Stakes galore Saturday while the country continues to reopen and – hopefully – starts to put the coronavirus pandemic in the rearview mirror.
We’re by no means out of the woods but positive signs are everywhere in racing. Belmont Park reopened this week, with nearly $11 million total handle for the first card of the spring-summer meeting Wednesday, and the first Grade 1 of the year in New York goes down Saturday with the Carter Handicap.
Santa Anita Park hosts the belated Santa Anita Derby Day card that also includes the Hollywood Gold Cup, Santa Anita Oaks and four other stakes.
There’s plenty of other top-tier action on a day that typically would feature the Belmont Stakes with stakes at Churchill Downs, Gulfstream, Charles Town and Golden Gate. And we welcome back our friends from the north with Opening Day at Woodbine.
Catch all the action on NYRA’s America’s Day at the Races from 2:30-3 p.m. on FS2, 3-8 p.m. on FS1 and 1-7 p.m. on MSG+.
Here’s your primer for Saturday, June 6. Please continue to be safe and stay healthy.
Eagle Farm. Race 7. 12:55 a.m. Eighteen juveniles clash in the Group 1 Dry J.J. Atkins. Rothfire rolls into his Group 1 debut with a 5-for-6 mark, including a Group 2 score over the same track in May. The gelded son of Rothesay stretches to 7 furlongs for first time. Isotope, second to the favorite in his only defeat, looks like main danger.
Eagle Farm. Race 8. 1:35. Stay up all night for the Group 1 TAB Stradbroke Handicap. Trekking tries to win his second straight G1 for Godolphin and James Cummings.
Newcastle. Race 1. 7:55. Juveniles lead off the all-weather card in the north. Archie Watson primes them early, he unveils out Captain Magnum.
Newmarket. Race 2. 8:50. Guess we won’t watch Korean baseball or replays of Friends today. Proper racing at Newmarket, including the first stakes of the day, the Group 3 Palace House Stakes. Judicial, winner of 14 races, returns for his first start since November. Group 3 placed Shades Of Blue makes her 4-year-old debut for Clive Cox.
Newmarket. Race 3. 9:25. Godolphin is loaded in the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes. Five-year-old mare Magic Lily returns from her winter in Dubai and 4-year-old filly Terebellum makes her first start since finishing fifth in the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp in October.
Newcastle. Race 4. 9:40. Stayers stretch 2 miles in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes.
Newmarket. Race 4. 10:00. Proper card. The Newmarket Stakes attracts nine, including Waldkonig, a 9-length winner of a Wolverhampton novice back in December.
Newcastle. Race 5. 10:15. Palace Pier, a 3-year-old son of potent stallion Kingman, makes it 3-for-3 for John Gosden.
Newmarket. Race 5. 10:35. And the feature on a stellar card, the Group 1 Qipco Two Thousand Guineas Stakes. Pinatubo, 6-for-6 including the Dewhurst and the Vincent O’Brien, makes his long anticipated 3-year-old debut. Arizona make his first start since the Breeders’ Cup. Want a bomb? Starcat at 50-1.
Newcastle. Race 6. 10:50. Oh, the potential. Eleven juveniles make their debuts.
Lingfield. Race 1. 11:20. The opener on the all-weather fixture. Alan King, who is known more for 2 milers, sends out 2-year-old filly, Drumquina, for Kingston Stud. Roger “Thank you Poor Porgy” Varian unveils promising newcomer Undertake for Cheveley Park Stud.
Gulfstream Park. Race 1. Noon. Still rolling in South Florida, maiden claimer on the grass with a big field starts the card.
Gulfstream. Race 2. 12:30 p.m. More and more baby races these days. Here’s a 4 1/2-furlong $50,000 maiden claimer.
Newmarket. Race 9. 12:55. Chaser Byron Flyer carries top weight in the finale, a handicap at 1 ½ miles.
Woodbine. Race 1. 1:00. Welcome back Woodbine. Field of eight for 5-furlong claimer.
Lingfield. Race 4. 1:04. Emraan rolls into this off two impressive wins in two starts for trainer Ian Williams.
