LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 25, 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.
Monmouth Park kicks off its graded stakes program with a 13-race card to open the holiday weekend. On the opposite coast, Santa Anita Park has a trio of Grade 1 races slated for Memorial Day including the Shoemaker Mile, a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ race for the Mile.
Saturday May 25
2:12 p.m.—$125,000 Grade 3 Marine Stakes at Woodbine on TVG
Eurico Rosa Da Silva, a six-time Sovereign Award winner and Woodbine’s five-time leading rider, will partner Skywire in the Marine, a 1 1/16-mile prep for next month’s Queen’s Plate. The son of Afleet Alex, trained by Mark Casse and owned by Gary Barber and Lou Tucci, heads into the Tapeta tilt off a sensational effort in the Wando Stakes on April 28 at Woodbine, drawing off for a 2 ½-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile event.
4:31 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park on TVG
Diamond King, coming off a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic, Bal Harbour and Sunny Ridge top a nine-horse field for the 72nd edition of the Salvator Mile. Trained by John Servis, Diamond King was third in the Ohio Derby a year ago. Bal Harbour, trained by Todd Pletcher, and Sunny Ridge, the 2018 New Jersey Thoroughbred of the Year, help make up what looks to be a balanced field for the Salvator Mile.
5:26 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs on TVG
Live Oak Plantation’s multiple stakes-winning mare Let It Ride Mom heads a competitive field of 12 filly and mare sprinters that were entered for the 16th running of the Winning Colors, which honors the Hall of Fame filly that prevailed against colts in the 1988 Kentucky Derby. Trained by Mark Casse, Let It Ride Mom is slated to return from a six-month freshening. The 5-year-old daughter of Into Mischief won last year’s Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes at Woodbine over the synthetic surface and will make only her third career start on the dirt.
5:32 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes at Monmouth Park on TVG
A pair of turf specialists from the Chad Brown barn are among a field of eight entered for the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes. Projected (GB), who missed winning the Cliff Hanger Stakes by a head on May 4 at Monmouth Park, and Almanaar (GB) will represent Brown’s stable in the Monmouth Stakes at a 1 1/8-miles on the grass. Projected finished third in the Monmouth Stakes a year ago.
6:03 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 Daytona Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG
In what appears to be a wide open affair, Kanthaka, Eddie Haskell, and Horse Greedy all appear to have big chances in the Daytona Stakes, which has attracted seven 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs over the Santa Anita turf. A winner of the Grade I2 San Vicente Stakes in his third career start on Feb. 10, 2018, Kanthaka will be trying turf for the first time and could well go favored in the Daytona with Flavien Prat up. One of two California-breds in the lineup, 6-year-old Eddie Haskell is by far the most accomplished runner in the field at five furlongs on turf, having won six of his nine starts, including a tough classified allowance here two starts back on Feb. 22.
7:03 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Charlie Whittingham Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG
Separated by one length when last they met, talented California-breds Marckie’s Water and Ashleyluvssugar will square off again in the Charles Whittingham Stakes at 1 ¼-miles over the Santa Anita turf. Marckie’s Water rallied to win a 1 1/8-miles turf allowance by a half-length here on April 28 and at age five, will be seeking his first graded stakes win. Although winless in his last 11 starts dating back to a victory in the 2017 Whittingham, 8-year-old Ashleyluvssugar pressed the pace and stayed gamely to be third, beaten one length by Marckie’s Water on April 28 and will hope to win his third Whittingham Stakes on Saturday.
7:33 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG
In a talent laden eight-horse lineup, Bob Baffert’s American Anthem and John Sadler’s Cistron would appear to merit top billing going seven furlongs in the Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita. Favored in his first start in nine months, American Anthem was a close second in a one turn mile classified allowance on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs and would appear to have a huge chance as he shortens to a distance at which he’s won four out of five times.
Sunday May 26
4:55 p.m.—$175,000 Grade 2 Nassau Stakes at Woodbine on TVG
Multiple graded stakes winner and Sovereign Award champ Starship Jubilee goes after her 13th career win in Sunday’s Nassau Stakes. Trained by Kevin Attard for Blue Heaven Farm, Canada’s champion turf female in 2017 looks to continue her hot start to the season in the one-mile race for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and upward, after taking her second straight Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf.
6:33 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Summertime Oaks at Santa Anita Park on TVG
Bob Baffert’s Flor de La Mar and Jerry Hollendorfer’s Sneaking Out headline the Summertime Oaks, which attracted a field of five. Distanced at odds of 26-1 in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 3, Flor de La Mar was a non-threatening second, beaten 5 ¼ lengths by Bellafina two starts back in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks on April 6.
7:03 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG
Belvoir Bay (GB) and stablemate Painting Corners both figure prominently in Sunday’s Monrovia Stakes at five furlongs over the Santa Anita turf. Trainer Phil D’Amato’s California-bred S Y Sky, a Nick Alexander homebred, also rates a big look in the large field, as she comes off what might have been her biggest win in the five furlong turf Camilla Urso Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.
Monday May 27
7 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 1 Gamely Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG
Grade 1 winner Vasilika puts her three-race win streak on the line against a field of seven others in the Gamely Stakes going 1 1/8-miles on the turf. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Vasilika has won all three of her outings in 2019 with her most recent victory coming in the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Stakes on April 6. Her lone defeat in her last 12 outings came when the daughter of Skipshot was fourth in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes last December.
7:15 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 All American Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on TVG
Among the locals entered in the All American are Choo Choo, who ran third in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile Stakes last month, and stakes winner Gabo’s Macondo.
7:30 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG
Hronis Racing’s rapidly improving Gift Box, fresh off victory in the Santa Anita Handicap, bids for his second consecutive Grade 1 victory as he heads Monday’s Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Trained by John Sadler, Gift Box, who campaigned under trainer Chad Brown through his first 13 starts, will be making his third start for Sadler and if successful, he would provide Hronis Racing and Sadler with their second consecutive Gold Cup win, as last year’s renewal was taken by eventual champion Accelerate.
8 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita Park on TVG
A nose loser of the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile on March 30, Catapult will get a rematch with Ohio (BRZ) in the Shoemaker Mile but also appears to be facing tougher overall competition. A winner of both the Grade 2 Eddie Read and Grade 2 Del Mar Mile Handicap this past summer, Catapult was second, beaten half a length, in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs three starts back on November 3.