Weekend Stakes Preview 6/11

Stephen Foster headlines a huge Saturday night at Churchill Downs 

Some of the top older horses in the country will be competing Saturday night at Churchill Downs in the $500,000 Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap.  Revolutionary has drawn the rail and is coming a big late closing win in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special last time out.  Revolutionary will be making just his second career start at Churchill Downs, with his first being a third place run in the Kentucky Derby.  Mike Smith has been aboard Revolutionary in his last two starts, the first of which was a second place finish behind Will Take Charge in the Oaklawn Handicap.  Will Take Charge will be the high weight in the Stephen Foster and he will be looking to rebound from his worst effort in a long time, a sixth place showing in the Grade 2 Alysheba.  Will Take Charge does have a Grade 1 win at Churchill by virtue of his score over Game on Dude in the Clark last fall.  But his suspect effort in the Alysheba behind a number of the rivals he’ll see in the Stephen Foster certainly does raise some question marks.  The winner of the Alysheba was Moonshine Mullen who comes into the Stephen Foster on a four race winning streak.  He could be the speed of the speed in the Stephen Foster, unless Jaguar Paw elects to send.  Golden Ticket can often be counted on to run up into the exotics and Departing looked good in winning his Churchill Downs debut last time out against allowance/optional claiming runners.

There are three additional stakes on the Churchill Saturday night card, including the Grade 2 Fleur De Lis Handicap.  On Fire Baby is the high weight at 122 pounds and comes off a powerful win in the La Troienne Stakes on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill.  Her ability to sit just off the pace gives her a tactical advantage in this race as there doesn’t appear to be much speed in this race and she could be on the engine early.  Fiftyshadesofhay just won the Grade 2 Ruffian at Belmont and comes to Churchill Downs where she’ll be making her first run in Louisville.  Tapiture and Rise Up will square off in the Matt Winn Stakes for three year olds as they appear to be a cut above their competition in this race.  The Grade 3 Regret Stakes is the final stakes event on the card and is for the three year old fillies and features Aurelia’s Belle who will look to rebound from her ninth place finish in the Kentucky Oaks.  She’ll have to contend with Istanford who was just an impressive winner against the boys in her last start in the Arlington Classic.

The Saturday night card at Churchill Downs gets underway at 6pm EST. Selections for the Stephen Foster

  1. Departing
  2. Revolutionary
  3. Moonshine Mullen

Longshot: Golden Ticket Selections for the Regret Stakes

  1. Kiss Moon
  2. Istanford
  3. Aurelia’s Belle

Longshot: Share The Sugar Selections for the Fleur De Lis

  1. On Fire Baby
  2. Flashy American
  3. Molly Morgan

Longshot: Frivolous Selections for the Matt Winn

  1. Rise Up
  2. Tapiture
  3. Almost Famous

Longshot: Rankhasprivileges 

Astoria Stakes headlines Belmont Saturday

With racing from Belmont Park now available on, we turn our attention to the feature there on Saturday, the $100,000 Astoria Stakes for two year old fillies at five and one half furlongs.  Three of the six runners in the field have a first out maiden score, including Liatris who was an impressive off the pace winner in her debut at Pimlico just a couple weeks ago.  She came from off the pace, showing versatility for a debut runner.  Awesomendensome was also a first out winner as she held on by a nose in a debut run at Gulfstream Park on May 2nd.  Cornelio Velasquez will take over the mount for Awesomendensome.  Todd Pletcher will send out a first time starter in Fashion Alert who drew the outside post.  The $125,000 auction purchase gets the riding services of John Velazquez and she’s been working well in the mornings, including a bullet workout on June 1st at Belmont going five furlongs in 59 and 3/5 seconds. Selections for the Astoria