Belmont Park. Race 1. 1:15. First Saturday card of the spring-summer meet starts with 6 furlong claimer on the main track.
Churchill Downs. Race 2. 1:34. Bossy Moment drops in for $75,000 tag in 2-year-old maiden claimer at 5 furlongs. Son of Street Boss starts from the rail after finished non-threatening fifth in debut at 3-1 last time from extreme outside post.
Churchill. Race 3. 2:06. Vexatious returns to the grass for 11-furlong allowance test after trying the dirt with decent success in last three. She meets good group that includes multiple graded stakes winner Gentle Ruler, English Affair and Romantic Pursuit.
Belmont. Race 3. 2:23. Dreams Of Tomorrow finished third at 18-1 in debut last time at Gulfstream and goes as even-money favorite in 6-furlong maiden. If he’s vulnerable perhaps it’s graduation day for Pardsy, First Line or Buona Fina.
Woodbine. Race 4. 2:39. First look at famed E.P. Taylor Turf Course for 6-furlong maiden for fillies and mares. Mark Casse begins assault on another title and Sovereign Award with former $875,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling Feeling Funny.
Gulfstream. Race 6. 2:42. The $100,000 Soldier’s Dancer leads off the stakes. For Florida-breds at 1 1/16 miles on the grass, looks like good spot for Wild Medagliad’oro to continune promising start to the season.
Laurel Park. Race 6. 3:10. Wondrwherecraigis, a maiden winner in mid-March before racing shut down, takes on Off The Record and Day The Music Died in 5 1/2-furlong allowance.
Gulfstream. Race 7. 3:14. Crafty old veteran Life in Shambles runs for $25,000 tag in 6 1/2-furlong optional. Nine-year-old son of Broken Vow has won 11 of 54 and earned $867,961.
Woodbine. Race 5. 3:16. Jim Nantz called and said to bet Hello Friends in 5-furlong maiden optional.
Belmont. Race 5. 3:27. Syndergaard still going strong at age 6. He hasn’t won since December 2018 but looks good from the rail in open-company 6-furlong allowance.
Santa Anita Park. Race 1. 3:30. Big day starts with $100,000 Fran’s Valentine for Cal-bred fillies and mares on the turf.
Laurel. Race 7. 3:40. He’s No Lemon makes main-track debut for Graham Motion against deep field that includes old reliable John Jones in 1 1/16-mile optional.
Gulfstream. Race 8. 3:46. State-bred fillies and mares go 1 1/16 miles on the grass in $100,000 Ginger Punch.
Woodbine. Race 6. 3:48. Battle of the “Soupers” in 5-furlong optional with Souper Smart and Souper Success in field of eight.
Belmont. Race 6. 3:59. First of four stakes, the Grade 2 Fort Marcy on the grass marks return of New York-bred champion Gucci Factor, U.S. debut of Flop Shot and what could be battle between Instilled Regard and Synchrony.
Santa Anita. Race 2. 4:01. Seven 2-year-olds make debut in 5-furlong maiden, including Sonic Brees and Exhalting for Doug O’Neill.
Gulfstream. Race 9. 4:18. Vast didn’t make the trip north just yet for Bill Mott. Daughter of Lea looks to finish off her Florida stay with victory over seven others in $75,000 Game Face.
Belmont. Race 7. 4:32. The Grade 3 Westchester might be the race of the day with Travers winner Code Of Honor making his 2020 debut. Off since finishing seventh on speed-favoring track in Breeders’ Cup Classic, 4-year-old son of Noble Mission sports 2-for-3 mark at Belmont and takes on Monongahela, Endorsed, Mihos, Payne and Joevia in 1 1/16-mile stakes for $100,000.
Laurel. Race 9. 4:40. Kingpin just missed in similar 5 1/2-furlong optional in late February at Fair Grounds. Freshened at Fair Hill, son of Quality Road looks tough from the rail in this 5 1/2-furlong allowance that also draws Matta.
Churchill. Race 8. 4:46. Bobby’s Wicked One looks to bounce back from Grade 3 Count Fleet in $100,000 Arisides. He’ll need to against Volatile, Honest Mischief and Heartwood.
