The July 4 stakes schedule across the United States features a pair of graded stakes races, as well as several interesting listed stakes to attract the horseplayer's dollar.
Gulfstream's Martha Washington Stakes (2:21 PM ET), a mile turf event for 3-year-old fillies, attracted a field of eight (including a main-track-only entrant). Trainer Todd Pletcher, who wrapped up the Spring Meet training title Friday, entered Adorable Miss, who finished in the Penn Oaks last time out, and Flying Harmony, an impressive maiden winner at Gulfstream June 11. Multiple stakes-placed Bitacora looms as the filly to beat. The Francisco D'Angelo-trained daughter of Dominus closed strongly in the recent Ginger Punch at Gulfstream to finish a half-length behind multiple-stakes winner Somethingelse.
Parx Racing features the G3 Dr. James Penny Memorial (4:31 PM ET), a 1 1/16-mile turf contest for older fillies and mares. Trainer Chad Brown has a trio of entrants for the $200,000 event, led by multiple stakes winner Fourstar Crook, who is operating off a seven-race win streak. Brown's other entrants are G3 Eatontown runner-up Light in Paris and G2 Hillsborough runner-up Elysea's World. Another interesting filly in the field is the Tom Proctor-trained Cambodia, winner of the G3 Gallorette at Pimlico in her most recent start for owner/breeder Don Robinson.
Belmont's Manila Stakes (5:18 PM ET) is a one-mile turf contest for sophomores, led by the Tony Dutrow-trained Big Handsome on a three-race win streak.
A field of 10 three-year-olds (plus a main-track-only entrant) has been assembled to compete in Gulfstream's Not Surprising Stakes (6:06 PM ET), also a mile turf event. Pletcher-trained Bronson, who captured the English Channel May 6 at Gulfstream before finishing off the board in the Penn Mile (G3), and Gilberto Zerpa-trained Basha, a multiple stakes-placed son of Uncle Mo, are among the more prominent contenders.
A deep and competitive field of nine, headed by classy comebacker Om, is positioned to provide fans with some pari-mutuel fireworks at a flat mile on turf in Santa Anita's closing day Grade 3, $100,000 American Stakes (6:35 PM ET). A multiple graded stakes winner, Om, trained by Dan Hendricks, has been idle since November, while Flamboyant and Alert Bay are in sharp recent form. Si Sage, a two-time graded winner, has been idle for nearly a year.
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