Five North American tracks will host 11 graded stakes this weekend, with several interesting storylines.
Classic Causeway is expected to try for his first win since June. Todd Pletcher takes over a colt who has won his last two at Meydan Racecourse. Modesty (G3) winner Didia will go for her eighth straight win in the Mint Julep (G3). And Faiza is a possibility to return after breaking her undefeated streak in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2).
Here is an early look at the likely fields.
Penn Mile (G2), Penn National, 1 mile (turf), 3-year-olds
Major Dude has finished in the money in all four starts this year, including a win in the Feb. 4 Kitten’s Joy (G3). Recruiter is 2-for-3 this year but finished ninth in the Gotham (G3). Tuskegee Airmen’s fourth-place finish in the listed Gold Fever Stakes on May 12 was his first start since he was third in the Remsen (G2). Before that, he was 2-for-2 to start his career.
Pennine Ridge (G2), Belmont Park, 1 1/8 miles (turf), 3-year-olds
Congruent, now with Chad Brown, won the John Battaglia in March but was sixth last out in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) in March. Sharar’s five career starts were at Meydan Racecourse, with wins in his last two starts before he was moved to Todd Pletcher. Silver Knott was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf but finished 11th in the 2000 Guineas Stakes (G1) on May 6, his first start this year.
Arlington (G3), Churchill Downs, 1 1/16 miles (turf), 4-year-olds and up
Classic Causeway has gone 0-for-6 since winning the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) in June. He would switch back to turf here after two starts on dirt this year. After a nearly eight-month layoff, Royal Patronage won a Keeneland allowance in April. Set Piece made his first start of the year in the Opening Verse on May 4 at Churchill Downs, missing second place by a head.
Shawnee (G3), Churchill Downs, 1 1/16 miles, fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up
Frost Point has won three straight, including the Doubledog Dare (G3) last out with a late kick to beat Hidden Connection, also entered here. Sixtythreecaliber was 5-for-7 last year but hasn't scored in two starts this year. Idiomatic is 3-for-4 this year and was second in her first graded-stakes start, the Ruffian (G2) last out.
Blame (G3), Churchill Downs, 1 1/8 miles, 4-year-olds and up
Rattle N Roll has won his last two starts, the Ben Ali (G3) in April over three others entered here and the Pimlico Special (G3) last out. Barber Road took six months off after finishing seventh in last year’s Belmont Stakes. He returned in January and had four losses before scoring in a Keeneland allowance in April.
Regret (G3), Churchill Downs, 1 1/8 miles (turf), 3-year-old fillies
Miss Riddler is 2-for-2. She broke her maiden in July at Ellis Park and returned in April to lead at every call and win a Keeneland allowance. Mission of Joy had three straight wins, including in the Florida Oaks (G3) in March, before a third-place finish last out in the Edgewood (G2).
|Post||Silks||Horse / Sire||Rating||Trainer / Jockey||Last Start / Next Start||HRN|
|1st, ElP MSW (7/29/22-R6)||Entered|
|Last Race||1st, ElP MSW (7/29/22-R6)|
Girl Named Charlie
Thomas M. Amoss
|6th, 2023 Edgewood G2||Entered|
|Last Race||6th, 2023 Edgewood G2|
Mission Of Joy
H. Graham Motion
|3rd, 2023 Edgewood G2||Entered|
|Last Race||3rd, 2023 Edgewood G2|
Lookin At Lucky
John R. Velazquez
|4th, 2023 Horseshoe Indianapolis LS||Entered|
|Last Race||4th, 2023 Horseshoe Indianapolis LS|
Mark E. Casse
Javier J. Castellano
|4th, 2023 Edgewood G2||Entered|
|Last Race||4th, 2023 Edgewood G2|
Ricardo Santana, Jr.
|8th, 2023 Edgewood G2||Entered|
|Last Race||8th, 2023 Edgewood G2|
Summertime Oaks (G2), Santa Anita, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-old fillies
Doinitthehardway broke her maiden in March then was fifth in the Sunland Park Oaks before coming back to win a May 12 allowance at Santa Anita. Faiza, also trained by Bob Baffert, is possible here after she ended the 5-for-5 start to her career with a third-place finish in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2). The Alys Look is expected here for new trainer Christopher Davis after finishing third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). And Tell Me Nolies is looking for her first win since the Chandelier (G2) in October.
Mint Julep (G3), Churchill Downs, 1 1/16 (turf), fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up
The probables provided by Churchill Downs were the 1-2-3 finishers in the Modesty (G3) on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. Didia extended her win streak to seven with her 1 1/2-length victory in the Modesty. Sweet Dani Girl was 2-for 3 this year before being overtaken in the Modesty. And New Year’s Eve is looking for her first win since the Edgewood (G2) in May 2022.
|Silks||Horse / Sire||Rating||Trainer / Jockey||Last Start / Next Start||HRN|
New Year's Eve
|4.84||Brendan P. Walsh||3rd, 2023 Modesty G3||Probable|
|Last Race||3rd, 2023 Modesty G3|
Sweet Dani Girl
|4.67||Carlo E Vaccarezza||2nd, 2023 Modesty G3||Probable|
|Last Race||2nd, 2023 Modesty G3|
|0.00||Ignacio Correas IV||1st, 2023 Modesty G3||Probable|
|Last Race||1st, 2023 Modesty G3|
Probables were not available for Woodbine’s weekend graded stakes, the Royal North (G2), Belle Mahone (G3) and Eclipse (G2).