LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 12, 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 prestigious Saratoga meeting is underway earlier than ever and waste no time getting down to top-level business with the Grade 1 Diana Stakes taking place on Saturday. Arlington Million preview day is also on tap at Arlington International Racecourse while the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap boasts a field that includes Grade 1 winners Blue Prize (ARG) and Elate.
As part of an expansive television programming deal, the critically acclaimed Saratoga Live will appear on FOX, FS1 and FS2 for an unprecedented 192.5 combined show hours, with 190.5 of those hours on FS2. In addition to daily national coverage on FS2, Saratoga Live can be seen on regional sports networks including MSG Networks, which will air 105 hours of coverage, in addition to FOX Sports Prime Ticket, FOX Sports San Diego and Altitude Sports.
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. Saturday’s inaugural show begins at 5:00 PM ET with the broadcast of the Diana. The series airs throughout North America on Sirius/XM channel 156 and will be streamed live on the HRRN website, www.horseracingradio.net.
Friday July 12
5:51 p.m.— $150,000 Grade 3 Forbidden Apple Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on FS2 and TVG
Barry Schwartz’s Grade 1 winner Voodoo Song will race off a nine-month layoff, taking on six other graded stakes winners in Friday’s Forbidden Apple going one mile over the inner turf. Trained by Linda Rice, the New York-bred son of English Channel hasn’t raced since finishing 12th in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland last October. Voodoo Song, who won last year’s edition of the Forbidden Apple, has won 5-of-6 starts over the turf at Saratoga, including the Grade 1 Fourstardave last August where he beat top-level winners Delta Prince, Yoshida (JPN), Heart to Heart, and Divisidero.
Saturday July 13
2:10 p.m.— $150,000 Grade 3 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on FS2 and TVG
The Christophe Clement-trained Tomato Bill will make his first stakes appearance as part of a five-horse field in the six-furlong Sanford – the summer meet’s first stakes for 2-year-old males. Tomato Bill will be looking to build on his 3 ¾-length debut win at five furlongs on May 22 at Delaware Park. The More Than Ready colt has been stabled at Saratoga since June and recorded his final breeze before the Sanford on Saturday, covering five furlongs in 1:01.74 on the main track.
4:50 p.m.— $125,000 Grade 3 Ontario Matron Stakes at Woodbine on TVG
Stakes winner Dixie Moon and stakes placed Katie Baby provide trainer Catherine Day Phillips with a solid one-two punch in Saturday’s Ontario Matron going 1 1/16-miles. A four-year-old daughter of Curlin, Dixie Moon arrives at the Ontario Matron off a third-place showing in the Grade 3 Trillium Stakes, contested on June 16 at Woodbine. Also a daughter of Curlin, Katie Baby, bred and owned by Anderson Farms, has never finished lower than third over five starts.
5:12 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Modesty Handicap at Arlington International on TVG
Calumet Farm’s Vexatious aims to regain her winning form when she breaks from the outside post nine in the 1 3/16-miles Modesty Handicap. The 5-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway won the Grade 3 Dowager Stakes via disqualification at Keeneland last October for trainer Neil Drysdale and has since been transferred to the barn of Jack Sisterson. Vexatious has dropped her last three starts since and enters off a fifth-place run in the Grade 2 New York Stakes at Belmont Park on June 7.
5:25 p.m.—$750,000 Grade 2 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park on TVG
Grade 1 heroine and defending race winner Elate tops the 82nd renewal of the Delaware Handicap as the race has attracted a field of nine. The 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro most recently notched a 1 ½-length triumph in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs on June 15. Her other two outings this year were both going a mile and a sixteenth at Oaklawn Park where she ran second in the Grade 2 Azeri Stakes on March 16 and she followed by a third in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap on April 14.
5:46 p.m.— $500,000 Grade 1 Diana Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on FS2 and TVG
Trainer Chad Brown will look to capture the first Grade 1 of the Saratoga meeting when he sends out a formidable foursome that includes champion Sistercharlie (IRE) in the Diana. Brown, a four-time winner of the Diana, used the 1 1/8-miles test as a resume builder last year for Sistercharlie, who won the race en route to earning divisional honors and looks to repeat coming off of an eight-month layoff. The reigning champion turf female make her first start since winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf in November at Churchill Downs but faces stiff competition from her stablemates, most notably multiple Grade 1 winner Rushing Fall.
5:46 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Arlington Handicap at Arlington International on TVG
Ultra-consistent Captivating Moon looks to get over the graded-stakes hump when he makes his seasonal bow against nine others in the 1 3/16-miles Arlington Handicap. The Chris Block-trained Captivating Moon brings an eight-race losing skid into Saturday’s test but has only been worse than third once during that stretch – that being a fifth-place finish in last year’s Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes. The son of Malibu Moon will be making his first start since coming home third in the Jefferson Cup Stakes at Churchill Downs last September.
6:19 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Arlington Derby at Arlington International on TVG
Crafty Daddy puts his three-race win streak on the line as he steps into graded stakes company for the first time in a field of 13 entered for the 1 1/16-miles Arlington Derby. Trained by Brad Cox, Crafty Daddy took three tries to break his maiden, eventually prevailing over the Fair Grounds turf going one mile on March 23. The son of Scat Daddy has added two more victories since with his most recent score coming over the 1 1/16-miles distance at Churchill Downs on June 2.
6:28 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Los Alamitos Derby at Los Alamitos on TVG
Just four horses passed the entry box for the 1 1/8-miles Los Alamitos Derby but there is no shortage of quality as reigning juvenile male champion Game Winner is set to make his first start since being elevated to fifth in the Kentucky Derby. Game Winner is seeking his first victory since taking the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs last November and will be joined in the starting gate by stablemate Kingly, a full brother to graded stakes winner Mohaymen and a half brother to 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day.
9:10 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 3 Indiana Oaks at Indiana Grand on TVG
Graded stakes winner Street Band makes her first start since running sixth in the Longines Kentucky Oaks when she heads a field of 14 entered in the 1 1/16-miles Indiana Oaks. Trained by Larry Jones, Street Band captured the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks in March, finishing 3 ¾-lengths in front of eventual Kentucky Oaks runner-up Liora. Other top challengers include Chocolate Kisses, winner of the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 9.
10:02 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 3 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand on TVG
Allied Racing’s Mr. Money aims to continue his hot streak when he goes for his third consecutive graded stakes win in the 1 1/16-miles Indiana Derby against a field of 10 challengers. The Bret Calhoun-trained Mr. Money has found his best form in his last two starts, taking the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile Stakes on May 4 and Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes on June 15 – both at Churchill Downs. The son of Goldencents will have to overcome the outside post 11 in addition to a well-matched bunch that also features Grade 2 Rebel Stakes winner Long Range Toddy and UAE Derby runner-up Gray Magician.
Sunday July 14
4:55 p.m.—$125,000 Grade 3 Vigil Stakes at Woodbine on TVG
Multiple stakes winner and 2017 Canadian Horse of the Year, seven-year-old Pink Lloyd, goes after his third straight Vigil Stakes victory. Pink Lloyd, whose last start was a 1 3/4-length triumph in the Greenwood Stakes on June 1 at the Toronto oval, would become the only three-time winner of the Vigil if he comes out on top in the $125,000 six-furlong main track sprint. Currently, the millionaire son of Old Forester is tied with seven horses, including Nearctic, Kiridashi and Wake At Noon, for the most Vigil wins.