Horse racing news and notes, 9/15/20

Let’s recap the horse racing headlines from last weekend and preview what’s to come in the week ahead.

MIGHTY HEART goes coast-to-coast in Queen’s Plate

Daisuke Fukumoto caught the Queen’s Plate field napping as he set sensible fractions atop MIGHTY HEART and held off the closers to post the 13-1 upset. Longshot BELICHICK rallied to complete the $730.40 exacta, and second-choice CLAYTON finished third. Favored CURLIN’S VOYAGE could manage only a fifth-place finish.

ARKLOW returns to form in Kentucky Turf Cup

The time off and soft conditions enabled ARKLOW to bounce back and take the Grade III, $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup for the second time in three years. 4-5 favorite ZULU ALPHA got close but couldn’t seal the deal late, settling for third.

Santa Anita delays opening weekend due to Bobcat Fire

The poor air quality resulting from the Bobcat Fire has forced Santa Anita Park to postpone their opening day from Saturday to next Friday (Sept. 25).

“As excited as we are to welcome back live racing, we are first and foremost committed to safety,” Aidan Butler, executive director of California operations for The Stronach Group, told the AP. “This is the responsible decision to make at this time so people can plan accordingly.”

The Bobcat Fire forced Golden Gate Fields to cancel three straight programs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Belmont is back this weekend

After taking last week off, Belmont Park will return to the racing schedule beginning on Friday. Here’s a look at some of the biggest races taking place throughout North America this weekend.

Saturday

The Grade I, $250,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational

The Belmont Oaks was drastically reduced in purse from $1 million in 2019, and only 14 runners were nominated, so the field is expected to be small. However, Grade III Lake George one-two finishers SELFLESSLY and SWEET MELANIA are among the nominees.

The Grade I, $1 million Woodbine Mile

Grade I Maker’s Mark Mile victor WAR OF WILL will try to earn an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Mile with a victory in Saturday’s Woodbine Mile. The race is expected to lure some of the best turf milers in North America.

Sunday

The Grade I, $250,000 Natalma Stakes

The Natalma, a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In race for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, will pit emerging grass stars at 1 1/16th-miles on Woodbine’s immaculate turf course.

The Grade I, $250,000 Summer Stakes

Like the Natalma, the Summer Stakes is a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In race for the Juvenile Turf. The Summer is also a 1 1/16th-mile heat. 

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