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Arlington Park and Saratoga to Hold Multiple Graded Stakes Races
Arlington Park’s future is in doubt. Its quality of racing this weekend is not. The Illinois track will host 4 Graded races. Saratoga will run the other 2 Graded events this weekend.
Beverly D. Stakes (Grade 1 Turf)
The turf route for fillies and mares has drawn a competitive group which includes a number of east coast shippers. The east coast has historically produced the strongest turf runners. Notable entries include winner of the Grade 2 New York Stakes, Mean Mary. Luis Saez is currently leading the jockey standings at Saratoga and taking the day off opens the door for the Ortiz brothers to make up ground. One would have to imagine he feels good about his chances if he’s willing to take that risk.
Joining Mean Mary will be the top 3 from the Grade 3 Modesty Stakes in Naval Laughter, Joy Epifora, and Bramble Queen. Grade 1 Belmont Oaks winner Santa Barbara is also entered in this spot. Other entries include Lemista for Peter Brandt and Chad Brown and Oh So Terrible.
Bruce D. Stakes (Grade 1 Turf)
The Bruce D. came up a bit light. The race is for 3 year old males, many of which are still pretending to be dirt classic horses. With the division having so few proven turf runners this seems like a great race to look for prices. The headliners are Therideofalifetime for Ignacio Correas and Tango Tango Tango who last won the American Derby.
Beyond the top pair it is likely a combination of low level allowance horses and potential late developing stars.
Luis Saez is on fire and will ride Point Me By who won on debut over the Churchill Downs turf. This could be the next rising star if one exists in the field. New Year Surprise is 0-3, but has a pair of 2nds at Arlington Park which could help here.
One final interesting runner is King of Miami who was impressive in the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury. The horse came back to bounce in a listed stakes last out, but against this field you can give talent plenty of excuses.
Mister D. Stakes (Grade 1 Turf)
Chad Brown and Flavien Prat will bring Grade 1 Manhattan winner, Domestic Spending, back in this spot. Former turf champion Zulu Alpha is also scheduled to make an appearance. Mike Maker sends out Glynn County in this spot and he has been hitting with everything of late.
Other entries include Strong Tide, Two Emmys, Another Mystery, Space Traveller, Bizzee Channel, Armory, and Big Dreaming.
Pucker Up Stakes (Grade 3 Turf)
With all the turf racing at Arlington this weekend it is not surprising that this turf route came up a bit soft. Oyster Box and Shesa Mystery were both graded stakes placed last out. Flown is out of Kitten’s Joy who has proved to be an incredible turf influence. Serene also has to be respected after breaking her maiden at Arlington and sporting the Godolphin blue silks.
Since it is a graded stakes on turf in the United States one would be remiss to not mention that Chad Brown sends out Shantisara. Brown has owned the American turf division for several years.
Fourstardave Handicap (Grade 1 Turf- Breeder’s Cup “Win and You’re In”)
The Fourstardave Handicap is named after “The Sultan of Saratoga” who ran in New York. Fourstardave the horse won at least 1 race at Saratoga in 8 consecutive years. In 1995 the year after his last victory, the race was renamed to honor him.
The winner of the event will earn an automatic bid to the Breeder’s Cup Mile at year’s end.
While entries are not official as of the writing of this piece, the race is shaping up to have plenty of quality. The headliner is Raging Bull for Chad Brown and Peter Brandt. The horse was last 2nd in the Grade 3 Poker Stakes. Joining her in the starting gate will be Got Stormy who went a little off form in the Grade 1 Jaipur last out. That being said, in her prime this horse has the ability to ride some big races.
Daddy is a Legend was 3rd in the Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes and is set to return here for George Weaver. A pair of last out winners will also enter the starting gate. Grade 3 Forbidden Apple winner, Rinaldi and Grade 2 Wise Dan winner, Set Piece will both make appearances here.
Lastly, Whisper Not is scheduled to try this spot as well. The horse was last 5th in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile.
Saratoga Special Presented by Miller Lite (Grade 2)
The Grade 2 event will showcase some of the 2022 Derby hopefuls. So much of this race depends on how well the horses are progressing as they grow into race horses. For this reason the tote board is often the best handicapping tool. Smart money may tell you which horses are live and which are not ready today.
Probable entries for the race include Gunite for all-time leading trainer Steve Asmussen. Bill Mott will send out High Oak. Tom Amoss has Ottoman Empire trying graded stakes again in this spot while Sonnyisnotsofunny will go out for Mike Maker.
Other probables for the race include Kavod, Midnight Worker, Doctor Jeff, Glacial, and Kitodan.
For more coverage of Saratoga’s Saturday card, visit our partners at Betting News. They will provide a full breakdown of Saturday’s card once entries have been drawn. If you need help finalizing your selections for Arlington, Saratoga, or any other action from around the country, consider purchasing one of Daily Horse Picks premium handicapping packages.