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Division Champions Appeared in Saratoga’s First 20 Days

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.  


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Older Comments about Division Champions Appeared in Saratoga’s First 20 Days...

Matt Shifman, thanks for writing this. I think you got 3 out of the 5 correct. Princess of Sylmar and Wise Dan are practically locks, and Palace Malice is my pick for the 3yo champ.
Wise Dan and Princess seem like locks with Palace Malice one Travers away to become a lock.
I'm booking action on O/U 2.5 of the horses mentioned will win Eclipse awards. I'll take the under..
Five good ones, Matt ... I'll bet three of the five you mention here win an Eclipse in 2013.
I agree Brian, three is definitely the O/U number!

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 Meet Matt Shifman 

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

• Preakness Interview with Trainer Todd Pletcher

• Kentucky Derby 2016 Handicapping Tips from A to Z


• Edison: the Travels of a Million Dollar Colt 

• A Kentucky Derby Field with Just 14 Horses

• What is the Best Kentucky Derby Running Style?



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