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The graded-stakes calendar has plenty on tap for this weekend, led by Life Is Good, Hot Rod Charlie and Olympiad in the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney at Saratoga. That also is where Golden Pal returns in the Troy (G3), Classic Causeway looks for another turf success in the Saratoga Derby (G1), and Matareya looks to remain undefeated for the year in the Test (G1).
At Del Mar, Shedaresthedevil looks for another win in the Clement L. Hirsch (G1), and the La Jolla Handicap (G3) is where Cabo Spirit tries to break his losing streak.
Here is an early look at the likely fields.
National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2), Saratoga, 1 mile (turf), 3-year-olds
Wit tries turf for the first time after his fourth-place finish in the Woody Stephens (G1), which was his first out-of-the-money result in six starts. Churchtown steps up after winning two allowance optional-claiming races at Woodbine. Main Event picked up his first graded-stakes win last out in the Kent (G3).
Troy (G3), Saratoga, 5 1/2 furlongs (turf), 4-year-olds and up
Golden Pal returns after he missed the start at the King’s Stand (G1) and finished last at Royal Ascot. True Valour came up a length short in the Jaipur (G3) last out after a duel in the stretch. Arzak has two wins and a second in his three starts this year, including a victory in the Jacques Cartier (G3) two starts back.
Whitney (G1), Saratoga, 1 1/8 miles, 4-year-olds and up
After finishing fourth in the Dubai World Cup (G1), Life Is Good returned to lead the John A. Nerud from gate to wire and win by five lengths in his last start. Hot Rod Charlie, second in the Dubai World Cup, lost by a head in the Salvator Mile (G3). Olympiad is 5-for-5 this year, most recently taking the Stephen Foster (G2) with Americanrevolution in second. Zoomer, a 6-year-old son of Curlin, was claimed for Gary Barber after his last race, which he won by eight lengths. This $1 million race is a win-and-you’re-in for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Saratoga Derby Invitational (G1), Saratoga, 1 3/16 miles (turf), 3-year-olds
Classic Causeway tries turf again after scoring in the Belmont Derby (G1), his first start on grass. Annapolis returned from an eight-month layoff to finish second in the Penn Mile (G2) before winning the listed Manila Stakes. Emmanuel’s win in the Pennine Ridge (G2) same after a third in the Blue Grass (G1) and a fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G2).
Test (G1), Saratoga, 7 furlongs, 3-year-old fillies
Matareya is 4-for-4 this year, with her easy win in the Acorn (G1), one of three graded-stakes victories. Under the Stars won the Santa Ynez (G2) to start the year for trainer Bob Baffert. After coming in second in the Santa Ysabel (G3) and fourth in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2), she won the Summertime Oaks (G2) for Baffert stand-in Sean McCarthy. Hot Peppers is 5-for-6 this year, including a last-out win in the Victory Ride (G3). Walkathon has won three in a row, including the Regent (G3) in her first graded-stakes attempt.
Glens Falls (G2), Saratoga, 1 1/2 miles (turf), fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up
This would be the second start of the year for War Like Goddess, who won the Bewitch (G3) on April 29. Key Biscayne is 2-for-2 this year after winning the Robert G. Dick Memorial (G3) last out. Virginia Joy started the year by winning in The Very One (G3) and in the Sheepshead Bay (G2) but was fourth last out in the New York (G1).
Clement L. Hirsch (G1), Del Mar, 1 1/16 miles, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up
Shedaresthedevil won this race last year but was winless in two starts this year before scoring in the Fleur de Lis (G2) last out over Super Quick, also expected here. Blue Stripe came to the U.S. from Argentina for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup, where she was seventh in the Distaff. She then won the Santa Margarita (G2) before finishing seventh in the Santa Maria (G2). She was bested in that event by Private Mission, who returns to Baffert’s barn.
La Jolla (G3), Del Mar, 1 1/16 miles (turf), 3-year-olds
Cabo Spirit hasn’t had a win in five starts since January. Sumter would step up to graded-stakes company after going 2-for-2 this year with wins in stakes at Santa Anita in February and April. Newgrange had been listed as probable, but new trainer Phil D’Amato changed his mind about racing him for the first time on the turf. Now the former Bob Baffert trainee is being pointed to the Shared Belief.
Saratoga Oaks Invitational (G3), Saratoga, 1 3/16 miles (turf), 3-year-old fillies
McKulick finished in the money in each of her five starts and is coming off a win in the Belmont Oaks (G1), beating With the Moonlight and New Year’s Eve, both possible here. Contemporary Art steps up after breaking her maiden on second try at Belmont in June. Unraced as a 2-year-old, Canisy is 2-for-3 this year and would try her first graded stakes.
Adirondack (G3), Saratoga, 6 1/2 furlongs, 2-year-old fillies
Summer Promise impressed in breaking her maiden by five lengths on her first try but then was second last out in the Schuylerville (G3). Promise of Hope and Apple Picker are each 1-for-1 and would step up here.
Probables were not available for Saturday’s West Virginia Derby (G3) or West Virginia Governor’s Stakes (G3) at Mountaineer. Entries were scheduled to be taken Monday.