Best Horse Racing Picks This Weekend: Arlington Park & Saratoga
It will be a bittersweet scene on Saturday at Arlington Park, as the grand track bids farewell to top notch racing on what was formerly known as Arlington Million day. Four graded turf stakes lead the way at the Suburban Chicago oval, which will close its doors at the end of the season. Leading the way will be the Grade 1 Mister D. Stakes (previously known as the Arlington Million) and the Grade 1 Beverly D.
The nation’s top rated grass horse Domestic Spending is the horse they will all have to beat in the Mister D., while the Beverly D. features an international showdown between Mean Mary from America and Santa Barbara from Europe. The Grade 1 Bruce D. and the Grade 3 Pucker Up round out the graded stakes line-up from Arlington.
This week’s six selections also include the Grade 1 Fourstardave for turf milers and the Grade 2 Saratoga Special for juveniles, both from Saratoga.
Mister D. Stakes (G1), Arlington Park, 1 1/4 miles (turf), 3-year-olds and up
Domestic Spending rates top billing among a field of ten older turf males set for Saturday’s Grade 1 Mister D. Stakes at Arlington Park. The 4-year-old Kingman gelding has won six of seven starts and brings a four-race winning streak into what was formerly known as the Arlington Million. His last three victories have come in grade 1 events and none were more impressive than his decisive score in the Manhattan last time out at Belmont Park.
The Irish tandem of trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore are always a threat in big turf races around the world, and in Armory, they look to have the major threat to the American favorite. The Galileo colt has been a consistent runner against top competition. Late last year he traveled to finish second in Australia’s Group 1 Cox Plate and more recently was a competitive third against some of the world’s best grass horses in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Our Pick – Armory (9/2) – Domestic Spending is tough, but if anyone can beat him, it’s this Irish-bred son of Galileo from the O’Brien barn.
Bet on Armory!
Beverly D. Stakes (G1), Arlington Park, 1 3/16 miles (turf), 3-year-olds and up fillies and mares
Mean Mary and Santa Barbara, two top females from different continents, headline seven turf fillies and mares facing off in Saturday’s Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park. A five-team graded stakes winner, Mean Mary will be the one they have to catch. The Graham Motion trained daughter of Scat Daddy has been a model of consistency, taking it to her opposition right out of the gate. Perfect in two starts this year, she comes in off game scores in the Grade 2 New York at Belmont Park and the Grade 2 Gallorette Stakes at Pimlico.
Irish invader Santa Barbara has been well respected throughout her young career and lived up to those expectations with a rousing victory last time in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks. The daughter of Camelot is the only 3-year-old in the field and will represent the powerhouse yard of trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Our Pick – Mean Mary (9/5) – Her early speed gives the 5-year-old mare a slight advantage in the showdown with Santa Barbara.
Bet on Mean Mary!
Bruce D. Stakes (G1), Arlington Park, one mile (turf), 3-year-olds
A winner of the $100,000 American Derby last time as a maiden after adding blinkers, Tango Tango Tango could go off the favorite in a wide open field of nine 3-year-olds set to tangle on the turf in the Grade 1 Bruce D. Stakes on Saturday. A son of Tourist trained by Jack Sisterson, the winner of 1-of-4 lifetime is one of only three stakes winners in the field.
The other two stakes winners in the Bruce D. are both trained by Larry Rivelli in King of Miami and Like a Saltshaker. The former looks like the bigger threat, having won the $150,000 Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury Park two starts back. Point Me By should also garner plenty of support. The son of Point of Entry won his career debut at Churchill Downs in June before running competitively in an allowance race last time at Saratoga.
Our Pick – Therideofalifetime (6/1) – The son of Candy Ride should take to the turf, and if he does, he has the talent to beat these.
Bet on Therideofalifetime!
Pucker Up Stakes (G3), Arlington Park, 1 1/8 miles (turf), 3-year-old filles
Shantisara, second in the Boiling Springs at Monmouth Park in her U.S. debut for trainer Chad Brown, and the Graham Motion-trained Oyster Box, a late running fourth last time in the Grade 3 Regret are two invaders with a big shot to take home the top prize in Saturday’s Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington Park.
Among their competition in the 9 furlong turf race are the 2-3-4 finishers from the recent Hatoof Stakes, run four weeks ago at Arlington. Flown, Double Blessed, and Spritz will look to use that local experience to their advantage in the Pucker Up. Of the three, the Hatoof runner-up Flown looks like the top challenger, having finished a good third in the Regret in her previous try.
Our Pick – Shantisara (4/1) – The European import is likely to improve upon a runner-up finish in her U.S. debut.
Bet on Shantisara!
Fourstardave Handicap (G1), Saratoga, One mile (turf), 3-year-olds and up
In a race that has frequently produced the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Raging Bull and Set Piece will vie for favoritism in Saturday’s 37th running of the Grade 1 Fourstardave on the turf at Saratoga. Trained by Chad Brown, the classy Raging Bull is the morning line favorite on the strength of a win in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile two starts back at Keeneland. Most recently, he was an unlucky second in Belmont’s Grade 3 Poker Stakes
Set Piece looks to be his biggest threat in the race which features eight graded stakes winners. The Brad Cox-trained son of Dansili has won three straight turf stakes at Churchill Downs, including an impressive score in the Grade 2 Wise Dan in his last start. The Fourstardave is a win-and-you’re-in event for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar on November 6.
Our Pick – Set Piece (5/2) – The English-bred gelding has put it all together of late for trainer Brad Cox.
Bet on Set Piece!
Saratoga Special (G2), Saratoga, 6 1/2 furlongs (dirt), 2-year-olds
Doctor Jeff, an impressive winner of his only career start, has been pegged as the morning line favorite in a deep 12-horse field of juveniles set for the 116th running of the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on Saturday at Saratoga. A son of Street Boss, trained by Rudy Rodriguez, the chestnut colt won that debut maiden race geared down late, five weeks ago at Belmont Park.
His top rival in the wide open race may come from the barn of the new Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. Double Thunder, a son of Super Saver, won his debut at Monmouth Park before traveling out to Kentucky and Churchill Downs. There he impressively rallied to win the Bashford Manor Stakes going away on June 26.
Our Pick – Stolen Base (8/1) – The son of Bodemeister, from red-hot connections, is working like he wants to build on his debut win at Saratoga.
Bet on Stolen Base!
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Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
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