Twinspires.com Weekend Stakes: Where to Watch
Summer has arrived with a vengeance, especially on the East Coast. Racing was cancelled on Thursday at Belmont due to extreme heat; hopefully Mother Nature will ease up for the weekend, which includes the running of the Grade 1 Mother Goose on Saturday. It’s an otherwise fairly light weekend, with just four other graded stakes in the U.S. and three at Woodbine, near Toronto.
Believe You Can, making her first start in the Mother Goose since capturing the Kentucky Oaks in early May, faces just four others, but may have her hands full with the speedy Contested in the stall next to her. Nobody has been able to get close to Contested; in her last four races, she’s won by a combined total of 22 lengths. She may have given Believe You Can a run for her money in the Oaks, but the less experienced daughter of Ghostzapper was entered in the G3 Eight Belles instead on the Oaks undercard, and even with a compromised start, she won easily. She returned in the G1 Acorn, simply running away from her five competitors gate to wire. Previous to her Oaks win, Believe You Can won the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks. Despite that win and a string of bullet works, the homebred Proud Citizen filly was slightly overlooked in the betting, going off at almost 14-1. The other expected starters are Disposablepleasure and Wildcat’s Smile, second and third in the G2 Black-Eyed Susan last out, and Zo Impressive, runner-up to Contested in the Acorn.
At Monmouth Park, a competitive field of nine sophomore fillies entered the G3 Boiling Springs, run at 1 1/16 miles on the grass. Somali Lemonade is the tepid morning line favorite at 3-1. She disappointed in her last start, running off the board as the odds-on favorite in the G2 Sands Point. The top four from the Little Silver, run here May 27 are returning—Dancing Solo, Glamour N Glory, Senator Beck, and Cheimon. Team Valor International is known for searching the world for racing prospects, and they’ll bring the German-bred Destiny’s Child to make her U.S. debut here.
Juvenile fillies are in the spotlight at Churchill Downs for the G3 Debutante, the first graded stakes for 2-year-olds this year. Blueeyesintherein, trained by Garry Simms, will bid to make it back-to-back Debutante victories for Simms, who won this race last year with Flashy Lassie. A daughter of Magna Graduate, Blueeyesintherein won at first asking here on May 31, receiving a 73 Beyer Speed Figure. The only one that comes close to that is Richie’slilcowgirl, who earned a 71 while breaking her maiden on May 11 at Arlington Park.
Betfair Hollywood Park presents two graded stakes over the weekend—the G2 Hollywood Oaks on Saturday and Sunday’s G3 Beverly Hills Handicap. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has a pair entered in the Hollywood Oaks with recent Railbird (G3) winner Via Villaggio, and Killer Graces, twice graded stakes-placed this year. Others in the eight-horse field of sophomore fillies are G1 Santa Anita Oaks heroine Willa B Awesome and Eden’s Moon, winner of the Las Virgenes, also a Grade 1.
Should he win on Saturday, Hollendorfer has a chance of a stakes double with Capital Plan on Sunday. Co-highweight of 118 lbs. with Cambina, Capital Plan exits a third-place finish in the G1 Gamely, and previous to that, she won the G2 Santa Barbara Handicap. Cambina also competed in those two races, finishing fifth and second, respectively. Quaintly, a U.S.-bred daughter of Giant’s Causeway, began her racing career in Ireland and has had two runner-up finishes since coming to the States.
Sunday’s Woodbine card includes the Queen’s Plate, the oldest continuously run stakes race in North America. The first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown doesn’t get graded recognition since it’s restricted to Canadian-breds. Strait of Dover, a winner of his last three starts, leads a full field of 14 probable starters. Supporting the Queen’s Plate are the G3 Singspiel, G2 Highlander, and G2 King Edward.