Let’s recap the horse racing headlines from last weekend and preview what’s to come in the week ahead.
Upsets galore on Saturday at Saratoga
MIDNIGHT BISOU’s loss to VEXATIOUS in the Grade I Personal Ensign set the tone on Saturday at Saratoga. Four races later in Grade I Whitney, favored TOM’S D’ETAT blew the start and ended up third behind IMPROBABLE. Then in the Grade I H. Allen Jerkens, favored NO PAROLE was nowhere to be found in the stretch as ECHO TOWN powered away impressively to win by 3 1/2-lengths.
THOUSAND WORDS stuns HONOR A. P., CEZANNE in Shared Belief
THOUSAND WORDS set the pace and shockingly held off a bid by HONOR A. P. to take Del Mar’s Shared Belief Stakes and 50 Kentucky Derby points, all but assuring his spot in the starting gate. Previously-undefeated CEZANNE was a disappointing last in a four-horse field.
COLLUSION ILLUSION outlasts LEXITONIAN in Bing Crosby
A ground-saving bid by Flavien Prat helped COLLUSION ILLUSION get his nose down first in the Grade I Bing Crosby at Del Mar over a determined LEXITONIAN. The three-year-old son of Twirling Candy earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint as a result.
Travers Stakes highlights weekend action
Saratoga’s prestigious Grade I, $1 million Travers Stakes, moved up from it’s traditional end-of-August date in order to serve as a prep for the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5, is Saturday’s richest race. It also offers 170 Derby points to the first four finishers (100-40-20-10 format). Let’s go over the weekend action below.
The Grade I, $1 million Travers Stakes
Presumptive Kentucky Derby favorite TIZ THE LAW looks like the one to beat in the Travers Stakes, his first outing since winning the Belmont Stakes on June 20. His main opponent could be the undefeated UNCLE CHUCK, shipping in from California for Bob Baffert.
The Grade I, $300,000 Test Stakes
Both GAMINE and VENETIAN HARBOR are expected to shorten up in the seven-furlong Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga this Saturday. They’ll take on the improving FOUR GRACES as well.
The Grade I, $300,000 Ballerina Stakes
A “Win & You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, Saratoga’s Ballerina is expected to lure COME DANCING, BELLAFINA, and SERENGETI EMPRESS.
The Grade II, $150,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap
JOLIE OLIMPICA, BEAU RECALL and KEEPER OFTHE STARS are all looking to rebound off losses in Del Mar’s Saturday feature, the Yellow Ribbon Handicap, at 1 1/16th-miles on the turf.
The $200,000 Ellis Park Derby
For the first time in its history, the Ellis Park Derby will offer 85 points toward the Kentucky Derby (50-20-10-5 format). The nine-furlong heat is expected to draw a large field led by Blue Grass Stakes winner ART COLLECTOR, Indiana Derby winner SHARED SENSE, and Ohio Derby winner DEAN MARTINI.