Weekend Lineup Presented By BetMakers: Revving Up On The Jersey Shore - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Weekend Lineup Presented By BetMakers: Revving Up On The Jersey Shore

Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.

Last week, Belmont Park was the focus of the racing world with the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, preceded by a host of stakes for other Thoroughbred divisions. Earlier this week, the action shifted across the pond to England's Ascot racecourse for the Royal meet.

On Saturday, the Jersey Shore will be the place to be as Monmouth Park  revs up for the Grade 1 TVG.com Haskell Stakes on July 23 with a preview day that includes four added-money events and the return of Hot Rod Charlie, who edged Mandaloun in the 2021 Haskell but was disqualified for stretch interference.

Hot Rod Charlie goes postward with Hall of Famer Mike Smith aboard in the G3 Salvator Mile, the final contest on a big 14-race card that gets under way at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Out West in Arcadia, Calif., Santa Anita wraps up its summer season on Sunday with a pair of grass stakes, including the G3 San Juan Capistrano Stakes, one of the most unique races on the continent at 1 3/4 miles and with a start at the top of the hillside grass course. Phil D'Amato, leading trainer at the meet in a runaway, has two horses entered in the San Juan Capistrano as he bids for his fourth consecutive win in the race. Even with a win, he'll still have a ways to go to catch the late Hall of Famer, Charlie Whittingham, who won the marathon fixture a remarkable 14 times.

The San Juan Capistrano shares the closing day spotlight with another turf event, the G3 American at one mile.

Here's a quick look at some of this weekend's graded stakes:

Saturday

3:27 PM – Grade 3 Poker Stakes at Belmont Park

Only five older horses entered the Poker with Chad Brown – who has yet to record a victory in this race –  holding a pair of aces, including English-bred Masen, the solid 6-5 morning line favorite who comes off a listed stakes win over just two foes at the same distance at Belmont on May 22. Flavien Prat rides this one, giving up the mount on Hot Rod Charlie in the Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park. Brown's other entrant, Public Sector, put together three consecutive graded stakes wins in New York last summer and is second choice on the morning line at 5-2. Jose Ortiz rides. Luis Saez will be aboard Wolfie's Dynaghost, who has early speed and could be a threat to steal the race.

Poker Entries

4:47 PM – Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes at Monmouth Park

Princess Grace put together an impressive four-race winning streak in Grade 2 and Grade 3 races and then was defeated in her final two starts of 2021, including a third-place finish in the G1 Matriarch at Del Mar last November.  She hasn't started since but has training steadily at Fair Hill for Michael Stidham, who has a good strike rate for horses coming off layoffs. Chad Brown has a formidable duo in Irish-bred Lemista and Fluffy Socks, both of whom figure to be in the hunt. Fluffy Socks has a stronger record with two graded stakes victories on her ledger. Shug McGaughey brings Vigilantes Way back to Monmouth to defend her Eatontown title,  having drawn off by  2 1/4 lengths in 2021 under Paco Lopez, who rides her back.

Eatontown Entries

5:19 PM – TVG.com Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park

The Pegasus, at 1 1/16 miles, is a key prep for the TVG.com Haskell and has drawn a field of nine, led by a pair of horses that won stakes at Oaklawn this year. Home Brew, a Street Sense colt trained by Brad Cox, comes off a win April 23 in the Oaklawn Stakes. Prior to that, he was a well beaten 10th as the favorite to Dash Attack in the Smarty Jones. The latter, a Munnings colt trained by Ken McPeek,  followed his Smarty Jones victory with three consecutive defeats and then rebounded with a win over the Monmouth surface in the May 14 Long Branch Stakes. They both have the Chad Brown-trained Electability to beat. The Quality Road colt has yet to win a stakes but comes off a third-place finish to runaway winner We the People in the G3 Peter Pan.

