Twelve grades stakes races will be run at Penn National, Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Lone Star Park and Santa Anita Park over the Memorial Holiday Weekend. Santa Anita closes out the holiday weekend with three Grade 1 stakes: the Gamely, Hollywood Gold Cup and the Shoemaker Mile. The Shoemaker is the first Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race to be run in the U.S. this year.
TVG will be broadcasting racing throughout the weekend from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park, and more. Fans can tune in on TVG, TVG2 and the Watch TVG app, which is available on Amazon Fire, Roku and connected Apple TV devices.
“America’s Day at the Races” will be live on Saturday, May 29 on FS2 from 12:30-6 p.m.; on Sunday, May 30 on Bally Sports SoCal from 3-5:30 p.m.; and on FS2 from 4-4:30 p.m. On Monday, May 31, “America’s Day at the Races” will air on FS2 from 12:30—8:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 29
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Michael Hernon and Gary Barber’s Spanish Loveaffair leads a field of nine 3-year-old fillies in a wide open Grade 3 Regret Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Churchill Downs. Trained by Mark Casse, Spanish Loveaffair, a bay daughter of 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Karakontie (JPN), finished second in last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Spanish Loveaffair has had some tough racing luck this year. She crossed the wire first in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 27, but in a controversial decision, was disqualified for interference and was placed fourth. In her most recent start, the Grade 2 Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland, she was bumped at the start and trailed a field of six. Tyler Gaffialione has the mount, breaking from post 4. Lazy F. Ranch’s Gam’s Mission, defeated Mark Detampel’s Flown by a neck in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Churchill on May 8. Gam’s Mission, trained by Cherie DeVaux, will be ridden by Adam Beschizza from post seven. Ricardo Santana Jr. has the mount aboard Flown, trained by Brendan Walsh, from post eight.
Two runners exiting the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve ― O Besos (fifth) and Helium (eighth) ― lead eight 3-year-olds in the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes going 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs. Trained by Greg Foley for Bernard Racing, Tagg Team Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds and Terry Stephens, O Besos finished third in the Grade 2 TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby prior to the “Run for the Roses.” O Besos will break from post three under Marcelino Pedroza. D.J. Stable’s Helium, trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Julien Leparoux from post two, has won three of four starts, including the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby at 15-1. Juddmonte’s Fulsome, trained by Brad Cox, also has won three of his four races, including an impressive 1 ¼-length victory in the listed 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn Stakes at Oaklawn Park on May 1.
Robert LaPenta, Augustin Stable and Madaket Stables’ Hard Love leads a field of nine 3-year-olds in the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge going 1 1/8 miles at Belmont Park. Trained by Jonathan Thomas, Hard Love won the black type, 1 1/16-mile Woodhaven Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths at Aqueduct on April 17. Javier Castellano has the mount from post four. WinStar Farm and CHC’s Sainthood, trained by Todd Pletcher, had a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby, finishing 11th. Prior to that, Sainthood was a fast-closing second in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park. Joel Rosario, who leads all North American riders in graded stakes wins with 20, rides Sainthood breaking from post five. Shaftesbury, also trained by Pletcher, broke his maiden at 1 1/16 miles last time out at Belmont by 2 ¾ lengths.
Venerable geldings Bombard, trained by Richard Mandella, and Law Abidin Citizen, trained by Mark Glatt, will vie for favoritism among five turf sprinters in the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs at Santa Anita Park. The 8-year-old Bombard will be ridden from post two by Florent Geroux. A five-time winner, Bombard finished second by a half-length in a 6-furlong allowance prep over the course on April 25. Law Abidin Citizen, a 7-year-old by Twirling Candy, has not started since a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes on Aug. 29 at Del Mar. Ridden from post four by Abel Cedillo, Law Abidin Citizen has won four of nine starts on the Santa Anita turf course.
LNJ Foxwoods United looms as the prohibitive favorite against three rivals in the $300,000 Grade 2 Charles Whittingham Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf. An eight-time winner for trainer Richard Mandella, including last year’s Whittingham, United, a 6-year-old gelding by Giant’s Causeway, opened the season with a victory in Santa Anita’s Grade 3 San Luis Rey Stakes at 1 ½ miles on March 20. Flavien Prat has the mount from post 4. Little Red Feather Racing, Gordon Jacobsen and Philip Belmonte’s 7-year-old chestnut Red King last year won both the Grade 3 San Juan Capistrano at Santa Anita and the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap. Trained by Phil D’Amato, Red King will be ridden by Umberto Rispoli from post 3. D’Amato has also entered California-bred Acclimate, who finished second in the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita in February.
A field of five has been entered for the 70th Triple Bend Stakes, a Grade 3 race at 7-furlongs for 3-year-olds and up. Jerome S. Moss’ Lambeau will try to break into the graded stakes win column on Saturday after a sharp 1-mile optional allowance claiming win at Santa Anita on April 10, going wire to wire. Trained by John Shirreffs, Lambeau will be ridden by Edwin Maldonado from post two. The 4-year-old Eight Rings, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Flavian Prat from post five, will be making his first start since finishing seventh last August in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes at Saratoga. The Peter Eurton-trained 4-year-old Exaulted was third in the Grade 2 San Carlos at Santa Anita on March 6.
