The horse racing world got turned upside down last Saturday at Saratoga Race Course with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s stunning defeat in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes.
That is the way it goes sometimes and you always have to remember that there are no locks when it comes to picking horses against the betting odds at sportsbooks like 5Dimes. While American Pharoah’s future in racing remains in serious doubt given this loss, there is no doubt that the next wave of contenders for another Triple Crown run are ready to make their mark on the racing world. It all starts with a pair major Grade 1 stakes races on this Monday’s slate for two-year old thoroughbreds at both Saratoga in New York and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Southern California.
The Hopeful Stakes is a Grade 1 stakes race for two-year old thoroughbreds with a total prize purse $350,000. It is contested on a dirt track over a distance of seven furlongs. Last year’s winner was Competitive Edge. Trained by Todd Pletcher, this colt went on to win the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile at Derby Day at Churchill Downs as a three-year old and most recently he finished eighth in the Grade 1 King Bishop Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 29.
The Del Mar Futurity is open to two-year old thoroughbreds as well with a total prize purse of $300,000. This Grade 1 stakes race is also contested on dirt over a distance of seven furlongs. The Del Mar Futurity is where it all started for American Pharoah’s run to the first Triple Crown title since 1978. A solid victory in this race established him as a promising two-year old juvenile. It was the beginning of an amazing eight-race winning streak that finally came to an end last Saturday in the Travers with a second-place finish to Keen Ice.
Turning to Del Mar’s Saturday’s race card, the two-year old fillys will take center stage in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante Stakes. This race is contested on dirt over a distance of seven furlongs and it carries a total prize purse of $300,000.
The field for this year’s Debutante Stakes is packed with 11 contenders looking to add a huge victory to their early racing resume. Famed trainer Bob Baffert’s entry is Pretty N Cool. This two-year old is a perfect 2-0 in her young career with a victory in a Maiden Special Weight race at Del Mar on July 19 followed by a win in the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 12.
Another top contender to consider with your sports picks for Saturday’s race would be Right There. Trained by J. Keith Desormeaux, this filly will be making her fourth start as a two-year old. She faded to fourth place in the Sorrento Stakes last month, but this followed an impressive first-place run in the Landaluce Stakes at Santa Anita Park on June 21.
Trainer Doug O’Neill has three entries in this year’s Debutante Stakes starting with Mitzi Winks. She placed first in a Maiden Claimer at Del Mar on Aug. 6 in her first and only race. Even more promising of a prospect is Gomo. This two-year old filly will be making her fourth start after finishing in the money in her first three outings. After posting a third-place and first-place run in two Maiden Special Weight races at Santa Anita earlier this summer, she took second in the Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar. His third entry is Land Over Sea and she comes into this race with a second and first-place finish in two Maiden Special Weight races to start her racing career.
Some of the other two-year old fillys entered in Saturday’s race include Come To Mischief, Surfside Tiara and Stays In Vegas.