TVG.com Pegasus Entries

5:47 PM – Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes at Monmouth Park

Chad Brown has won the last five runnings of the Monmouth and has two strong contenders of the 12 entered in this year's renewal. French-bred Sacred Life has been competitive against Grade 1 company and owns an overpowering win over the Monmouth grass course two years ago in the Oceanport Stakes. Manny Franco comes down from Belmont to ride. Brown's other entry, English-bred Public Sector, was a two-time graded stakes winner last year who will be ridden by John Velazquez. Graded stakes winner Tax comes back from a 17-month layoff for trainer Danny Gargan, who is trying the Arch gelding on turf for the first time in his 15th career start. Kent Sweezey-trained long shot Epic Bromance could be a horse for the course, with two wins, one second and one third over the Monmouth grass in four starts.

Monmouth Stakes Entries

6:15 PM – Grade 3 Salvator Mile Stakes at Monmouth Park

Hot Rod Charlie returns to Monmouth Park for trainer Doug O'Neill off a three-month break after a strong runner-up performance in the $12 million Dubai World Cup. The Oxbow 4-year-old nosed out Mandaloun in last year's Haskell but was disqualified after causing Midnight Bourbon to clip heels and lose his rider in the stretch. With Mike Smith aboard, he's been installed the 4-5 morning line favorite. Todd Pletcher sends Mind Control back to Monmouth and while the 6-year-old may be better sprinting around one turn, he has shown an ability to get the distance of the Salvator Mile. Shirl's Speight is a Grade 1 winner on turf for Roger Attfield, who is trying to enhance the Speightstown 5-year-old's record for possible stud duty purposes with a graded stakes win on dirt. He's only tried dirt once in 10 previous starts and he'll need to improve greatly off that effort to be a factor in here.

Salvator Mile Stakes Entries

7:00 PM – Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita

There is some depth to this field of six older fillies and mares, with four of the starters having registered graded stakes wins, led by Private Mission, the 9-5 favorite for Sean McCarthy, who is training most of Bob Baffert's horses while the latter is suspended. The Into Mischief filly won the G2 Zenyatta last October at Santa Anita. McCarthy has a second runner, Varda, who is winless in two starts since a G1 victory in the Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos in 2020. Lady Mystify won the G3 Remington Park Oaks for trainer Peter Eurton last September and comes off a very good third to champion Malathaat and Bonny South at Keeneland in the G3 Doubledogdare on April 22. Argentine-bred Blue Stripe posted a 6-1 upset in the G2 Santa Margarita in April with a strong stretch run for trainer Marcelo Polanco.

Santa Maria Entries

Sunday

7:00 PM – Grade 3 San Juan Capistrano Stakes at Santa Anita

Phil D'Amato has two contenders in his bid for a fourth consecutive San Juan Capistrano. Irish-bred Rijeka will be making his fourth start for D'Amato after running mostly in marathon events in Florida and Kentucky for Saffie Joseph Jr. Rijeka has two wins from three starts in the D'Amato barn but has yet to be tested in a stakes in California. Joe Bravo rides. Red King will be making his fourth consecutive San Juan Capistrano start, having bookend third-place finishes around a 2020 victory. The 8-year-old by English Channel will be running late under Abel Cedillo. Brandon Walsh ships Irish-bred Modus Operandi from Kentucky, where the Frankel gelding most recently finished eighth in the G3 Louisville at long odds. He has recorded one U.S. victory from six starts since exiting Aidan O'Brien's yard at Ballydoyle in Ireland. His lone Irish victory was an 11-length score in an 18-horse maiden field at 1 1/4 miles. Umberto Rispoli will be aboard.

San Juan Capistrano Entries

9:00 PM – Grade 3 American Stakes at Santa Anita

The American brings down the curtain on the Santa Anita meet as the final of 11 races on closing day of a meet that began last Dec. 26. The race attracted an evenly matched group of 10 with no standout favorite.  Vanzzy, now trained by Dan Blacker, is going in sharp form. Leading trainer Phil D'Amato has two entered, both with solid chances, led by Irish-bred Hong Kong Harry, who is 2-for-2 in the U.S. Jack Sisterson returns to California after being based in the Midwest and has Kentucky Pharoah primed off a strong effort at Pimlico on May 20.

American Stakes Entries

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