Fresh-off the biggest story in horse racing in 37 years, the excitement for betting on the sport remains high after American Pharoah’s triumphant run in the last Saturday’s Belmont Stakes to become just the 12th three-year old thoroughbred to lay claim to one of sport’s most elusive titles; the Triple Crown.
While Triple Crown winning trainer Bob Baffert continues to bask in the limelight and American Pharoah gets some much needed rest, the show goes on this weekend with a few high-profile graded stakes races at some of the top tracks in the nation. The following is this week’s horse racing betting report covering a few of these events that are set to be run this Saturday, June 13 so you can place your sports picks.
Stephen Foster Handicap- Churchill Downs
The Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs is a Grade 1 stakes race for four-year olds and up that is run on a dirt track over a distance of 1 1/8 miles. The total prize purse for this year’s race is set at $500,000.
The field for this year’s race continues to take shape as the main event on Saturday’s racing card, but much of the excitement surrounding the festivities at Churchill is an expected parade by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
As far as the race itself, one of the top horses to watch according to betting odds makers could be Majestic Harbor, who will be looking to return to the Winner’s Circle after a long and productive career. This seven-year old is trained by Paul McGee and probably best known for his victory in last year’s Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita Park.
Another possible entry in this year’s race is Noble Bird. He is trained by Mark Casse and coming off a second-place finish his last time out in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill on May 1. Prior to that race, he won a pair of allowance races at Keeneland and Oakland Park.
If you are looking for a possible frontrunner in this year’s Stephen Foster Handicap, take a closer look at the Bill Mott-trained Lea. He has finished in the money in three previous races this season including a victory in the Grade 3 Hals Hope Stakes at Gulfstream Pack in early January. This horse’s biggest victory was in last year’s Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream in early February.
Shoemaker Mile- Santa Anita Park
The field for the Shoemaker Mile is also taking shape. This Grade 1 stakes race on the turf at Santa Anita Park is for three-year olds and up with a total prize purse of $400,000.
Right now there are eight horses listed as probable for Saturday’s event starting with Ring Weekend as the highest ranked thoroughbred in the field. Trained by H. Graham Motion, this four-year old Gelding is coming off a big win in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita back on March 7. His was his only previous race this year after a busy three-year old campaign that included fifth-place finish in the 2014 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. He also posted a pair of victories last year in the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes at Saratoga and the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park.
Another top contender for this Saturday’s race should be Bal A Bali. This five-year old colt has now won his last three major stakes races including this year’s Grade 3 American Stakes at Santa Anita on May 9. The other two races were outside the United States at Gavea Jockey Club in Brazil.
A few of the other horses listed as probable for the 2015 Shoemaker Mile include Flamboyant and Winning Prize, who are both ranked in Horse Racing Nation’s Top 500.