Weekend Watch: Stephen Foster, Maximum Security headline

June 14, 2019 03:16pm

Each weekend, Horse Racing Nation previews the top races to tune into coast to coast and runs down the main contenders. All times are Eastern.


Churchill Downs, Race 5: 8:03 p.m.

The Grade 3
Matt Winn Stakes brings together a competitive field of seven. Pat Day Mile (G3) winner is the slight 2-1 favorite after an open-lengths win on the Kentucky Derby undercard. That mark his third start off the layoff and return to the track where he broke his maiden. The son of Goldencents is 3: 2-0-1 under the Twin Spires, with his only loss a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall. I also like third choice Limonite, who will break from the rail. Coming in off a determined allowance victory on Derby day, this colt is 3: 1-1-1 at Churchill and appears to be improving. Nolo Contesto is exiting a fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) behind the well-regarded trio of Roadster, Game Winner and Instagrand. This is a definite step down in class for a colt John Sadler has always talked up. Also in the field are a pair of juvenile graded stakes winners looking to break through at age 3, Signalman and Knicks Go.

Churchill, Race 6: 8:37 p.m.

The Grade 2
Wise Dan Stakes looks like one of the best betting races so far this year. It attracted a full field of 14 with the two morning line co-favorites both a lofty 5-1. Multiple graded stakes winner Itsinthepost makes his 2019 debut in this spot having been off since finishing seventh in the Del Mar Handicap (G2) back in August. His last three works have been stamina-building six furlong moves in Kentucky, and the 1 1/16-mile distance should be perfect for the 7-year-old gelding. Dixie Stakes (G2) runner-up Admission Office is a co-favorite who has never missed the exacta. Last time, he gave superstar Catholic Boy a run for his money on the Preakness Stakes undercard. Newcomer El Picaro is a Chilean Group 1 winner with wins ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/4 miles. By Lookin At Lucky and out of a Scat Daddy mare, El Picaro does his running on the lead, and if his final times are indicative of anything, he’s going to be dangerous on the lead. He will get top jockey Javier Castellano for his U.S. debut. Ignacio Correas trains. Siem Riep is perfect at Churchill and enters off a confidence-boosting win in the Opening Verse Stakes on Derby weekend. Hot Springs suffered his first ever defeat at Churchill in that same race but is now third off the layoff. First Premio is particularly adept at the Wise Dan distance but has been inconsistent this season. The same can be said for Inspector Lynley.

Churchill, Race 7: 9:12 p.m.

The Grade 2
Fleur de Lis field came up short but stacked with a "Win and You're In" spot in the Breeders' Cup Distaff on the line. Recent La Troienne (G1) winner She’s a Julie will face fellow Grade 1 heroines Elate and Blue Prize. She’s a Julie is undefeated in 2019 and is 5: 3-1-0 at Churchill Downs. Elate, meanwhile, is coming in third off the layoff having run second in the Azeri (G2) and third in the Apple Blossom (G1) behind the division leader Midnight Bisou. Trainer Bill Mott says she could be back to her best at the 1 1/8-mile distance. The defending Fleur de Lis winner Blue Prize will be running second off the layoff and most recently finished third behind She’s a Julie in the La Troienne.

Churchill, Race 8: 9:47 p.m.

The Grade 2
Stephen Foster, a "Win and You're In" toward the Breeders' Cup Classic, attracted an intriguing field of 12. Santa Anita Handicap (G1) winner Gift Box received 3-1 favoritism shipping in from California. Vino Rosso most recently nabbed him in deep stretch in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) back on Memorial Day. Here, Gift Box shortens up to nine furlongs after going the classic distance twice. Pegasus World Cup (G1) alumni Yoshida and Seeking the Soul are the second and third choices, respectively. This will be Yoshida’s first start since running sixth in the Dubai World Cup (G1), while Seeking the Soul was most recently third in the Alysheba (G2). Last out stakes winners Tenfold, Quip and Runaway Ghost also go in a deep race that, while downgraded this year, is of Grade 1 quality.

Churchill, Race 9: 10:19 p.m.

Winter Sunset
, daughter of the famed race mare Winter Memories, tops the Grade 3 Regret Stakes from her rail post. The filly enters off a pair of back-to-back third-place finishes in Grade 3 company and is in search of a breakthrough. Fittingly, Hungry Kitten, a recent maiden winner and daughter of Winter Memories’ familiar foe, Hungry Island, is part of this field. Others in the 1 1/8-mile turf test are recent maiden winners or new to graded competition.


Laurel Park, Race 6: 3:40 p.m.

drops down in class to headline the Prince George’s County Stakes. The 7-year old millionaire finished second in the Tampa Bay Stakes (G3) in his seasonal debut before finishing fourth in the Muniz Memorial (G2) back in March. This will be the first non-graded race the son of Kitten’s Joy has been in in over two years, with trainer Kelly Rubley saying Sunday's performance will determine the type of race he tries from here.

Monmouth Park, Race 10: 5 p.m.

Disqualified Kentucky Derby winner
Maximum Security will make his first start post-controversy in the Pegasus Stakes, a local prep for the July 20 Haskell Invitational (G1). He will face five overmatched rivals and should win easily, fully race ready or not. The primary challenge should come from King for a Day, the Todd Pletcher trainee who looked improved when winning Pimlico's Sir Barton on Preakness day.

Belmont Park, Race 8: 5:18 p.m.

The Grade 3
Poker Stakes on turf brings together a well-matched field of nine. Clyde’s Image tops the field from his rail post and enters off two consecutive Grade 1 placings. Front-running Dr. Edgar will exit the far outside post. The 6-year old gelding won the Appleton (G3) earlier in the year and just ran a brave second in the Fort Marcy (G3) after stumbling at the start. Shug McGaughey will send out Tropical Park Derby winner Breaking the Rules, while Bill Mott saddles graded stakes winner Krampus and Mike Maker has Hembree.

Santa Anita, Race 8: 7:30 p.m.

Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster is back in California to headline the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes as his trainer, Bob Baffert, saddles half the field of six. Others in for the Hall of Famer are the California Derby winner Kingly, Mohaymen's brother, and recent Lazaro Barrera (G3) hero Mucho Gusto. The trio should go as the top choices, with a Baffert trifecta a possibility to cap the weekend.


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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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