Santa Anita. Race 4. 5:01. She’s So Special takes on the boys in $75,000 Desert Code going 5 1/2-furlong turf stakes.
Belmont. Race 8. 5:04. Chad Brown won last year’s Grade 3 Intercontinental with Significant Form and returns with that mare and stablemates Newspaperofrecord, Regal Glory and Viadera.
Woodbine. Race 9. 5:24. Stakes-quality field for 7 1/2-furlong turf allowance. Amalfi Coast, Oceans Of Love, Lunar Garden and Get Explicit among the 10 contenders.
Santa Anita. Race 5. 5:32. Ken McPeek ships Fantasy and Gulfstream Park Oaks winner Swiss Skydiver to the West Coast in search of another big prize, the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks. Waiting are locals Merneigh, Speech and Regal Beauty in $200,000 stakes.
Belmont. Race 9. 5:36. The Grade 1 Runhappy Carter Handicap, usually run at Aqueduct on Wood Memorial Day, now finds a spot in late spring. Firenze Fire makes first start for Kelly Breen after previously running for the indicted Jason Servis. Performer, unbeaten in four starts last year for Shug McGaughey, makes his 2020 debut and Grade 1 winner Mind Control bids for four straight.
Churchill. Race 10. 5:50. The co-featured Grade 3 Dogwood now offers points toward a spot in the Kentucky Oaks field. Could that be in the cards for the likes of Four Graces, Bayerness, Ain’t No Elmers, Magic Dance and Edgeway? They’ll need to pass the 7-furlong test first.
Woodbine. Race 10. 5:54. Artie’s Princess just missed running record to 3-for-3 in Frost King last November and makes 2020 debut for Wesley Ward and Ken and Sarah Ramsey in 5-furlong allowance with a purse of $101,200.
Santa Anita. Race 6. 6:03. Cezanne, son of Curlin who brought $3.65 million at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream 2-year-olds in training sale, makes debut from the rail in 6 1/2-furlong maiden.
Santa Anita. Race 7. 6:34. Cal-breds go 1 mile on the grass in $100,000 Crystal Water.
Charles Town Races. Race 1. 7:00. Keep it rolling into the night and the opener, a 4 1/2-fulong maiden for 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds.
Santa Anita. Race 8. 7:09. The featured Grade 1 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby looks like another showdown between unbeaten Authentic and Honor A. P., 1-2 last time in the Grade 2 San Felipe. They’ll go an extra sixteenth this time, to 9 furlongs. Looking for an upsetter? Anneau d’Or and Shooters Shoot both have run well at Santa Anita in the past and could be within a chance.
Charles Town. Race 2. 7:39. West Virginia-breds go 4 1/2 in the $50,000 It’s Only Money. Dr. Feelgood, 9-for-11 at Charles Town, looks tough against Aaron’s Tap and Last Print.
Santa Anita. Race 9. 7:42. Jeff Mullins runs solid uncoupled entry of Hariboux and K P All Systems Go in $150,000 Cinema for 3-year-olds on the grass. The former won the Pasadena in late February for his second win in five U.S. starts.
Golden Gate Fields. Race 9. 7:57. Blaine Wright holds strong hand in $50,000 Albany with Anyportinastorm, runner-up in last year’s Grade 3 Longacres Mile Handicap, and four-time stakes winner Baja Star. Doug O’Neill ships What’sontheagenda north for 5-furlong turf stakes.
Santa Anita. Race 10. 8:12. Nice touch by management to bring back the Hollywood Gold Cup name for historic Grade 1 stakes at 10 furlongs. Vino Rosso won it last year and later added the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Small but strong field looms this year with Midcourt, Higher Power, Improbable and Tenfold all bringing proven form at the trip.
Golden Gate. Race 10. 8:27. Galileta faded to sixth in debut May 16 and returns with Kent Desormeaux aboard again for 6-furlong maiden.
Charles Town. Race 4. 8:42. Amelia Bedelia puts 12-for-13 record in the trifecta to test in 7-furlong allowance.
Golden Gate. Race 11. 8:57. Five-furlong turf allowance closes the card.