First Look: 15 graded stakes are on tap through Labor Day

First Look: 15 graded stakes are on tap through Labor Day
Photo: NYRA

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Labor Day and the week leading up to it feature plenty of graded-stakes action, starting with the rescheduled Parx Dash and wrapping up with four graded stakes next Monday.

Max Player and Happy Saver are expected to meet again in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Saratoga, and can Wit make it three in a row for Todd Pletcher?

Here is an early look at the likely fields.


Parx Dash (G3), Parx, 5 furlongs (turf), 3-year-olds and up

This race was rescheduled from last week. The Critical Way has finished in the money for nine consecutive starts. In his only other graded-stakes attempt, he finished third in the Shakertown (G2). I Got a Rock is making his graded-stakes debut in his second start of the year; he won a claiming race at Pimlico on Aug. 1.

2021 Parx Dash (G3)

Virginia Derby (G3), Colonial Downs, 1 1/8 miles (turf), 3-year-olds

Hidden Enemy followed his ninth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes with a sixth in a Saratoga allowance race on Aug. 15. Hard Rye Guy makes his first start outside of Kentucky in search of his first win this year.

2021 Virginia Derby (G3)


With Anticipation (G3), Saratoga, 1 1/16 miles (turf), 2-year-olds

Four of these starters – Limited Liability, Portfolio Company, Ready to March and Silipo – are coming off debut wins. Kavod broke his maiden in April then finished second in the listed Tremont Stakes and third in the Sanford (G3).

2021 With Anticipation (G3)


Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), Saratoga, 1 1/4 miles, 3-year-olds and up

Max Player and Happy Saver, last seen finishing first and third in the Suburban (G2), meet again in this win-and-you're-in qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Classic. Night Ops – second to Art Collector in the Alydar Stakes – looks for his first win of the year here. In his only start this year, Forza Di Oro won a Saratoga allowance race by 3 lengths.

2021 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1)

Flower Bowl Invitational (G1), Saratoga, 1 3/8 miles (turf), fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up

War Like Goddess and My Sister Nat finished 1-2 in the Glens Falls (G2) last out. It was the third graded-stakes win in a row for War Like Goddess. Lovely Lucky won a Saratoga allowance race by a neck in her only start this year. This race is a win-and-you're in qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

2021 Flower Bowl Invitational (G1)

Prioress (G2), Saratoga, 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds

Unraced last year, Oxana is 2-for-3 this year and won her last race by 10 1/4 lengths. Souper Sensational was beaten by 4 1/4 lengths in the Test (G1) last out, with Obligatory coming in fifth. Ova Charged was second to Souper Sensational in the Victory Ride (G3), her first loss in three starts.

2021 Prioress (G2)

Saranac (G3), Saratoga, 1 1/16 miles (turf), 3-year-olds

Public Sector picked up his first graded-stakes win when beating Annex in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) and has a 4: 2-2-0 record this year. Like the King has not won in three starts since his score in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3).

2021 Saranac (G3)

Del Mar Derby (G2), Del Mar, 1 1/8 miles (turf), 3-year-olds

Hockey Dad has not won in his last four starts after starting the year with three straight wins. Zoffarelli tries his second graded stakes and second U.S. race. He won the La Jolla (G3) via disqualification after being bumped by Sword Zorro, who crossed the line first by a nose.

2021 Del Mar Derby (G2)

John C. Mabee Stakes (G2), Del Mar, 1 1/8 miles (turf), fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up

Dogtag has finished second in her last three starts. Before that, she was fifth in the Clement L. Hirsch (G1). She's Our Charm returns to graded-stakes company after failing to win her last three starts, all in allowance races.

2021 John C. Mabee Stakes (G2)


Spinaway (G1), Saratoga, 7 furlongs, 2-year-old fillies

Pretty Birdie followed her debut win with a victory in the Schuylerville Stakes (G3). Echo Zulu debuted with a 5 1/2-length win at Saratoga in mid-July. Sue Ellen Mishkin bested a field of 10 by 7 1/4 lengths in her first start.

2021 Spinaway (G1)

Probables were not available for Sunday's Del Mar Debutante (G1), a seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies.


Hopeful (G1), Saratoga, 7 furlongs, 2-year-olds

Wit looks to go 3-for-3 after his 8-length win over Headline Report in the Sanford (G3). Power Agenda prevailed in a stretch duel to win his debut by a nose. American Xperiment had an easier first race, winning by 5 1/4 lengths.

2021 Hopeful (G1)

Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2), Saratoga 1 1/16 miles (turf), 3-year-olds and up

This will be the second start of the year for En Wye Cee, who won a Saratoga allowance in July. Dreams of Tomorrow won two allowance races before finishing fourth in the Lure Stakes. No Word's first start of the year was an eighth-place finish in an Aug. 6 allowance race.

2021 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2)

Probables were not available for Monday's Del Mar Futurity (G1), a seven-furlong race for 2-year-olds.

Mint Million Mile (G3), Kentucky Downs, one mile (turf), 3-year-olds and up

Flavius, who won this race last year when it was the Tourist Mile, is expected back this year. Betwithbothhands qualifies through his victory in the Kentucky Downs Preview Mile at Ellis Park.

2021 Winstar Farm Mint Million Mile (G3)

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