First Look: 12 graded stakes at 5 tracks on holiday weekend

First Look: 12 graded stakes at 5 tracks on holiday weekend
Photo: Benoit Photo

The loaded Belmont Stakes Festival arrives next week, but the Memorial Day weekend has plenty of action, with 12 graded stakes at five tracks.

Here is an early look at the expected fields.


Penn Mile (G2), Penn National, 1 mile (turf), 3-year-olds

Outadore, the 8-5 morning-line favorite, started off the year with a win in the Animal Kingdom at Turfway. The second choice, at 9-5, is Annex, who broke his maiden on debut in January then won his next two before finishing third in the American Turf (G2) on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

2021 Penn Mile (G2)


Pennine Ridge (G2), Belmont Park, 1 1/8 miles (turf), 3-year-olds

Sainthood is entered here for make his first start since finishing 11th in the Kentucky Derby for trainer Todd Pletcher. He also was runner-up to Like the King in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3). Pletcher also will start Shaftesbury, who moves into graded-stakes company after breaking his maiden on fifth try last out at Belmont. Public Sector will make his second start off a layoff since his 12th-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

2021 Pennine Ridge (G2)

Regret (G3), Churchill Downs, 1 1/8 miles (turf), 3-year-old fillies

Oyster Box started the year with an allowance win before coming in third in the Florida Oaks (G3) and then fourth in the listed Memories of Silver. After finishing seventh in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), Il Malocchio came in second in an allowance at Keeneland last out.

2021 Regret (G3)

Matt Winn (G3), Churchill Downs, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-olds

With Brad Cox deciding to run Kentucky Derby runner-up in the Pegasus instead of this race, it became more likely that he will run Caddo River. Cox told Horse Racing Nation that he has not decided where the Arkansas Derby (G2) runner-up will start next. Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Helium, eighth in the Kentucky Derby, is expected to make his return here. Sittin on Go, fifth in the Pat Day Mile (G2), will look for his first win since the Iroquois (G3) on the 2020 Kentucky Derby undercard.

2021 Matt Winn (G3)

Charles Whittingham Stakes (G2), Santa Anita, 1 1/4 miles (turf), 3-year-olds and up

United took a break after his eighth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup turf and came back to win the San Luis Rey (G3) in March. Red King won three in a row last year before finishing ninth in the Breeders' Cup Turf and fifth in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2). He came back in March to finish third in an allowance race at Santa Anita. This will be the first North American start for Crossfirehurricane, who started his career with four straight wins in Ireland before finishing 10th in the Irish Derby and 13th in the Diamond Stakes last out in September.

2021 Charles Whittingham Stakes (G2)

Triple Bend (G2), Santa Anita, 7 furlongs, 4-year-olds and up

Flagstaff is a possible here after winning the Churchill Downs (G1) on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Shooters Shoot would move back into graded-stakes company after two allowance races to start the year, including a score last out on April 24. This would be the first start for Eight Rings since August, when he finished seventh in the H. Allen Jerkens (G1).

2021 Triple Bend (G2)

Daytona Stakes (G3), Santa Anita, 6 1/2 furlongs (turf), 4-year-olds and up

Gregorian Chant has won all three of his starts this year, including the San Simeon (G3) in March. His last race was a half-length allowance win over Bombard, who is expected to return for a rematch here. Stubbins would make his first start since finishing fourth in the Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint Stakes (G3) in September.

2021 Daytona Stakes (G3)


Summertime Oaks (G2), Santa Anita, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-old fillies

Soothsay is undefeated after breaking her maiden on debut in February and winning the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) in April. Crazy Beautiful won the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) in March before finishing 10th in the Kentucky Oaks. Lady Aces broke her maiden on second try last out on May 2.

2021 Summertime Oaks (G2)


Hollywood Gold Cup (G2), Santa Anita, 1 1/4 miles, 3-year-olds and up

Express Train started the year with a win in the San Pascual (G2) before finishing second in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) and third in the Oaklawn Handicap. This would be the second start off a layoff for Rushie, who was the runner-up in the Oaklawn Mile after finishing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. This would be a rematch for Royal Ship and Country Grammer, who finished 1-2 in the Californian (G2) last out.

2021 Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1)

Gamely (G1), Santa Anita, 1 1/8 miles (turf), fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up

Juliet Foxtrot won the Jenny Wiley (G1) in her first start of the year. Warren's Showtime has finished in the money in her last 11 races but hasn't scored since the Autumn Miss (G3) in October. Keeper ofthe Stars came off a layoff to win an allowance at Golden Gate before her runner-up finish in the San Francisco Mile (G3).

2021 Gamely Stakes (G1)

Shoemaker Mile (G1), Santa Anita, 1 mile (turf), 3-year-olds and up

This one is shaping up to be a five-horse race. Smooth Like Strait is chasing his first win of the year after finishing second by a neck in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) and third in the Turf Classic (G1) on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Restrainedvengence looks for his first graded-stakes win after finishing third in the San Francisco Mile (G3) last out.

2021 Shoemaker Mile (G1)

Steve Sexton Mile (G3), Lone Star Park, 1 mile, 3-year-olds and up

Brad Cox had considered starting Knicks Go here but opted instead for the Met Mile on the Belmont Stakes undercard. He could bring Warrior's Charge, looking for his first win since Philip H. Iselin (G3) in August. C Z Rocket has won seven of his last eight races, losing only to Whitmore in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Silver Dust's win in the Ben Ali (G3) was his first score in six tries since winning the 2020 Mineshaft (G3).

2021 Steve Sexton Mile (G3)

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