On tap: Midlantic-breds in graded stakes this weekend
The last really busy weekend of prep races prior to the Breeders’ Cup is upon us, and plenty of horses bred in or connected to the mid-Atlantic region will be in action.
For some, it’s a chance to earn a spot to the big dance, while for others, these races are more about taking a swing at something big. Either way, it should be an exciting weekend. Here’s what’s on tap.
Some to watch:
- Two region-breds are in action in today’s Grade 2 Phoenix Stakes from Keeneland. Pennsylvania-bred Favorite Tale is 6-1 on the morning line, despite having made just a single start since March 2016. The Guadalupe Preciado trainee was a good third in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint over the strip and is looking to recapture that sort of form. Paco Lopez will ride. Among his rivals here is It’s the Journey, the Maryland-bred Mineshaft gelding trained by Mike Trombetta. After a middling start to his career, he’s now run off four straight wins, last out dusting a salty field in the Challedon Stakes at Laurel Park. He’s 12-1 on the morning line and will have Alex Cintron up.
- Saturday’s Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park, a one-mile test for two-year-olds, includes Maryland-bred Bahamian. The Freedom Child colt was second and fourth in two maiden tries at Del Mar but is nevertheless 5-1 on the morning line and will have Mario Gutierrez in the irons. Among his rivals are the locally connected Kowboy Karma (12-1), who impressed in his first two outings before running third last out in the Sapling at Monmouth Park after getting hung out wide; and Blame It On Honey (50-1), who scored at Parx Racing last out.
- On Sunday, Delaware Park-based You Know Too will try her luck in the Grade 1 Spinster for fillies and mares three and up going 1 1/8 miles on the main track. The Mike Gorham trainee has won three of seven career starts, placed in last year’s White Clay Creek at Delaware Park, and was beaten just two lengths when fourth in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks this summer. Alex Cintron will ride.
- Trainer Graham Motion sends out a battery of runners in graded events from his Fair Hill base this weekend. These include Miss Temple City in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Saturday; Maya Malibu in the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont Park on Sunday; and Guilty Twelve in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl, also on Sunday at Belmont. Trainer Arnaud Delacour, also Fair Hill-based, will run Hawksmoor in the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland on Saturday.