Sunday, May 30
Ramona Bass, Perry Bass II, Adele Dilschneider and Waddell Hancock II’s Soothsay, and Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ Crazy Beautiful, lead five entered in Sunday’s Grade 2 Summertime Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles. Trained by Richard Mandella, Soothsay has won both her starts, which includes a 1-length score in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks on April 3. Flavien Prat has be mount from post four aboard the 4-5 morning line favorite. Shipping in from Kentucky, the Ken McPeek-trained Crazy Beautiful will attempt to rebound from her 10th-place finish in the Grade 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on April 30 when she was bothered at the start, raced wide, and did not make a move in the stretch. A daughter of Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Liam’s Map, Crazy Beautiful won the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks in March.
Monday, May 31
Cannon Thoroughbreds’ multiple graded stakes-winner Smooth Like Strait and Electric City Racing, Madaket Stables, Christopher Dunn and Jeremy Peskoff’s Whisper Not (GB) headline a field of seven runners in the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile (G1) to be run at 1-mile on the turf on Monday, May 31, at Santa Anita Park. The Shoemaker Mile, the first U.S. Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race of 2021, will award the winner an automatic starting position into the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). Smooth Like Strait, was a hard luck third-place finisher in the 1 1/8-mile Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 1. Smooth Like Strait set the pace and held the lead until mid-stretch when his saddle slipped. He still fought gamely to the wire and finished just a neck behind Colonel Liam and Domestic Spending, who wound up in a dead heat. Smooth Like Strait was also beaten by a neck in his previous start, the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) at Santa Anita on March 6. Since coming over from Great Britain in the second half of 2020, Whisper Not has hit the board in all five of his starts for trainer Richard Baltas. In his most recent start, he came from off the pace in the San Francisco Mile (G3) at Golden Gate Fields on April 24 to win by a head as the 7-5 favorite. Geovanni Franco will ride Whisper Not from post six.
Royal Ship (BRZ), winner of the Grade 2 Californian Stakes, leads seven older horses entered for Monday’s $300,000 Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup at 1 ¼ miles. Trained by Richard Mandella, Royal Ship, owned by Fox Hill Farm and Sienna Farm, and ridden from post one by Mike Smith, has won six of 12 starts, and got his first victory in the U.S. when winning the Californian on April 17 by a neck over WinStar Farm’s Country Grammer. The latter, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Flavien Prat from post 2, won last year’s Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes at Saratoga. CRK Stable’s Express Train has hit the board in his last four starts in graded stakes. Trained by John Shirreffs and ridden by Juan Hernandez from post 3, Express Train won the Grade 3 San Pasqual at Santa Anita on Jan. 30, finished second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on March 6, and was third in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on April 17. Jim Daniell and Donna Daniell’s Florida-bred Rushie won last September’s Grade 2 Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs.
8 p.m. – $300,000 Grade 1 Gamely Handicap at Santa Anita Park on TVG
Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ Keeper ofthe Stars, the defending champion, leads nine fillies and mares in the Grade 1 Gamely Handicap at Santa Anita. Trained by Jonathan Wong, Keeper ofthe Stars, won last year’s race by a 1 ¼ lengths over Bodhicitta (GB). Keeper of the Stars faced males in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields, and finished second by a head to Whisper Not (GB). Abel Cedillo has the mount, breaking from post 6. Making her first start this year, Calvin Nguyen’s Bodhicitta (GB) was the runner-up in last year’s Gamely for trainer Richard Baltas. A 5-year-old chestnut daughter of Showcasing (GB), Bodhicitta won last year’s Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon at Del Mar. Batlas has also entered the 4-year-old Going to Vegas, who won the Grade 3 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita on March 27.
8:35 p.m. ― $400,000 Grade 3 Steve Sexton Mile at Lone Star Park on TVG
Multiple graded stakes-winners C Z Rocket and By My Standards headline an eight-horse field at Lone Star Park in the Grade 3 $400,000 Steve Sexton Mile on the main track. Owned by Madaket Stables, Gary Barber and Tom Kagele, and trained by Peter Miller, C Z Rocket is the nation’s leading sprinter, having conquered last year’s champion sprinter Whitmore twice this year at Oaklawn in the listed Hot Springs and the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap. A 7-year-old gelded son of City Zip, C Z Rocket,11 of 25 lifetime, will be ridden from post eight by Florent Geroux. Allied Racing Stable and Spendthrift Farms’ 5-year-old By My Standards won his first start of 2021 on April 10, taking the listed one-mile Oaklawn Mile Stakes by a nose. Last year, By My Standards, a bay son of two-time Breeders Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents, won a trio of Grade 2 stakes races in the New Orleans Classic Stakes at the Fair Grounds, the Oaklawn Handicap, and the Alysheba at Churchill Downs. Trained by Bret Calhoun, By My Standards will be ridden by Gabriel Saez from post 3. Another multiple graded stakes-winner is Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Stables’ 5-year-old Warrior’s Charge. Trained by Brad Cox, Warrior’s Charge won the Grade 3 Razorback at Oaklawn and the Grade 3 Philip Iselin at Monmouth Park last year. Joel Rosario will ride Warrior’s Charge breaking from post 4.
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