The highlight of this week’s horse racing schedule is Saturday’s Grade 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga. This is one of the biggest races of the summer season for three-year thoroughbreds and older with some major implications for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 2 at Santa Anita Park.
Saratoga Race Course Weekly Major Graded Events
Saratoga, New York is the place to be in the summer months for anyone who loves cooler temperatures and red-hot horse racing. While the daily racecards are packed with exciting betting opportunities, that excitement continues to build as the week wears on.
The first big graded event on this week’s schedule at Saratoga is the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame on Friday, Aug. 2. This Grade 2 event is open to three-year-old thoroughbreds. It will be contested on the turf track at a distance of one mile with a total prize purse of $200,000. Also on the card is the ungraded Saratoga Oaks for three-year-old fillies. This 1 3/16-mile race on turf has six contenders listed as entered at Horse Racing Nation.
Saturday’s card at Saratoga is filled with a trio of major graded events leading up to this year’s Whitney. The top event on the undercard is the $500,000 Longines Test Stakes for three-year-old fillies. This Grade 1 will be run on the dirt track at a distance of seven furlongs. Right now, 10 different fillies are eyeing up a run in this race.
The early field for the $1 million Whitney is limited to just six contenders as noted by HRN. This 1 1/8 mile run on the dirt at Saratoga should be represented by a few of the top trainers in the game. Bob Baffert has McKinzie pointed towards this race and Todd Pletcher is looking for Vino Rosso to compete.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor could have the highest HRN-rated horse in Saturday’s field at 8.04 if Thunder Snow decides to run. This Ireland-bred five-year-old has an eye towards this year’s BC Classic after taking third place in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on June 8 at Belmont. Mitole won that race with Baffert’s McKinzie placing second.
Earlier this season in the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup, the son of Helmet won that 1 ¼-mile race over Gronkowski and Gunnevera. This was Thunder Snow’s fifth-straight finish in the money.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Weekly Major Graded Events
Out on the West Coast in Southern California, this track offers a pair of Grade 2 events as part of Saturday’s card with each offering a total prize purse of $200,000.
The Sorrento Stakes is open to two-year-old fillies and it will be contested on the dirt over six furlongs. The featured contender in this race is trainer Simon Callaghan’s Amalfi Sunrise in her graded stakes debut.
The other event open to fillies and mares three and older is the Yellow Ribbon Handicap. This 1 1/16-mile turf race should feature trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s Vasilika looking for her fifth victory in a row. The five-year-old mare recently won the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes at Santa Anita on May 27. Going back to April of last year, this sire of Skipshot has won 12 of the 13 races she competed in.
The Grade 3 La Jolla Handicap is the highlight of Sunday’s race card at Del Mar. This race for three-year-old thoroughbreds offers a total prize purse of $150,000 and it will be contested on the turf at 1 1/16 miles.