Weekend Lineup Presented By Del Mar Ship & Win: Six Stakes Saturday Beneath The Twin Spires - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Weekend Lineup Presented By Del Mar Ship & Win: Six Stakes Saturday Beneath The Twin Spires

Pauline’s Pearl defeats Shedaresthedevil in the 2022 La Troienne

This weekend's stakes action is highlighted by the “Stephen Foster Preview Day” at Churchill Downs, which offers six stakes worth $200,000 apiece on Saturday's card.

Though only two of the stakes are graded, the listed races have drawn Grade 1 winners like Pauline's Pearl (Shawnee Stakes) and Americanrevolution (Blame Stakes) for what ought to be a big afternoon beneath the Twin Spires in Louisville, Ky.

Kicking off the weekend is Penn National's Friday evening card that offers the Grade 2 Penn Mile, in which the undefeated Annapolis makes his 2022 debut for trainer Todd Pletcher. The Penn Mile is one of six stakes offering $950,000 in purses on an 11-race card that gets under way at 5 p.m.

Other graded stakes action heads to Woodbine for the first turf stakes of the year in the Royal North, while Belmont Park offers a sophomore turf test in the G2 Pennine Ridge.

Overseas, the Group 1 Epsom Derby will be run this Saturday, having drawn a full field of 17 3-year-olds. Aidan O'Brien will send out three entrants, while Charlie Appleby will saddle another three. It is Sir Michael Stoute who has the current favorite, however, in G2 winner Desert Crown.

The French Derby will be held on Sunday, while the stateside action features the Grade 3 Mint Julep at Churchill.

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

Friday

7:45 PM – Grade 2 Penn Mile Stakes at Penn National

Bass Racing LLC's Annapolis, to be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., won the Pilgrim Stakes (Grade 2) last October for his second consecutive victory but the War Front colt has not been postward since. He drew the rail post and has been installed the 9-5 favorite for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Flavien Prat ventures to Grantville for the night and will be riding another son of top sire War Front, Fort Washington, for trainer Shug McGaughey. Fort Washington is winless in two starts since a maiden score at Aqueduct last November but has a license to improve off his two outings in 2022. He drew the outside post in a field of eight.

Penn Mile Entries

Saturday

2:45 PM – Grade 3 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs

Whitham Thoroughbreds' homebred filly Walkathon will attempt to win her third consecutive race and first graded stakes score in Saturday's $200,000 Regret (Grade 3) at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Ian Wilkes, Walkathon broke her maiden by two lengths in late April at Keeneland in her first turf try. The daughter of Twirling Candy returned May 14 at Churchill where she bested 10 rivals by 1 ¼ lengths in a first-level allowance event. She's poised to return in two weeks for Saturday's Regret and will break from the rail with Julien Leparoux in the saddle.

The Regret features an extremely competitive field of six 3-year-old fillies including Don't Tell My Wife Stables and Keith Desormeaux's $250,0000 Bourbonette Oaks winner Candy Raid, Klaravich Stables' graded stakes placed McKulick (GB), and Michael Tabor's allowance winner Beside Herself.

Regret Entries

4:22 PM – Grade 3 Arlington Stakes at Churchill Downs

Steve Goldfine, Kari Provost and Jeff Zlonis' five-time winner Gray's Fable, who narrowly prevailed in the $160,000 Opening Verse four weeks ago, tops a field of six that entered the $200,000 Arlington Stakes (Grade 3) on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Now trained by Brian Lynch, Gray's Fable previously competed in the care of Roger Attfield primarily in Florida and Canada. The 7-year-old son of Gio Ponti narrowly held off Hidden Stash in the Opening Verse. As a 6-year-old, Gray's Fable won the $100,000 Appleton (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Julien Leparoux will ride from post No. 6.

Another top horse that entered the Arlington Stakes is Amerman Racing's Admission Office, who is also campaigned by Lynch. The 7-year-old gelding by Point of Entry last competed 15 months ago at Gulfstream Park but was a Grade 3 winner as a 5-year-old in the Louisville Stakes at Churchill Downs. The four-time winner will be ridden by John Velazquez from the rail.

Arlington Entries

4:30 PM – Grade 3 Desert Stormer Stakes at Santa Anita

A nose shy of being unbeaten in eight starts, three of them stakes, Nick Alexander's homebred Becca Taylor tries graded stakes competition for the first time as she returns to Santa Anita to head Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Desert Stormer Stakes as five fillies and mares three and up go six furlongs.

