Weekend Stakes Preview 6/19

Bed O’Roses tops Belmont Stakes Double on Saturday 

Belmont Park is coming into the final month of the spring/summer meet before things head north to Saratoga, but some great racing still remains on Long Island.  Saturday will feature a stakes double including the $150,000 Grade 3 Bed O’Roses Stakes which has eleven fillies and mares competing in the seven furlong event.  Merry Meadow comes into the race off of a very nice win in the Grade 3 Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont last month.  She’s hit the exacta in 6 of 7 career starts at Belmont Park and usually finds herself in a good stalking spot with her tactical speed.  The speed could come from Five Star Momma who is drawn down towards the inside and will be ridden by Javier Castellano.  She’s at her best when she can get out to the early lead, but both Flattering Bea and Ultimate Shopper are right to Five Star Momma’s outside and both also possess good early gas.  Ultimate Shopper lost to Merry Meadow two starts back, but that was just her second career effort and she’s improved mightily since then.  Street Girl could be a bit of a price play, even though she’s coming off a second place finish in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs.  She was 21/1 that day and was picking up the pieces late from horses who were buried by winner Midnight Lucky, so she might still be a decent price and appreciate the class drop.

The Wild Applause Stakes features eight three year old fillies and the field includes a couple of shippers from France.  My Jolie drew the rail for trainer Richard Mettee and is coming out of a pair of Group 3 tries in France.  Nisharora is also in the Mettee barn and has run three great races in her young career including a second place finish in a handicap in Milan last time out.  Walk Close is undefeated in two starts and will be making her first foray into stakes company for trainer Christophe Clement.  Walk Close likes to employ a deep closing style and should be rallying in her third career start and first try against stakes horses. Selections for the Bed O’Roses

  1. Street Girl
  2. Merry Meadow
  3. Five Star Momma

Longshot: Lion DNA Selections for the Wild Applause Stakes

  1. Wave The Flag
  2. Walk Close
  3. Nisharora

Longshot: Super Sky

$300,000 Evangeline Turf Sprint draws some big names

Evangeline Downs will be showcasing the brand new $300,000 Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint on Saturday night and the race shows some promise as some top sprinters will show up.  Win machine Gantry will bring his fantastic resume to Evangeline for the first time, as he’s been a killer down at Fair Grounds in New Orleans over the years.  Gantry had focused primarily on main track sprints however his last two starts have been on the grass and include a win in the Colonel Power Stakes.  Heitai made his first start at Evangline last time out when he dominated the Louisiana Legends Sprint last time out.  He’s won 5 of 6 in 2014 and he and Diego Saenz have proven to be a great match as they have combined for seven wins in their last nine starts together.  Sum of the Parts drew the far outside ten post and he’s a total speed horse, so it will be of the utmost importance for Gerard Melancon to get up and get to the lead or just off it and avoid being caught out wide.

The $100,000 Evangeline Mile looks like it could be a big matchup between Grand Contender and Sunbean.  Grand Contender is coming off a big win in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap, and prior to that he won the Grade 3 Texas Mile.  He should enjoy a slight class drop, however he’s going to have to take on Sunbean who has become the king of the Louisiana bred races.  Sunbean was on the fringe of the triple crown preps last year but once he focused on Louisiana bred races, he blossomed and has won 6 out of his last 8 races including a pair of $100,000 state-bred stakes races at Evangeline.  The $100,000 Opelousas Stakes drew a full field of twelve to go on the grass including 3/1 morning line favorite Class Included.  Class Included is coming off a 10th place finish in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland, but was only beaten four lengths that day against a field that was far ahead of what she’ll see on Saturday.  Hot Tempo won the Matron B at Evangeline Downs before finishing seventh in the Mint Julep Stakes at Churchill last time out, which is a Grade 3.  Tensas Harbor is an interesting player as she’s 2 for 3 at Evangeline Downs and is 2 for 4 over the grass in her career. Selections for the Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint

