Weekend Lineup Presented By NYRA Bets: Summer's In Full Swing - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Weekend Lineup Presented By NYRA Bets: Summer’s In Full Swing

Jackie’s Warrior won the G1 Churchill Downs

This weekend's graded stakes action features a Grade 1 sprint contest on each coast, with the Vanderbilt at Saratoga drawing reigning sprint champion Jackie's Warrior and the “Win and You're In” Bing Crosby offering a well-matched field of 10.

Saturday's action also includes the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at the Spa, featuring several of the top contenders from the 3-year-old division: Preakness winner Early Voting will face off with Kentucky Derby second- and third-place finishers Epicenter and Zandon.

Later Saturday evening, the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap on the West Coast will see Dubai World Cup winner Country Grammer challenged by Kentucky Derby winner Mandaloun.

On Sunday, 2-year-old champion Corniche will make the first start of his sophomore season in the Grade 2 Amsterdam. The former Bob Baffert trainee is now conditioned by Todd Pletcher.

Also worth noting that Saturday's racing includes five stakes worth $400,000 at Laurel Park.

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

Saturday

4:50 p.m. – G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Stakes at Saratoga

Reigning Champion Male Sprinter Jackie's Warrior will look to build upon an already stellar campaign when he takes on five challengers in Saturday's Vanderbilt Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up. Now that Jackie's Warrior has flourished as a sprinter, trainer Steve Asmussen said he is on a more targeted schedule this year with the ultimate goal being a return engagement in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint in November at Keeneland.

The accomplished Ny Traffic will try to play spoiler in his first start in Grade 1 company since finishing 9th in the 2020 Preakness for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr., while trainer Dallas Stewart will hope to see veteran Long Range Toddy [post 5, Luis Saez, 117 pounds] find the winner's circle for the first time since a neck score in the 2019 Grade 2 Rebel.

Kneedeepinsnow [post 1, Ricardo Santana, Jr., 117 pounds] will look to go from claim to fame as he makes his third outing since being haltered for $80,000 out of a winning effort that garnered a career-best 100 Beyer in April at Keeneland. Trained by Matt Shirer, the Flat Out gelding has picked up two stakes placings for his new connections, finishing second in the Work All Week in June at Hawthorne and third in the Kelly's Landing 2 1/4 lengths behind Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Aloha West last out on July 2 at Churchill.

Vanderbilt Entries

5:37 p.m. – G2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga

Trainer Chad Brown will look to continue his rocket start at the Saratoga Race Course summer meet when saddling Grade 1-winners Early Voting and Zandon for Saturday's Jim Dandy for 3-year-olds going nine furlongs on the main track. Early Voting arrives off a victory in the Grade 1 Preakness on May 21 at Pimlico Race Course, while Zandon arrives off nearly three-month's rest from a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 7 at Churchill Downs.

Epicenter arrives at the Jim Dandy with vengeance following a close second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness as the post-time favorite. The bay son of leading third crop sire Not This Time closed from eighth position in both races. After finishing three-quarters of a length shy of victory in the Kentucky Derby, Epicenter was a deep-closing second in the Preakness, finishing 1 1/4 lengths in arrears of Early Voting. Boasting a record of 8-4-3-0 and field-best earnings in excess of $1.9 million, Epicenter defeated Zandon in the Risen Star before capturing the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at the New Orleans oval.

Jim Dandy Entries

8:30 p.m. – G1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar

As a Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” race, the Crosby winner receives a guaranteed berth, with all fees paid, in the $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders' Cup Sprint at Keeneland in November. A trio of crackerjack sprinters head the lineup in Michael Lund Petetsen's Shaaz, Slam Dunk Racing and Madaket Stables' Florida shipper Drain the Clock and Kretz Racing's American Theorem.

Crosby starter Shaaz has been training up the proverbial storm out of the Bob Baffert barn. The 4-year-old Uncle Mo colt has only started four times, but he's won three (one through a disqualification) and boasts a trio of bullet works at Del Mar coming into the dash.

Drain the Clock, whose last start was in the Smile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream on July 2 where he showed speed but fell back to finish fourth. The fast son of Maclean's Music races for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. and is a seven-time winner of nearly $700,000.

American Theorem comes into the heat off a photo-finish tally in the Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita on May 29. That race was the biggest score yet for the ridgling by American Pharoah.

Bing Crosby Entries

9:30 p.m. – G2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar

In the San Diego, which veteran observers at Del Mar are saying is one of the best editions of the race ever, Country Grammer appears to be a solid favorite. The Tonalist 5-year-old horse comes into the race off a smashing score in the $12 million Dubai World Cup back in March, a triumph that boosted his bankroll to $10,837,320. He's been prepping steadily for trainer Baffert for this comeback.

Mandaloun, an Into Mischief 4-year-old colt with more than $2 million in earnings, finished second in the 2021 Kentucky Derby, but when the horse who was first across the line – Medina Spirit – was subsequently disqualified for a drug issue, Mandaloun was moved up to first. His last start was a fourth-place finish in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs on July 2.

Royal Ship, a Brazilian-bred 6-year-old, is a seven-time winner of nearly $400,000. He was third in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita on May 30 in his most recent effort. Hall of Fame rider Smith will be aboard him for the 11th consecutive time.

San Diego Entries

Sunday

5:05 p.m. – G2 Bowling Green Stakes at Saratoga

Multiple graded-stakes winner Arklow returns off a nearly 10-month layoff in Sunday's Bowling Green, an 11-furlong inner turf test for older horses at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Brad Cox, the 8-year-old Arch bay was last seen in October at Belmont Park finishing fifth in the G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, a race he won in 2019 over multiple Grade 1-winner Channel Maker.

Bowling Green Entries

5:39 p.m. – G2 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher will have two chances to secure a record-equaling fifth victory in the Amsterdam when he sends out reigning Champion 2-Year-Old Colt Corniche and graded stakes winner My Prankster in Sunday's 6 1/2-furlong sprint for sophomores.

Corniche, owned by Speedway Stables, will look to kick off his sophomore campaign on a high note as he makes his first outing since a prominent 1 3/4-length triumph in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile in November at Del Mar. Robert and Lawana Low's My Prankster will look to turn the tables on fellow Amsterdam aspirant Gunite after a narrow loss to him last out in the Maxfield on July 3 at Churchill Downs.

Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Grade 1-winner Gunite will make his third start off an eight-month respite for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. One of three entrants for leading second crop sire Gun Runner, Gunite was last seen posting his half-length score over My Prankster in the Maxfield to earn his first victory since taking the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga in September.

Amsterdam Entries

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