Trained by Steve Miyadi, California-bred Becca Taylor, who was second, beaten a nose two starts back in the Irish O'Brien Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course, ventured to Golden Gate Fields on May 7, where she pressed the pace and posted a one length allowance victory going six furlongs on synthetic Tapeta as the 1-5 favorite.

A 1 ¼ length winner of the statebred Spring Fever Stakes at six furlongs on dirt three starts back Feb. 21, Becca Taylor is unbeaten three tries on dirt, two of them in statebred stakes at Santa Anita.

A 4-year-old filly by Old Topper out of the General Meeting mare Lady Sax, Becca Taylor will get the first-time services of Santa Anita's leading rider Juan Hernandez. With seven wins and a second place finish, “Becca” has earnings of $319,160.

Desert Stormer Entries

4:59 PM – Grade 2 Royal North Stakes at Woodbine

Trainers Mark Casse and Josie Carroll will both be well represented in Saturday's Grade 2 $175,000 Royal North, the first turf stakes race of the 2022 Woodbine season.

Casse sends out multiple graded stakes winner Amalfi Coast, graded stakes placed Jeanie B, multiple graded stakes placed La Libertee, and graded stakes winner Souper Sensational. Multiple stakes winner Boardroom, Gidgetta, and stakes winner Lady War Machine comprise Carroll's talented trio.

​Purchased for $475,000 (U.S.) by Tracy Farmer at the 2021 Keeneland Association November Breeding Stock Sale, Amalfi Coast will look to defend her Royal North title after a hard-fought nose win in last year's running. ​Bred in Ontario by Terra Farms Ltd., the now 6-year-old daughter of Tapizar-Include Katherine was feted as Canada's champion female sprinter in 2021 after a season in which she posted a mark of 2-1-2 from five starts. Her other victory last year came in the Grade 3 Ontario Fashion Stakes.

Royal North Entries

5:12 PM – Grade 2 Pennine Ridges Stakes at Belmont Park

Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will send out a pair of formidable contenders in Unanimous Consent and Napoleonic War in search of his third score in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Pennine Ridge, a nine-furlong inner turf test for sophomores at Belmont Park.

Brown, who won the Pennine Ridge previously with Camelot Kitten [2016] and Peter Brant's Demarchelier [2019], holds a strong hand in Saturday's renewal. 

Klaravich Stables' Unanimous Consent, by Almanzor, is undefeated in three starts, including a 1 3/4-length score in the Woodhaven at 1 1/16-miles last out over firm footing at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Manny Franco saved ground aboard Unanimous Consent in the Woodhaven as Chanceux, who finished third in Sunday's Paradise Creek at Belmont, set moderate splits. Franco gained position down the backstretch and made a five-wide move in upper stretch to sweep to a comfortable score that garnered a career-best 81 Beyer Speed Figure.

Unanimous Consent has breezed back four times out of the Woodhaven win, including a five-eighths effort in 1:02.11 on May 13 in company with Masen, who posted a comfortable score in last Sunday's Seek Again at Belmont.

The Brant-owned Napoleonic War might also be undefeated if not for a troubled trip in the Grade 3 Transylvania in April at Keeneland. The War Front bay was shuffled back to last through the far turn before launching a wide bid to finish fourth, defeated 1 1/2-lengths by the victorious Sy Dog.

Napoleonic War, a debut dead-heat winner in January over the Tampa Bay Downs turf, exited the Transylvania to post a narrow nose score in a 1 1/16-mile optional-claiming event on May 5 at Belmont.

Unanimous Consent will exit the outermost post 7 under Franco, while Flavien Prat will pilot Napoleonic War from post 4.

Pennine Ridge Entries

Sunday

4:55 PM – Grade 3 Mint Julep Stakes at Churchill Downs

Bal Mar Equine's seven-time winning mare Dalika (GER) is set to make her first start since October against an ultra-competitive cast of nine rivals that entered Sunday's $200,000 Old Forester Mint Julep (Grade 3) at Churchill Downs.

The Mint Julep, run at 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course, will go as Race 9 of 10 with a post time of 4:55 p.m. (all times Eastern). First post is 12:45 p.m.

Trained by Al Stall Jr., the speedy Dalika (GER) won last year's Robert Dick Memorial (G3) at Delaware and Al Stall Memorial at Fair Grounds. The gray mare has done most of her training this spring at Skylight Training Center, located in Goshen, Ky. Dalika (GER) has recorded two of her seven wins at Churchill Downs and has only one start locally where she finished outside the top 2. The late Miguel Mena rode Dalika (GER) in nine of her last 10 starts. Ricardo Santana Jr., who was close friends with Mena, will be in the saddle Sunday from post No. 6.

Mint Julep Entries

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