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Opening Weekend at Saratoga


Opening Weekend at Saratoga promises to be an exciting one with the Grade 3, $100,000 Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies on Friday, the Grade 1, $250,000 Betfair TVG Coaching Club American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday, the Grade 2, $150,000 Sanford for 2-year-olds on Sunday and the $75,000 Evan Shipman for New York-breds on Monday.


Expected to head the field for the six-furlong Schuylerville is the Wesley Ward-trained Final Mesa, who has won all three of her races by a combined margin of 20 lengths, including a 7 ¾-length score in the My Dear Stakes at Woodbine in her most recent start.


Also targeting the Schuylerville is Stopspendingmaria, who with her seven-length maiden victory at Belmont Park on July 1 became the first 2-year-old featured in the New York Watch Series, which shines the spotlight on promising colts and fillies that have recently cleared the maiden and allowance ranks at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, or Saratoga Race Course.


According to Andrew Byrnes, stakes coordinator for The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA), also targeting the Schuylerville are recent maiden winners Dos Lunas, Le Mi Geaux, Let’s Get Fiscal and Show Me the Bling, with Sleepless Dixie and Sopchoppy possible.


Aiming for the Betfair TVG Coaching Club American Oaks is Grade 1 Mother Goose winner Devil May Care, along with runner-up Connie and Michael and third-place finisher Biofuel.


Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan winner Acting Happy, Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks winner Quiet Temper and Grade 3 Iowa Oaks winner Seeking the Title are also likely for the race, as well as Absinthe Minded, Bahama Bound and Lisa’s Booby Trap, with Hot Trip questionable.


Recent maiden winners Another Silver Oak, Bail Out the Cat, Blue Right By, Chip Shot, Highest Regards, and Commonwealth Rush are being pointed to Sunday’s Sanford, with Elite Alex, Lou Brissie, Maybesomaybenot, Nacho Saint, and Sweet Ducky questionable.


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Trainer Todd Pletcher, a six-time winner of the training title at Saratoga, heads into the opening weekend with a strong stakes hand topped by Glencrest Farm’s dual Grade 1 winner Devil May Care in Saturday’s Betfair TVG Coaching Club American Oaks and  Repole Stable’s Stopspendingmaria in the Schuylerville on Opening Day.

Devil May Care, who became a Grade 1 winner last year with her victory in the Frizette at Belmont, will breeze Sunday morning before shipping to the Spa, while Stopspendingmaria, who will be making her third start in the Schuylerville, will breeze Saturday, according to Pletcher’s assistant, Jonathan Thomas.


Pletcher also is pointing Repole Stable’s Another Silver Oak, recent maiden winner at Delaware Park and Donna McLaughlin’s Highest Regards, winner of a New York-bred maiden at Belmont on June 24, to the Sanford, while Anstu Stables’ Manteca, winner of two straight optional claimers at Monmouth Park, is possible for the Evan Shipman.







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