Let’s recap the horse racing headlines from last weekend and preview what’s to come in the week ahead.
MIDNIGHT BISOU, TOM’S D’ETAT take care of business
Former Grade I winners MIDNIGHT BISOU and TOM’S D’ETAT toyed with the competition in the Grade II Fleur de Lis and Grade II Stephen Foster, respectively, last Saturday at Churchill.
Mike Smith waited in fourth aboard MIDNIGHT BISOU for SERENGETI EMPRESS (fourth beaten 10 1/4 lengths) to fade, and inhaled that foe at the top of the lane. The final margin of victory in the Fleur de Lis, over MOTION EMOTION, was 8 1/4 lengths.
TOM’S D’ETAT sat just outside longshot PIRATE’S PUNCH early in the Stephen Foster and repelled bids from BY MY STANDARDS and SILVER DUST before drawing off a 4 1/4-length winner.
NEWSPAPEROFRECORD doesn’t squander loose lead in Just A Game
The lone Grade I on Saturday, Belmont's Just A Game, went to Irad Ortiz Jr. and NEWSPAPEROFRECORD, who were shockingly left alone while setting dawdling fractions. BEAU RECALL put in a respectable rally from last for second but never got within three lengths of the winner.
Road to the Derby updates
Non-Triple Crown nominated DEAN MARTINI ($31.20) rode the rail to victory in Thistledown’s Grade III Ohio Derby on Saturday, holding off a late bid from SOUTH BEND and favored STORM THE COURT. He earned 20 Derby points for the score, but it will be rendered moot if his connections don’t pay the supplemental nomination fee of $45,000.
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Belmont Stakes winner TIZ THE LAW closed at 2-1 in Kentucky Derby Future Pool #5 this Sunday, with Santa Anita Derby victor HONOR A. P. being the second-choice at 6-1. There will be two more Kentucky Derby Future Pools and one more Kentucky Oaks Future Pool.
Monmouth meet begins Friday
After a delay of nearly two months, Monmouth Park begins their annual meeting on Friday. Spectators will be allowed (up to 25 percent capacity), but there will be a litany of health protocols in place. The premier event of the meet, the Grade I Haskell Invitational, is set for July 18.
Saturday stakes primer
Let’s review the probables for the biggest upcoming stakes races on Independence Day weekend.
The Grade I Met Mile
Westchester winner CODE OF HONOR and Carter victor VEKOMA could collide in the Met Mile at Belmont this Saturday. They’re expected to be joined by NETWORK EFFECT (second in Carter), ENDORSED (second in Westchester), and MCKINZIE (first in Triple Bend).
The Grade I Manhattan
Fort Marcy winner INSTILLED REGARD leads a cast looking for redemption in the Manhattan. SADLER’S JOY was upset in the Tiller last time out, while ROCKEMPORER ran second (DQ’d to third) in the Charles Whittingham.
The Grade II Suburban
The top three finishers in the 2019 Belmont Stakes, SIR WINSTON, TACITUS and JOEVIA, are all probable for the 1 1/4-mile Suburban Handicap this Saturday. Potentially joining them is Flat Out Stakes winner MORETTI.
The Grade III Delaware Oaks
The top two from Oaklawn’s Gardenia Stakes, PIECE OF MY HEART and COMICAL, are probable for the Delaware Oaks along with promising allowance winners HOPEFUL GROWTH and PRINCESS CADEY.
The Grade III Los Alamitos Derby
Bob Baffert seeks his fourth straight win in the Los Alamitos Derby, and he’s potentially sending out both flashy maiden winner UNCLE CHUCK and Los Alamitos Futurity winner THOUSAND WORDS, who seeks a rebound off his dismal 11th-place finish in the Oaklawn Stakes.