Weekend Stakes Preview 8/20

Beholder takes on the boys in the Pacific Classic

Saturday is Del Mar’s signature event, the $1,000,000 Pacific Classic and Beholder will take on the boys in the mile and one quarter event. Arguably the top older mare running in the country, Beholder is coming off a seven length win in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar last time out. She owns 3 wins in 4 career starts at Del Mar and comes into the race on a four race win streak. The question marks for her are running against the boys as well as the mile and one quarter distance, a distance she’s never run at. Catch a Flight comes into the Pacific Classic off a win in the San Diego Handicap, which is the main local prep for this race. He’s won 3 of his last 4 starts but is yet to break through at the Grade 1 level. He’s finished 3rd in both Grade 1 starts, which were also his two only starts at a mile and a quarter. Last time out he lost to Hard Aces in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Hard Aces shows up here in the Pacific Classic and makes his first start since that win in the Gold Cup. It will also be the John Sadler trainee’s first try at Del Mar.

Also in the Pacific Classic is Bayern, who is still winless since his Breeders’ Cup Classic triumph last year. He did run better in the San Diego Handicap, finishing third beaten a length and a quarter. What could work to Bayern’s advantage is that there isn’t much speed in this race. Beholder and Midnight Storm both have decent early foot but will likely stalk him. So if he can somehow get back to his form of last year, he could have a say.

The Del Mar Handicap features nine older turf runners including Grade 1 winner Finnegan’s Wake. Finnegan’s Wake is coming off a 3rd place finish in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes and should appreciate the slight class drop to the Grade 2 level. One tough thing for him could be that there is not a lot of speed signed on in this race. Ashleyluvssugar comes back West where she had some success earlier this season, winning a pair of Grade 2 races at Santa Anita. She tried the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth last time and found those waters a little too deep, finishing sixth. The Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes goes in race 4 and got just a field of five runners. Wild Dude won the Bing Crosby Stakes earlier this meet and beat Kobe’s Back who is also signed on for the Pat O’Brien. Appealing Tale just missed in the San Diego Handicap last time out and cuts back to seven furlongs for this race. Selections for the Pacific Classic

  1. Beholder
  2. Bayern
  3. Catch a Flight

Longshot: Hoppertunity Selections for the Del Mar Handicap

  1. Ashleyluvssuger
  2. Big John B
  3. Finnegan’s Wake

Longshot: Danas Best Selections for the Pat O’Brien

  1. Appealing Tale
  2. Wild Dude
  3. Kobe’s Back

Alabama Stakes tops Saratoga Saturday

Top three year old fillies will line up at Saratoga on Saturday to compete in the Grade 1 $600,000 Alabama Stakes. Kentucky Oaks winner Lovely Maria is looking to rebound from a bad effort in the Delaware Oaks when she ran fifth at odds of 1/5. She flattened out that day and didn’t look to have an excuse so it will be interesting to see if she comes back running here. She’ll have to beat I’m a Chatterbox who finished first in the Coaching Club American Oaks last time out before being disqualified. She was placed second behind Curalina in that race for drifting late and Curalina is back in the Alabama as well. Include Betty was third in the Coaching Club America Oaks and prior to that took home top honors in the Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes. She likes to come from way off the pace so depending on how the pace sets up and how the track is playing will determine if she can get the money. Embellish the Lace is interesting because she has a ton of speed and is capable of putting up a huge effort. She dueled early on in the Mother Goose and set it up for Include Betty’s big late kick. So if she can shake loose early, she’ll try and take them as far as she can.

The $100,000 Troy Stakes leads the undercard and drew a field of nine to sprint on the grass. Shore Runner is 2 for 2 at the Spa and comes into the race sharp for trainer Joe Sharp having won the Lucky Coin Stakes at Saratoga earlier this meet. He’s drawn in the number two post and is right outside Something Extra, who could be his main competition. Something Extra has good early speed and with that rail draw will undoubtedly be sending right from the opening bell. Go Blue or Go Home won the Grade 2 Highlander at Woodbine last time out in a 17/1 upset victory. On his best days he should be right in the mix here, but he has been inconsistent the last year or so. Selections for the Alabama

  1. I’m a Chatterbox
  2. Curalina
  3. Include Betty

Longshot: Embellish the Lace Selections for the Troy

  1. Shore Runner
  2. Something Extra
  3. Sandy’z Slew

Longshot: Spring to the Sky

Wide open field of eleven in the Monmouth Oaks

The Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks drew a nice field of eleven for Saturday’s race. Included in the event is recent Grade 2 Indiana Oaks winner High Dollar Woman who ran the race of her career in the Indiana Oaks. She was running on a sloppy track that day so it could be to her benefit if she gets some rain in New Jersey. On paper Eskenformoney has serious credentials for this race as she is multiple graded stakes placed. She’s coming off a fifth place finish in the Mother Goose Stakes which was a Grade 1 event so the class drop should suit her very nicely. Light the City is Grade 1 placed but is a bit of a mystery. She was vanned off in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks and followed that up with a terrible performance in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes. She dropped into an optional claimer last time and won nicely so perhaps she has her confidence back, or perhaps she’s not as sharp as she was earlier this year. The Chad Brown trainee Delightful Joy could be interesting as well as she’s coming off a nice allowance win at Belmont Park and gets the riding services of Paco Lopez. Selections for the Monmouth Oaks

  1. Eskenformoney
  2. Delighful Joy
  3. Tiger Ride

Longshot: White Clover

Golden Gate Fields and Ferndale open this week

Racing in Northern California will have double duty for the next couple weeks as Golden Gate Fields resumes racing and the Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale starts up. Racing at Golden Gate Fields will run kick off on Friday August 21st and go through Labor Day. First post each day will be at 4:45pm EST with the exception of opening day which has a special 6:45pm EST first post.

The Humboldt County fair in Ferndale will also kick off Friday with racing going Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the next two weekends. First post is at 5:07pm EST.

Saturday Stakes Action at


Race 7                  Arlington-Washington Futurity    5:21pm EST

Del Mar

Race 4                  Pat O’Brien Stakes                    6:40pm EST

Race 8                  Del Mar Handicap                      8:40pm EST

Race 9                  Pacific Classic                   9:10pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 4                  Gold Mover Stakes                    2:54pm EST

Laurel Park

Race 5                  Mister Diz Stakes                      3:39pm EST

Race 6                  Jameela Stakes                        4:13pm EST

Race 8                  All Brandy Stakes                      5:19pm EST

Race 10               Find Stakes                              6:19pm EST

Monmouth Park

Race 11            Monmouth Oaks                       5:46pm EST

Remington Park

Race 5                  Edward J. Debartolo Memorial     9:52pm EST


Race 7                  Troy Stakes                             4:22pm EST

Race 10                Alabama Stakes                        6:08pm EST


Race 8                  Ontario Colleen Stakes              4:40pm EST

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