  1. Liatris
  2. Fashion Alert
  3. Awesomendensome

Longshot: Lindy

Grade 1 Double at Santa Anita on Saturday

The Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile and the Grade 1 Vanity Stakes will headline a big Saturday of racing at Santa Anita in southern California.  The Shoemaker Mile came up with a very tough cast of runners, a who’s who of So. Cal turfers.  Obviously is the defending champ in this race and he’s best when he’s out free-wheeling on the lead.  However that could be difficult as recent Grade 1 Kilroe Mile winner Winning Prize also likes to be on the engine early.  It will be an interesting pace battle that could set it up for the closers like Jack Milton.  Jack Milton is coming off a huge win in the Grade 3 Poker Handicap and has become a very solid turf closer.  He did try to come out west once before and that resulted in a sixth place finish in the Hollywood Derby last fall.  Grade 2 winner Summer Front will also be closing from the back and will also be making his Santa Anita debut in the Shoemaker.  Jockey Joe Bravo will make the trip west and ride Summer Front for the red-hot Christophe Clement.

In the Vanity Stakes for older fillies and mares, it’s a solid cast of nine runners.  Let Faith Arise won the Grade 1 Santa Margarita here earlier this year and is coming off a nice win in the Grade 3 Adoration Stakes.  Grade 2 winner Scherzinger will be making her first try at two turns in the Vanity.  She ran a solid third last time out in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff behind a huge effort from the freaky Midnight Lucky.  Grace Hall will ship to Santa Anita coming off a second place finish in the Grade 2 Ruffian behind Fiftyshadesofhay last time out. Selections for the Shoemaker Mile

  1. Summer Front
  2. Winning Prize
  3. Jack Milton

Longshot: Silentio Selections for the Vanity Stakes

  1. Let Faith Arise
  2. Grace Hall
  3. Iotapa

Longshot: Unusual Way

North American Cup is Saturday at Mohawk

The $1,000,000 North American Cup will headline a huge night of harness action at Mohawk on Saturday evening.  The racing gets underway at 6:45pm EST and the card is loaded with huge stakes racing action, but none bigger than the North American Cup.  Elimination winners Tellitlikeitis, Mcwicked and Lyonssomewhere will be three of the likely choices, however don’t overlook He’s Watching.  He’s Watching was a big favorite in the elimination where Tellitlikeitis jumped up and sprung a slight upset, getting the mile in 1:48.4.  He’s Watching will be driven by Tim Tetrick who won the North American Cup last year with Captain Treacherous.  The North American Cup will be the final leg of an all stakes Pick 4 that starts in race 7 and is guaranteed at $100,000! Selections for the North American Cup

  1. He’s Watching
  2. Tellitlikeitis
  3. Lyonssomewhere

Longshot: Let’s Drink on It

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 7                  Lucille Rowe Derby                       5:30pm EST

Race 8                  Aspen Stakes                                5:55pm EST


Race 9                  Isaac Murphy Stakes                 6:00pm EST


Race 4                  Astoria Stakes                          2:53pm EST


Race 7                  Nancy’s Glitter Handicap            4:00pm EST

Charles Town

Race 8                  Fancy Buckles Stakes                10:11pm EST


Race 6                  Matt Winn Stakes                     8:30pm EST

Race 7                  Fleur De Lis Handicap                9:05pm EST

Race 8                  Stephen Foster Handicap           9:39pm EST

Race 9                  Regret Stakes                          10:11pm EST

Race 10             President of UAE Cup                10:42pm EST

Delaware Park

Race 7                  Obeah Stakes                          3:57pm EST

Golden Gate Fields

Race 8                  Albany Stakes                          4:15pm EST


Race 8                  Kodiak Island Stakes                  5:02pm EST

Race 9                  English Channel Stakes              5:33pm EST

Indiana Grand

Race 9                  Born Runner Classic Final           8:49pm EST

Lone Star

Race 8                  Lane’s End Scholarship Stakes  10:51pm EST

Monmouth Park

Race 10                Little Silver Stakes                    5:12pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 7                  Shoemaker Mile                        7:00pm EST

Race 8                  Vanity Stakes                             7:30pm EST


Race 4                  Trillium Stakes                          2:32pm EST

Race 8                  Bold Ruckus Stakes                   4:39pm EST


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