First Look: 5 tracks host 11 weekend graded stakes

First Look: 5 tracks host 11 weekend graded stakes
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

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.

2023 Penn Mile G2


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.

2023 Pennine Ridge G2

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.

2023 Arlington Stakes G3

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.

2023 Shawnee Stakes G3

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.

2023 Blame G3

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).

2023 Regret G3

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.

2023 Summertime Oaks G2


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.

2023 Mint Julep G3

Silks Horse / Sire Rating Trainer / Jockey Last Start / Next Start HRN
Horse Silk New Year's Eve New Year's Eve
Kitten's Joy
4.84 Brendan P. Walsh 3rd, 2023 Modesty G3 Probable
Last Race 3rd, 2023 Modesty G3
Horse Silk Sweet Dani Girl Sweet Dani Girl
Jess's Dream
4.67 Carlo E Vaccarezza 2nd, 2023 Modesty G3 Probable
Last Race 2nd, 2023 Modesty G3
Horse Silk Didia Didia
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).

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