There are several great races on tap for Saturday, including the Stars & Stripes Festival at Belmont Park, featuring two Grade I turf affairs for 3-year-olds, the Delaware Oaks (G3) at Delaware Park and four Grade III events at Arlington.
Here’s a brief look at each one:
AMERICAN DERBY (G3)
5th Arlington Park
3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles on turf
Although his speed figures have been nothing to write home about, 5-EZMOSH (5-2) is undefeated on the green and has the best overall late speed rations in the race. 7-REAL STORY (12-1) looks like the pacesetter and his -3 last-race LSR is tops in the field.
ARLINGTON HANDICAP (G3)
9th Arlington Park
3-year-olds and up, 1 3/16 miles on turf
3-SYNCHRONY (6-5) is the big favorite, but I think he looks vulnerable, as he faces a bunch of potential up-and-coming turf stars — among them 4-COMPASS ZONE (8-1), who makes his stakes debut with improving speed figures and solid LSRs.
Veteran campaigner 7-WESTERN ELEGANCE (30-1) earned a +7 LSR last time; 8-TWENTY FOUR SEVEN (30-1) seeks his fourth win in a row and his speed figures and LSRs say he’s got a shot, even though he steps up considerably in class today; and 12-ROMAN APPROVAL (30-1) drops in distance and could be tough if he can get the lead in a rather paceless affair (0 projected ESR).
MODESTY HANDICAP (G3)
6th Arlington Park
3-year-olds and up fillies & mares, 1 3/16 miles on turf
Grade I winner 13-DADDYS LIL DARLING (9-5) is sure to be favored, but there are some longshots to consider in this race as well, including 8-CHURCH SOCIAL (20-1), who recorded a race-best +3 LSR last time, 9-PRADO’S SWEET RIDE (10-1), who was second in this race last year, and 11-SULLY’S DREAM (12-1), who could be on the engine and has past speed and pace figures good enough to win.
STARS & STRIPES STAKES (G3)
8th Arlington Park
3-year-olds and up, 1 ½ miles on turf
Morning line favorite 4-ARKLOW (5-2) looks vulnerable to me, as 9-CANESSAR (4-1) tops my Win Factor Report (computerized fair odds line) and has the best overall LSRs. The 10-year-old 3-SLIM SHADEY (8-1) also appears to be offering value, as I peg his fair odds at 9-2, and frontrunner 7-HARLAN STRONG (12-1) looks interesting as well.
BELMONT DERBY INVITATIONAL (G1)
10th Belmont Park
3-year-olds, 1 ¼ miles on turf
Hard not be impressed by 7-CATHOLIC BOY’s (4-1) return to the turf, as he posted a career-best Brisnet speed figure, while recording a -1 LSR. 8-HAWKISH (7-2) has earned some outstanding pace figures and ANALYZE IT (5-2) rounds out the top American contention. Meanwhile, trainer Aidan O’Brien enters HUNTING HORN (7-2) and KINGSTAR (12-1) ships in from Ireland for trainer Pia Brandt.
BELMONT OAKS INVITATIONAL (G1)
10th Belmont Park
3-year-old fillies, 1 ¼ miles on turf
7-LA SIGNARE (4-1) has been impressive in both of her North American starts, earning a ridiculously good +9 LSR in the Wonder Again (G3) last time, albeit after setting a ridiculously slow pace. 8-THEWAYIAM (10-1) enters with solid speed and pace figures in tow and looks like a big threat, while 1-SIGNIFICANT FORM (7-2) couldn’t catch La Signare in the Wonder Again, but was wide in that affair.
DWYER STAKES (G3)
6th Belmont Park
3-year-old, 1 mile on dirt
The Dwyer is the US Racing Race of the Week. For a horse-by-horse look at the field, click HERE.
SUBURBAN STAKES (G2)
9th Belmont Park
3-year-olds and up, 1 ¼ miles on dirt
In recent years, thanks in large part to the changing climate of the division, the Suburban has lost some of its luster. This year, however, with no clear handicap star, the Suburban is shaping up to be the East’s first real big test of older horses racing at a distance since the Pegasus World Cup in January. Eleven will go postward in the $700,000 event run under stakes conditions, including a classic winner and one of racing’s most beloved runners, who may be one of the richest and oldest horses still racing.
Click HERE to read more.
BELMONT SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP (G2)
7th Belmont Park
3-year-olds and up, 7 furlongs on dirt
Saturday’s $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship (GII) is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race offering all fees paid to the winner for the Breeder’s Cup Sprint (GI) in November at Churchill Downs.
Click HERE to read more.
DELAWARE OAKS (G3)
10th Delaware Park
3-year-olds fillies, 1 1/16 miles on dirt
9-RED RUBY (3-1) looked extremely impressive winning the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico on May 18, earning a race-best last-race Brisnet speed figure and LSR. The probable race favorite will need to run down 7-PROSPECTIVE LADY (12-1) to visit the winner’s circle and 3-TAKECHARGEDELILAH (10-1) has done little wrong for Todd Pletcher in three lifetime starts.