First Look: 15 graded stakes led by Saratoga, Monmouth

First Look: 15 graded stakes led by Saratoga, Monmouth
Photo: Equi-photo

Saratoga opens this week with five graded stakes on the schedule, and Monmouth Park has a loaded Haskell Stakes card. Arlington Park, Del Mar and Woodbine also host graded stakes this weekend.

Here is an early look at the fields.

Saratoga

Thursday

Schulyerville (G3), 6 furlongs, 2-year-old fillies

Happy Soul is 2-for-3, and she won the listed Astoria Stakes by 11 1/2 lengths last out under John Velazquez, who has the mount here. Eagle Express also has a stakes victory after a five-length win in the restricted Pan Zareta Texas Stallion.

2021 Schuylerville (G3)

Quick Call (G3), 5 1/2 furlongs, 3-year-olds

Golden Pal makes his first start since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, where he also was ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. Jaxon Traveler has a record of 7: 4-3-0, with his last win coming in the April 23 Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn.

2021 Quick Call (G3)

Friday

Forbidden Apple (G3), 1 mile (turf), 4-year-olds and up

This will be the second start of the year for Rinaldi, who finished second in the listed Danger's Hour Stakes in April. Chad Brown entered three here, including Value Proposition, who won an allowance race last out after finishing third in the listed Elusive Quality Stakes in April.

2021 Forbidden Apple (G3)

Saturday

Diana (G1), 1 1/8 miles (turf), fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up

Althiqa and Summer Romance finished 1-2 in the Just A Game (G1) last month and are expected to meet again here. Harvey's Lil Goil started 2021 with a win in the Beaugay Stakes (G3) in May but finished fifth in the New York (G2), which was won by Mean Mary.

2021 Diana (G1)

Sanford (G3), 6 furlongs, 2-year-olds

Candy Landing is coming off a 4 1/2-length win in his debut at Churchill Downs last month. Trust Our Journey, a son of American Pharoah, broke his maiden on first try at Gulfstream in May before his third-pace finish in the Tremont last out.

2021 Sanford (G3)

Monmouth Park

Saturday

Haskell (G1), Monmouth Park, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds

This race is expected to showcase the runners-up from each of the Triple Crown races. Mandaloun won the Pegasus after his second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Midnight Bourbon's second-place showing in the Preakness followed a sixth-place finish in the Derby. And Hot Rod Charlie finished third in the Derby before his second in the Belmont. These three also met in the Louisiana Derby (G1), with Hot Rod Charlie beating Midnight Bourbon by two lengths and Mandaloun finishing sixth. Following Sea is the Bob Baffert transfer who won an allowance at Belmont by six lengths for new trainer Todd Pletcher. The winner of this race earns a fees-paid berth in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

2021 Haskell Stakes (G1)

United Nations (G1), Monmouth Park, 1 3/8 miles (turf), 3-year-olds and up

Arklow and Red Knight finished 1-2 in the Louisville (G3) on May 15. The race was the only start of the year for Arklow, and Red Knight followed that start with a fifth-place finish in the Grand Couturier. Fantasioso was seventh in the Louisville but came in second in the Belmont Gold Cup (G2) last out.

2021 United Nations (G1)

Monmouth Cup (G3), Monmouth Park, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds and up

Ny Traffic started the year with an allowance win at Belmont before finishing second in the Salvator Mile (G3) here last month. Dr Post started the year with by winning the Westchester (G3) on May 1 and then was fifth in the Met Mile (G1). Bankit has finished in the money in his last seven starts, with a 13 3/4-length win in the black-type Commentator Stakes last out at Belmont.

2021 Monmouth Cup (G3)

Matchmaker (G3), Monmouth Park, 1 1/8 miles (turf), fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up

Juliet Foxtrot started the year with a win in the Jenny Wiley (G1) before losing by a half length to a rallying Mintd in the Mint Julep (G2). Vigilantes Way's win in the Eatontown (G3) came after a second-place finish in the Gallorette (G3).

2021 Matchmaker Stakes (G3)

Molly Pitcher (G3), Monmouth Park, 1 1/16 miles, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up

Mrs. Danvers won her last two races of 2020 but has yet to score in three starts this year. Crystal Ball has won three in a row, most recently scoring in the listed Lady Jacqueline Stakes after transferring to Rodolphe Brisset from Bob Baffert's barn. Bank Sting is riding a four-race win streak, with her most recent win at a mile in the black-type Critical Eye Handicap at Belmont.

2021 Molly Pitcher (G3)

Other tracks

Saturday

San Diego Handicap (G2), Del Mar, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-olds and up

Express Train won the San Pascual (G2) to start the year, then finished second in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) and third in both the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1). Bob Baffert has two nominated here: Ax Man, who won the listed Santana Mile before his fourth-place finish in the Kona Gold (G3), and Magic on Tap, winner of the Triple Bend (G2) after finishing fourth in the Californian (G2).

2021 San Diego Handicap (G2)

Arlington Stakes (G3), Arlington, 1 3/16 miles (turf), 3-year-olds and up

Zulu Alpha is expected to make his first start of the year here, and that could be scaring off other potential starters. His record last year was 5: 3-1-1, with all starts in graded stakes, including a score in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1). Bizzee Channel beat Two Emmys in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race last out.

2021 Arlington Handicap (G3)

Modesty (G3), Arlington, 1 3/16 miles (turf), fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up

Curly Wurly, a Curlin filly, broke her maiden on fifth try in May and then lost by a neck in a 1 1/2-mile allowance race last out. Breeze Rider would be making her first graded-stakes attempt after winning three of her five starts this year.

2021 Modesty Handicap (G3)

Sunday

Cougar II (G3), Del Mar, 1 1/2 miles, 3-year-olds and up

Acclimate's last-out win in the San Juan Capistrano (G3) was his first victory in six starts this year. Phil D'Amato also nominated Red King, who finished third in the San Juan Capistrano and is looking for his first win this year. Tizamagician's last win was in the Tokyo City Cup (G3) two starts ago.

Information was not available for possible starters in the Connaught Cup (G2), a 7-furlong race to be held Sunday at Woodbine for 4-year-olds and up.

2021 Cougar II Handicap (G3)

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