The summer meets at Saratoga and Del Mar will finish with a flourish this Labor Day weekend — a combined five Grade 1 races are on tap coast-to-coast, with an emphasis on 2-year-olds.
Plus, the Colonial Downs meet in New Kent, Va., continues with the Virginia Derby, Gulfstream Park hosts a pair of $200,000 races for juveniles as part of the Florida Sire Stakes series, and the annual Kentucky Downs meet kicks off with the Tourist Mile.
Saturday is Woodward Day at Saratoga, and much of the card will be broadcast on Saratoga Live on FS2 from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. On the undercard, a pair of undefeated 3-year-old fillies, Break Even (6-for-6 and Risky Mandate (2-for-2) will square off in the Grade 2 Prioress Stakes. Global Access heads a field of six in the G3 Saranac over the Mellon turf course, and Chad Brown sends out a trio of contenders in the G2 marathon Glens Falls Stakes at 1 3/8 miles over the inner turf.
A group of nine older horses is set to go to the post in the G1, $750,000 Woodward Stakes. The field starts with last year's winner, Yoshida, but also features Tom's d'Etat, unbeaten at Saratoga, and three Todd Pletcher trainees, including Vino Rosso, as the conditioner looks for his fourth Woodward victory.
Elsewhere Saturday, the $750,000 Tourist Mile at Kentucky Downs attracted a full field for the feature on the racetrack's opening day. The contenders are led by Next Shares, last year's Shadwell Turf Mile winner and earner of more than $1.5 million lifetime.
Calumet Farm sends out a pair of contenders for the 17th running of the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs, including English Bee, one of three runners trained by Graham Motion in the field of nine 3-year-olds.
The Florida breeding industry will be in focus at Gulfstream Park, with the Affirmed Stakes for 2-year-olds and the Susan's Girl Stakes for juvenile fillies. Both are part of the incentive-based Florida Sire Stakes series.
The slate at Del Mar Saturday includes the Grade 2 John C. Mabee Stakes, featuring millionaire and multiple G1-winner Vasilika, plus juvenile fillies will be in the spotlight for the G1 Del Mar Debutante.
Sunday's schedule includes the Red Bank Stakes at Monmouth Park, featuring 7-year-old wonder horse Divisidero, the G1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga, led by Perfect Alibi and the G2 Del Mar Derby for 3-year-olds over the turf.
The holiday on Monday keeps the spotlight on juveniles with the G1 Hopeful at Saratoga and the G1 Del Mar Futurity. The Parx card includes a pair of G3 races (Smarty Jones, Turf Monster) and all four divisions of the MATCH Series (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships).
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