  1. Gantry
  2. Heitai
  3. Sum of the Parts

Longshot: Lemon Drop Dream Selections for the Evangeline Mile

  1. Grand Contender
  2. Sunbean
  3. Limonte

Longshot: Called To Serve Selections for the Opelousas Stakes

  1. Tensas Harbor
  2. Class Included
  3. Malibu Yankee

Longshot: All Woman

Oak Tree at Pleasanton gets underway this week 

Pleasanton has traditionally been known as the Alameda County Fair, but this year it’s taken the name of Oak Tree at Pleasanton.  Racing will kick off on Thursday June 19th and race until July 6th.  Racing will be run on a Thursday through Sunday schedule with post time at 4:15pm EST, with the exception of Fridays when post time is an hour later at 5:15pm EST.  The Oak Tree Handicap on Saturday will be one of the season features as it offers up a $100,000 purse for older runners at nine furlongs.  Summer Hit and Longview Drive, who were 1-2 in the Grade 3 All-American Stakes at Golden Gate Fields the last time they faced each other.  The big difference could be that Longview Drive has ran well over a fast dirt surface in his career, while Summer Hit has just one start over a fast dirt track which saw him run a very poor seventh.  Footbridge drew the rail and ships up off two straight big wins at Santa Anita in his last two starts, both at allowance optional claiming levels. Selections for the Oak Tree Handicap

  1. Footbridge
  2. Longview Drive
  3. Summer Hit

Longshot: Beast of Bourbon

Summertime Oaks headlines Santa Anita Saturday

The Grade 2 $200,000 Summertime Oaks headlines a stakes double at Santa Anita on Saturday afternoon.  Eight fillies will vie in the Oaks including a trio of runners from Jerry Hollendorfer.  Delta Flower comes into the Summertime Oaks with three straight wins including a score last time out in the Angel Flight Stakes at Santa Anita.  She’s done her best running on the lead and she could be loose on the lead by herself.  Her stablemate Stop Smiling has shown speed before going long and could be up as part of the pace.  Trainer Bob Baffert will send out a pair of runners including Jojo Warrior who drew the rail.  Jojo Warrior was third last time out in the Miss Preakness and will return to Southern California where she broke her maiden last summer.  Baffert will also send out Front Range who was a maiden winner two back before finishing seventh in an optional claimer on the grass.

Home Run Kitten could be the one to beat in the Singletary Stakes over the grass.  Home Run Kitten like so many of the Kitten Joy runners comes flying late from off the pace.  Toowindytohaulrox has turned in three very strong races including a second place finish two starts back in the Juvenile Turf Sprint back in November on Breeders’ Cup weekend.  She’s been off since a third place finish back in January, but trainer Philip D’Amato hits at 26% off a 90 day + layoff. Selections for the Summertime Oaks

  1. Front Range
  2. Delta Flower
  3. Jojo Warrior

Longshot: Stop Smiling Selections for the Singletary

  1. Home Run Kitten
  2. Toowindytohaulrox
  3. Argyle Cat

Longshot: Reno Rebel 

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 6                  Black Tie Affair Handicap                     4:30pm EST

Race 9                  Lincoln Heritage Handicap                   6:00pm EST

Belmont Park

Race 7                  Wild Applause Stakes                         4:25pm EST

Race 9                  Bed O’Roses Handicap                      5:28pm EST

Charles Town

Race 8                  Coin Collector Stakes                       10:11pm EST

Churchill Downs

Race 8                  Debutante Stakes                             4:18pm EST

Race 9                  Roxelana Stakes                                4:49pm EST

Evangeline Downs

Race 4                  Lafayette Stakes                               6:24pm EST

Race 5                  Acadania Stakes                                6:55pm EST

Race 6                  Opelousas Stakes                              7:26pm EST

Race 7                  Evangeline Mile                                  7:57pm EST

Race 8                  Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint           8:28pm EST


Race 11                Eatontown Stakes                             5:43pm EST


Race 8                  Ky Alta Stakes                                   6:16pm EST

Oak Tree at Pleasanton

Race 8                  Oak Tree Handicap                            7:52pm EST


Race 8                  Donald Levine Memorial                   3:34pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 5                  Singletary Stakes                               6:00pm EST

Race 8                  Summertime Oaks                             7:30pm EST

SunRay Park

Race 4                  Tommy Smith Stakes                         4:42pm EST

Race 8                  Four Corners Stakes                           6:18pm EST


Race 3                  Ontario Jockey Club Stakes                2:01pm EST

Race 8                  Victoria Stakes                                  4:39pm EST



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