In the first half of the
2013 Saratoga meeting several horses put themselves squarely into consideration
for a divisional championship. Most of them will run again at the Spa and try
to strengthen their case for end of the year honors.
Princess of Sylmar won the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) on July 20th. That victory made
it clear that her long shot win in the Kentucky Oaks was no fluke. The Princess
now has two grade one wins with Beholder being the only other filly to do so.
Her 104 Beyer Speed Figure in the CCA Oaks was the second highest of the year
amongst the fillies at a distance of ground. A win in Saturday’s Alabama Stakes
(G1) would virtually clinch the three year-old Eclipse award for Ed Stanco’s
Pennsylvania home bred.
With his July 27th
victory in the Jim Dandy (G2), Palace Malice backed up his win in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and marked this Todd
Pletcher trainee as a leading contender for the three year-old colt
championship. The Travers (G1) on
August 24th could crown the Eclipse award winner when Palace Malice
faces off with Verrazano and Orb. If one of those three takes the Midsummer
Derby, it would most likely take a Breeder’s Cup Classic victory by another
three year-old to take away the divisional title.
Dance to Bristol brought her five-race win streak up to Saratoga to compete in the
Honorable Miss (G2). With a late charging victory she put herself among the
leaders in the female sprint division. When Groupie Doll finished third in her
recent return to the races, Dance to Bristol became a more serious contender. A
second Spa victory in the August 23rd Ballerina (G1) would certainly
put a bit of pressure on Groupie Doll.
Cross Traffic had been knocking on the door for a stakes victory after two graded
second place finishes at Belmont Park, when he came to Saratoga for the Whitney
(G1). His victory in the Whitney put Cross Traffic amongst the leaders in the
handicap division. Next stop for Cross Traffic may be the Woodward Handicap
(G1) at the Spa on August 31st. In this wide-open division a win in
the Breeder’s Cup Classic is probably required to earn the Eclipse Award.
Wise Dan continued his relentless campaign on the grass when he made the Fourstardave
(G2) his eighth consecutive win. Last year’s Horse of the Year is going to
continue to run on the turf and he is certain to earn more Eclipse Awards if he
keeps his streak intact. Another Horse of the Year title will depend on what
happens amongst the main track runners. A horse will have to put together a few
big wins including the Classic to get Horse of the Year away from Wise Dan.