Weekend Watch: Spotlight moves to Belmont Park's stakes

May 12, 2018 02:35pm
Sadler's Joy_Pan American 2017_615x400
Photo: Lauren King

It’s the calm between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes storms, but that is only true for the colts on the Triple Crown trail. Otherwise, there is still plenty to keep the racing world occupied this weekend. And while it is already May, we are still seeing the seasonal debuts of some big names to complement the stakes action.

Read on below with all post times in Eastern Standard.

Four stakes lead up to Belmont's Man o' War

Holiday Disguise
and Sounds Delicious will square off again in the Grade 3 Vagrancy Handicap. The two Linda Rice-trained ladies last tangled in the Distaff Handicap (G3) with Holiday Disguise coming away victorious. They have identical racing records, with both 7: 5-1-0 lifetime, but Holiday Disguise is a perfect 2-for-2 at Belmont Park whereas this will be Sounds Delicious’s first time at Big Sandy. They will be joined by Chalon, who is multiple graded stakes placed. Those three comprise your top three choices.

Tucked in between all the stakes action is the return of fan favorite
Patch in Belmont's sixth race. The beloved “one-eyed wonder,” this colt has been off since finishing fourth in the West Virginia Derby (G3) in August. Last year’s Kentucky Derby aside, where he checked and bumped, the son of Union Rags has always given a good accounting of himself, including a third in last year’s Belmont Stakes. Patch is the clear class of the field and the deserving 9-5 favorite in the 1 1/16-mile affair.

Skyler’s Scramjet
will cut back to six furlongs and try to rebound off a fourth-place effort in the Carter Handicap (G1) in the Runhappy Stakes. The race also attracted talented allowance winner Westwood, stakes winner King Kranz, and Toboggan (G3) winner Great Stuff. Skyler’s Scramjet is the 7-5 morning line favorite and will break from the rail, while Westwood, from gate two, will be the likely pacesetter.

Trainer Chad Brown will send out two in the Grade 3
Beaugay Stakes. He has stakes winner Inflexibility and group one placed A Raving Beauty, who will be making her stateside debut. Those two are understandably the top morning line choices. The Beaugay will be contested at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

So far, 
Core Beliefs has made a career out of running third, his maiden breaking win being the exception. He will try to do two placings better than his graded stakes debut in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) when he goes from the rail in the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes. Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) winner Blended Citizen and High North are obvious upset selections, but I really like Just Whistlewho broke his maiden in his last outing after running second to Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Hofburg. Diamond King will scratch and opt for the Preakness.

Three of the top four finishers from the Pan American (G2) will clash again in the Grade 1
Man O’ War Stakes with winner Hi Happy getting the morning line nod. Pan American beaten favorite Sadler’s Joy is the second choice, with One Go All Go also back to try again as the potential early speed. The Man O’ War will be contested at 1 3/8 miles on the turf.

G3 Vagrancy 2:34 p.m.

Race Six 4:10 p.m.

Runhappy 5:14 p.m.

G3 Beaugay 5:46 p.m.

G3 Peter Pan 6:18 p.m.

G1 Man O’ War 6:50 p.m.

Three Rules returns in Big Drama

Three Rules
began his career by reeling off five straight victories, four of them stakes. He then dropped five straight before getting his first graded victory in the Carry Back (G3). The Gone Astray colt has been off since December but returns to the starting gate in the Big Drama Stakes at Gulfstream Park. He is 9: 6-1-1 at the South Florida track, and 4: 2-2-0 at the seven furlong distance. He will break from the rail as the 7-5 morning line favorite and will face six others. Post time is 6:03 p.m.

Moonshine Memories returns at Santa Anita

will try once more to get the monkey off his back when he faces six others in Santa Anita’s third race on Saturday. For 3-year olds and up, the 1 1/16-mile event features some colts that look fairly talented. Bob Baffert has the favorite in Victory Element, who was second on debut just two weeks ago. Peter Eurton has the second choice, Draft Pick, who was fourth behind Grade 3 Peter Pan favorite Core Beliefs in his last outing. Aurora d’Oro exits the same maiden race as Victory Element, but Blaze of Glory looks to be the better of the pair of 4-1 shots.

will return to what he seems to do best when he breaks from the rail in the seven furlong, Grade 3 Lazaro Barrera Stakes. The Jimmy Creed colt is a perfect 2-for-2 at the distance and is cutting back from two consecutive attempts at routing. In typical Bob Baffert fashion, the 2018 Kentucky Derby-winning trainer sends out a strong pair in Zulfikhar and McKale. The former got the better of McKale when they met on the track last month, but McKale was given the slight advantage on the morning line. Also cutting back in distance after trying the Derby trail is Beautiful Shot. In the hands of the Desormeaux brothers, the Calumet farm owned runner won the Speak Easy Stakes back in the fall.

A very early Kentucky Oaks favorite,
Moonshine Memories was last seen finishing a tiring seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). Off since then, the dual Grade 1 winner will get back to work in the Angels Flight Stakes, a seven furlong event for 3-year-old fillies. Uppercut will be a strong foe off a third place finish in the Beaumont (G3) at Keeneland. Thirteen Squared has fired off two straight bullets for Bob Baffert and drops in class into this spot. At 4-1 on the morning line, the Liaison filly could offer some value.

Race Three 4:30 p.m.

G3 Lazaro Barrerra 5:30 p.m.

Angels Flight 7:00 p.m. 


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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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