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A battle of the sexes in the Grade 1 Whitney is the headliner for a crowded weekend graded-stakes calendar that also features Bob Baffert's first New York starter since his May suspension by the New York Racing Association, which was nullified in mid-July.
Fourteen graded stakes are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Saratoga, Del Mar and Mountaineer. Here is an early look at the likely fields.
National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2), 1 mile (turf), 3-year-olds
Wolfie's Dynaghost broke his maiden on debut in November with a win over Weyburn. His first start this year was a fifth-place finish in the Peter Pan (G3) in May, and he came back to win an allowance race at Belmont last month. Shawdyshawdyshawdy, also expected here, came in fourth in that race. Annex started his career this year with three straight wins but has not scored since.
Troy (G3), Saratoga, 5 1/2 furlongs (turf), 4-year-olds and up
Casa Creed's rallying win in the Jaipur (G1) was his second straight score. Bound for Nowhere was third in the Jaipur; he won the April 3 Shakertown Stakes (G2) in his first start after a nine-month layoff. Imprimis lost the Shakertown by a nose to Bound for Nowhere.
Whitney (G1), 1 1/8 miles, 4-year-olds and up
A win-and-you're-in for the Breeders' Cup Classic, this race offers many intriguing storylines. Can Maxfield make it three straight since his lone loss in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1)? Can Swiss Skydiver beat the boys like she did in last year's Preakness Stakes? The 1-2 finishers in the Met Mile (G1), Silver State and By My Standards, both are expected here. And Knicks Go will look to continue improving after his win in the Cornhusker Handicap (G3).
Saratoga Derby (G1), 1 3/16 miles (turf), 3-year-olds
Bolshoi Ballet is back for more after winning the Belmont Derby (G1) in his first North American start. King Fury lost by a half-length to Masqueparade in the Ohio Derby (G3) last out. Du Jour makes his second start for Bill Mott since he winning the American Turf (G2) for Bob Baffert on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Yes This Time is riding a five-race win streak that started in February.
Test (G1), 7 furlongs, 3-year-old fillies
Bob Baffert is expected to enter Illumination, who broke her maiden with an eight-length win in June. It was her only race this year after four starts last year. Search Results' only loss in five career starts – all this year – was a second-place finish to Malathaat in the Kentucky Oaks. Two of the fillies she beat last out in the Acorn (G1), Obligatory (second) and Dayoutoftheoffice (fourth), are expected back for another try. Two others who won graded stakes last out also are expected here: Zaajel, who won the Mother Goose (G2) and Souper Sensational, winner of the Victory Ride (G3).
Glens Falls (G2), 1 1/2 miles (turf), fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up
War Like Goddess won the Bewitch (G3) and the Orchid (G3) her last two starts, and her only loss in five career starts came in The Very One (G3). The first- and third-place finishers from the Robert G. Dick Memorial (G3), Dalika and Temple City Terror, are expected to return here.
Adirondack (G2), 6 1/2 furlongs, 2-year-old fillies
Ontheonesandtwos won on debut in May and then finished second in the listed Debutante Stakes last out. Wicked Halo also won on debut before finishing third in the Debutante. Microbiome scored a 5 1/2-length win in a field of nine in her first race on July 15.
Saratoga Oaks (G2), 1 3/16 miles (turf), 3-year-old fillies
The second- through fifth-place finishers in the Belmont Oaks (G1), won by Santa Barbara, are expected to meet again here. Oyster Box has not raced since her fourth-place finish in the Regret (G3) but has been working well at Fair Hill, with a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.2 on Saturday.
Sorrento (G2), Del Mar, 6 furlongs, 2-year-old fillies
It's Simple is a Nyquist filly who won her only start by 5 1/2 lengths in June and worked four furlongs from the gate in 47.6 seconds on Friday. At the Spa is 2-for-2, winning by seven lengths in her first start and then scoring in the Fasic-Tipton Debutante.
Yellow Ribbon (G2), Del Mar, 1 1/16 miles (turf), fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up
Maxim Rate took a few weeks off after her Gamely (G1) win on May 31. Dogtag finished second in both of her starts this year – by a half-length to heavy favorite Charmaine's Mia in the Royal Heroine (G2) in April and by a head to Rideforthecause in the Possibly Perfect.
Best Pal (G2), Del Mar, 6 furlongs, 2-year-olds
Big City Lights broke his maiden with a 12 1/2-length win in May and won the Fasig-Tipton Futurity by 7 1/4 lengths to go 2-for-2. Mark Casse shipped in Pappacap, who led the whole way in his debut at Gulfstream in May, his only start.
La Jolla (G3), Del Mar, 1 1/16 miles (turf), 3-year-olds
Rock Your World won his first three races – all as a 3-year-old – before finishing 17th in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Belmont Stakes. Crew Dragon has finished in the money in each of his seven career starts. Crew Dragon and No Foolery Here finished second and third in the black-type Oceanside and could meet again here.
West Virginia Derby (G3), Mountaineer, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds
Graded-stakes winners Bourbonic and Mr. Wireless are prominent among the probable starters for the summer's biggest race in West Virginia. Trainer Todd Pletcher brings Wood Memorial (G2) winner Bourbonic back from a fifth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes. Mr. Wireless won for Bret Calhoun in the July 7 running of the Indiana Derby (G3).
West Virginia Governor's (G3), Mountaineer, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-olds and up
Since the pandemic caused this race to be canceled last year, 2019 winner Silver Dust returns in the role of defending champion for Calhoun. In April the 7-year-old Tapit gelding won the Ben Ali (G3) in the slop at Keeneland. Most recently he finished last in the Stephen Foster (G2) on June 26 at Churchill Downs.