Stakes action at Saratoga will get off to a quick start with two graded stakes scheduled for Opening Day: the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake George and the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville.
The Lake George, for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on turf, is likely to feature a full field led by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott's Celestine, who carries a four-race win streak into the race.
Feathered, who finished second in the Grade 1 American Oaks in her last start, is also probable for the Lake George, along with stakes winners Mississippi Delta,Partisan Politics, Quality Rocks and Sivoliere. Jellicle Ball, Lady Zuzu, Mrs McDougal and Robillard are likely as well, with Bugle, Cara Marie, and Dynazarpossible for the race.
The potential field for the six-furlong Schuylerville is comprised of a very promising cast of 2-year-old fillies, with trainer Todd Pletcher likely to send out two impressive debut winners, Positively Royal and Tonasah.
Wesley Ward is also likely to send out a pair of runners, Banree and Moment Is Right, the latter of which won the Astoria at Belmont Park in her most recent start.
Others probable for the race include Adhara, Decked Out, Little Miss Miss andOff the Tracks. Areolite, J Be K's Sonnet, and More Than Most are possible.
The first of the meet will feature a pair of stakes races, the Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford and the Grade 1, $500,000 TVG Diana.
Contested at six furlongs on the main track, the Sanford is expected to attract a talented group of 2-year-olds, led by graded stakes winner He's Comin in Hot. The Bret Calhoun trainee already has two wins from four races under his belt, including a 3 ¾-length score in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs.Cocked and Loaded, the half-length winner of the Tremont on , is expected for Larry Rivelli, as well as Tremont runner-up Paynes Prairie for Steve Asmussen. Other probables include Awesome Slew for Eddie Plesa Jr., John Q. Public for Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Twirling Cinnamon for Brad Cox andUncle Vinny for Todd Pletcher. Percolator is possible for John Servis.
Chad Brown is expected to send a pair of serious contenders to the Diana, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, in the Ken and Sarah Ramsey-owned duo of Stephanie's Kitten and Kitten's Queen. Multiple Grade 1 winner Stephanie's Kitten will be looking to rebound from her fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 New York on , where she checked in a length behind winnerWaltzing Matilda, also expected for the Diana for Tom Albertrani, and a neck behind Kitten's Queen. Recent Grade 2 Dance Smartly runner-up Watsdachancesis also possible for Brown.
Meanwhile, Grade 1 Just a Game winner Tepin is probable for Mark Casse. The Bernstein filly has been undefeated in three starts this year, which also included a 1 ½-length victory in the Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile on . Hall of Famer Bill Mott is expected to saddle Lady Lara, most recently fourth in the Grade 1 Just a Game, and My Miss Sophia, who wired an allowance field to win by 4 ½ lengths in her grass debut last time out. Multiple Grade 1 winner Hard Not to Like is also probable for Christophe Clement.
Three-year-old fillies will take center stage in the Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks. A field of seven appears likely, headed by a pair of Grade 1 winners at Belmont Park - the Todd Pletcher-trained Curalina, who took the Acorn on Belmont Stakes Day, and Tom Proctor's Include Betty, a 3 ½-length victress in the Mother Goose on June 27. Joining the fray will be multiple graded stakes star I'm a Chatterbox, winner of the SiIverbulletday, the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra and the Grade 2 Fair Ground Oaks for trainer Larry Jones. Most recently, she finished third to Lovely Maria in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. The 1 1/8-mile race is also expected to attract Chide, third in the Mother Goose last time out; Conquest Eclipse, winner of an optional claimer on June 20 at Churchill Downs; the graded stakes-placed Danette, who broke her maiden last time out on July 2 at Belmont; and Munasara, who in her third start was 10th in the Mother Goose.
Opening week concludes with the $100,000 Lucky Coin for turf sprinters, in which the Joe Sharp-trained Shore Runner will look to extend his winning streak to three. Also pointing to the 5 ½-furlong event on the Mellon Turf are Successful Native, winner of the Turf Sprint on July 5 at Gulfstream Park; Spring to the Sky, second in an optional claimer last time out; Sharp Sensation, most recently fifth in the Grade 2 Highlander at Woodbine; Saucy Don, winner of a pair of stakes at Monmouth Park this spring; Sandy'z Slew, second to Shore Runner last time out;Dreamsgonewild, victorious at the Lucky Coin distance at Monmouth on ;Choctaw Chuck, coming off a pair of seconds at Presque Isle Downs, andBrewing, making his second start on the turf for Zayat Stables. Bold Thunder is possible.
Source: NYRA Communications