opening day, July 17, card.
8:30 p.m.— $100,000 Grade 3 Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar on TVG
Classic Fit, runner-up last time out in the Grade 2 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park on June 29, takes her talents West as she seeks out her first grade stakes win in the one-mile Torrey Pines. The Godolphin homebred daughter of Bernardini had won three straight races heading into the Mother Goose including the Hut Hut Stakes at Gulfstream Park last December. The Mother Goose marked Classic Fit’s seasonal bow.
9 p.m.— $300,000 Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks at Del Mar on TVG
Mucho Unusual, a change-of-tactics last-to-first winner of the Grade 2 San Clemente Stakes on July 20, will be facing her stiffest competition in the biggest field of her career in Saturday’s Del Mar Oaks. Mucho Unusual, a daughter of Mucho Macho Man, went counter to a previous forwardly-placed running style in sweeping from tenth to first in the San Clemente. Her fourth victory in seven career starts came at the expense of fellow Oaks probables Apache Princess and Over Emphasize. In addition to the locally-based rivals, Mucho Unusual figures to face great challenges from out-of-state shippers Dog Tag, from the stable of trainer Chad Brown, and Hard Legacy, trained by Norm Casse.
9:30 p.m.—$1,000,000 Grade 1 Pacific Classic Stakes at Del Mar on TVG
Charles Fipke’s Grade 1-winner Seeking the Soul heads up a well-matched field of 10 and was installed the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the 29th edition of the Pacific Classic. The stretch-running bay horse will be saddling up at his 10th different racetrack for the 1 ¼-miles headliner, coming off a sparkling tally in the Stephen Foster Stakes at Churchill Downs, a seventh lifetime victory that pushed his bankroll to $3,335,802. Seen as Seeking the Soul’s chief rivals are Pavel, second in this race last year and a winner of more than $2-million, and Quip, another eastern invader who is a $1-million earner and was second to Seeking the Soul in the Stephen Foster last out.
Sunday August 18
8 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Del Mar Mile Handicap at Del Mar on TVG
Bolo, the wire-to-wire, upset winner of the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on May 27 at Santa Anita, will face 10 rivals in the Del Mar Mile to complete a weekend of six graded stakes races. A 7-year-old gelded son of Temple City trained by Carla Gaines, Bolo led all the way under Florent Geroux in the Shoemaker at odds of 33-1 to win in only his second start after being out of racing for nearly two years, clocking 1:34.07 for the distance.
8:45 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Century Mile on TVG
Final Jeopardy, the runner-up in the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes on July 6, looms as the 8-5 morning-line favorite in a field of 12 entered for the 1 ¼-miles Canadian Derby.