Weekend Lineup Presented By BetMakers: Top-Class Rematches At Monmouth, Saratoga - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Weekend Lineup Presented By BetMakers: Top-Class Rematches At Monmouth, Saratoga

Haskell contender Taiba feeling good as he makes his way off the track after a morning gallop with exercise rider Na Somsanith and groom Roberto Luna at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ on Wednesday morning. The Bob Baffert trainee will compete in Saturday’s $1,000,000 Haskell Stakes. Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Opening weekend at Del Mar is upon us, and across the country a trio of Grade 1 races are on offer this Saturday.

The G1 Haskell is a “Win and You're In” for the Breeders' Cup Classic, and has drawn a field of eight sophomores for the nine-furlong contest. Four of those have already won Grade 1 races: Jack Christopher, Taiba, Cyberknife, and White Abarrio.

Chad Brown and Mike Maker have each entered a pair in Monmouth's G1 United Nations, while Christophe Clement trainee Gufo should also show up in the 10-horse field.

Saratoga's G1 CCA Oaks early on Saturday afternoon features a rematch of the top two finishers from this year's Kentucky Oaks: Secret Oath and Nest.

Sunday's racing action is topped by an exciting rematch between Grade 1 winners Clairiere and Malathaat in Saratoga's Shuvee. Above the border, the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks is the star of the show for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Also worth noting that the weekend includes the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, a “Win and You're In” for the Breeders' Cup Turf. Irish Derby (G1) winner Westover (GB) is slated to battle the John and Thady Gosden-trained duo of Emily Upjohn (GB) and Mishriff (IRE), while last year's Arc winner Torquator Tasso is also in the six-strong field.

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

Saturday

3:16 p.m. – Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga

Secret Oath and Nest, the top-two finishers from the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, will square off once more in Saturday's $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks.

Secret Oath, a daughter of Arrogate, has won 3-of-5 starts this season, capturing Oaklawn Park's Martha Washington and Grade 3 Honeybee in addition to the Kentucky Oaks. Her only two losses this year took place against males when a game third in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on April 15, two starts before running fourth in the Grade 1 Preakness on May 21 at Pimlico.

Nest also arrives at the CCA Oaks off an effort against colts in an American Classic when second to stablemate Mo Donegal in the 12-furlong Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 11. The Todd Pletcher trainee has a perfect in-the-money record of 4-2-1 through seven lifetime starts while having never been beaten more than three lengths.

CCA Oaks Entries

4:51 p.m. – Grade 2 Connaught Cup at Woodbine

Multiple graded stakes-placed White Flag goes after his seventh career win in Saturday's $175,000 Connaught Cup. It will be the 8-year-old's first start since a banner effort in the Grade 2 Highlander on July 2, in which White Flag, last of 11 at the half-mile juncture, moved into ninth spot at the stretch call, then powered home to finish third, 1 ¼ lengths behind winner Bound for Nowhere.

The Connaught also drew other turf talents in the form of graded stakes winners Avie's Flatter, Olympic Runner, Silent Poet, and Tap It to Win. U.S. invaders, graded stakes winner Chewing Gum (Bill Mott), stakes winner Surly Furious (Glenn Wismer) and Turn of Events (George Weaver), will all make their first appearance at Woodbine.

Connaught Cup Entries

5:09 p.m. – Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth

Trainer Chad Brown will send out a strong pair of turf competitors for Saturday's $600,000 United Nations, Tribhuvan and Adhamo. The pair most recently finished one-two in the G1 Manhattan Stakes on Belmont Day, and Tribhuvan won last year's edition of the United Nations with his front-running style.

Co-second choice on the morning line is Christophe Clement trainee Gufo, third behind the Brown pair last out in the Manhattan but also a two-time Grade 1 winner who has only finished off the board once in his 17 career starts.

Mike Maker also enters a pair of runners, 6-1 chance Temple and 10-1 Glynn County. Grade 2 winner Temple returns to the races after a three-month break, while the Grade 1-placed Glynn County most recently ran sixth in the G3 Monmouth Stakes but gets extra distance here.

United Nations Entries

5:45 p.m. – Grade 1 Haskell Stakes at Monmouth

Bob Baffert will look to extend his record for victories to 10 in the Haskell stakes after Taiba was installed as the 7-5 morning line for the $1 million, Grade 1 race on Saturday at Monmouth Park. Taiba, a $1.7 million purchase and the son of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in only his second outing and finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby last time out when handled by Tim Yatkeen while Baffert was serving a 90-day suspension.

Monmouth Park oddsmaker Brad Thomas pegged the undefeated Chad Brown trainee Jack Christopher as the 3-2 morning line second choice in the field of eight. Jack Christopher, who is undefeated in four career outings and seeking his second straight top-level win, will be trying two turns for the first time while going beyond a mile for the first time as well.

In addition to Jack Christopher and Taiba, Grade 1 winners in the competitive field of eight include Arkansas Derby winner Cyberknife, who is trained by two-time Eclipse winner Brad Cox, and the Saffie Joseph, Jr.-conditioned White Abarrio, the winner of the Florida Derby.

Haskell Entries

10:00 p.m. – Grade 2 San Clemente Stakes at Del Mar

A dozen 3-year-old fillies will go at it in Del Mar's major prep for its 3-year-old filly piece de resistance, the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks. Del Mar's morning line maker, Jon White, has hung the favorite – Benowitz Family Trust, CYBT or Nentwig's Bellabel – at a hardly short 4-1. She gets Umberto Rispoli as her pilot and a chance to break from Post 6.

There are a pair of other fillies who figure to give the top one her toughest tussles – R Unicorn Stable's Island of Love (5-1 with Juan Hernandez up) and Tina and Jerome Moss' Lady T (6-1 with Victor Espinoza in the tack.).

San Clemente Entries

Sunday

3:21 p.m. – Grade 2 Shuvee Stakes at Saratoga

Clairiere and Malathaat will square off for the sixth time in Sunday's $200,000 Shuvee, a nine-furlong test for older fillies and mares. Malathaat, trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, bested Clairiere in each of their first four meetings, taking the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks in May 2021 at Churchill Downs, and the Grade 1 Alabama in August at the Spa en route to Eclipse Award-honors as Champion 3-Year-Old Filly.

But most recently, on Belmont Stakes Day, Clairiere, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, finally got the better of her familiar foe, rallying from 14 lengths off a sharp, pressured pace set by Letruska to post a head score over Malathaat in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 1 Ogden Phipps.

Shuvee Entries

5:27 p.m. – $500,000 Woodbine Oaks at Woodbine

Trainer Kevin Attard will have two chances to net his second consecutive victory in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, including dual stakes-winner Moira and stakes-placed Souper Flashy.

Some of the other top contenders are: Bizymaline, a two-time winner for trainer Santino Di Paola; Curlin Candy, a Mike De Paulo-trained daughter of Curlin who is stakes-placed but 0-4-0 from six starts; and Loaded Vixen, supplemented to the race, who has a record of 1-2-1 from eight starts.

Woodbine Oaks Entries

5:58 p.m. – Grade 2 Dance Smartly Stakes at Woodbine

Set at 1 1/16 miles over the E.P. Taylor turf, this year's running of the Dance Smartly includes multiple graded stakes winner Lady Speightspeare, the Mark Casse trio of Fev Rover (IRE), Keyflower (FR), and multiple stakes winner Inthewinnerscircle, Bill Mott trainee Wakanaka (IRE), and Munnyfor Ro, Canada's champion 3-year-old female of 2021. ​

Dance Smartly Entries

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