LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 31, 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 3-year-old male division will be in the spotlight next week when the 151st edition of the Belmont Stakes is contested but this weekend features some of the top sophomore turf runners in both the $500,000 Penn Mile at Penn National and $200,000 Pennine Ridge Stakes at Belmont Park. On the opposite coast, Grade 1 winner Paradise Woods headlines the Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
HRRN will offer coverage of the Penn Oaks and Penn Mile live from Penn National on June 1 from 6-8 p.m. on Sirius/XM 156 and streamed live on Horseracingradio.net.
Saturday June 1
5 p.m.—$175,000 Grade 2 Connaught Cup Stakes at Woodbine on TVG
Multiple stakes winner Yorkton looks to rebound off an off-key effort as the Chiefswood Stables’ homebred takes to the turf in Saturday’s Connaught Cup Stakes. Trained by Stu Simon, the five-year-old son of Speightstown comes into the seven-furlong grass event for four-year-olds and upward off an eighth-place finish in the Grade 3 Jacques Cartier Stakes on May 4 at the Toronto oval.
5:18 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 3 Pennine Ridge Stakes at Belmont Park on TVG
Trainer Chad Brown will saddle a pair of talented stakes debuters in Saturday’s Pennine Ridge – a 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds over the inner turf at Belmont Park. Breaking from post 3, Peter Brant’s Demarchelier broke his maiden at first asking over Aqueduct’s inner turf in November where he defeated fellow Pennine Ridge aspirant Seismic Wave by a head. Following a five-month hiatus, he continued his winning ways against winners at Keeneland on April 12 defeating next out winner Award Winner by three-quarters of a length.
6:15 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 Arlington Matron at Arlington International Racecourse on TVG
Calumet Farm homebred Coachwhip, third last time out in the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland on April 26, seeks her first graded win in the Arlington Matron going 1 1/8-miles on the synthetic main track. Among those expected to vie for favoritism is stakes winner Daddy’s Boo, who has not been worse than third in her last 12 starts at Arlington. With the anticipated scratch of Patrick Gallagher’s La Force; a field of now nine fillies and mares will run.
7:03 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Honeymoon Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG
A nose shy of being undefeated in three starts, trainer Simon Callaghan’s Maxim Rate bids for her second consecutive graded victory as she heads Saturday’s Honeymoon Stakes at Santa Anita. For 3-year-old fillies at a mile and one eighth on turf, the Honeymoon has attracted a field of eight, including stablemate Hostess and the Richard Baltas-conditioned Lady Prancealot, both of whom were narrowly beaten by Maxim Rate when last they met.
7:33 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG
Trainer John Shirreffs’ Paradise Woods, fresh off a dominating 10 ½ length win, looms a complete standout in Saturday’s Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita. Second, beaten 10 ½ lengths by Paradise Woods in the Santa Margarita Stakes on April 27, German-bred La Force (GER) will hope to make some impact from off the pace for trainer Paddy Gallagher, while the Richard Baltas-trained Tapped, who will be making her second start of the year, will hope to improve upon a second place finish in a one mile turf allowance here on April 14.
7:50 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 2 Penn Mile Stakes at Penn National on TVG
Kiaran McLaughlin’s A Thread of Blue will bypass the Pennine Ridge at Belmont Park in favor of the Penn Mile, where he aims for his second graded stakes victory. The son of Hard Spun captured the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park in March and was beaten three-quarters of a length last time out in the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 4.