The Belmont Stakes might own the marquee, but the main attractions Saturday in New York are found on one of tastiest undercards outside of the Breeders’ Cup. A total of 10 stakes races, including six Grade I’s, will be contested on Saturday, so get your popcorn ready.
Kentucky Oaks champion Abel Tasman makes her return in the Acorn for trainer Bob Baffert, and figures to have her hands full with last year’s Spinaway winner Sweet Loretta for Todd Pletcher.
In the Ogden Phipps, all eyes and betting bucks will be on the champion filly Songbird, who returns to the track for the first time since being out-nostriled by Beholder in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff, her only defeat in 10 career starts. The now 4-year-old Medaglia d’Oro filly could very well be on the precipice of a monster season and even with the layoff, shouldn’t have much problem with her rivals on Saturday.
Trainer Chad Brown could have pointed like, 7 or 8 horses from his barn for the Grade I Longines Just A Game Stakes, but he’s settled on the classy mare Roca Rojo and still-improving filly Anotone to get the job done.
The illustrious Met Mile is once again filled to the brim with talent, with Bob Baffert’s colt Mor Spirit appearing to be in top form. He’ll need his best to hold off the ultra-consistent Awesome Slew for Live Oak Plantation.
Perhaps the day’s best race is the Woodford Reserve Manhattan, where European invader Potemkin puts his mettle to the test against a trio of talented Chad Brown trainees and Turf Classic winner Divisidero, among a slew of others.
There is no Triple Crown on the line this year’s main event, the 149th Belmont Stakes, but make no mistake, this is a stellar group of 3-year-olds set to tackle their toughest challenge yet—a mile and a half around Big Sandy. With the Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming a no-go, Preakness champ Cloud Computing watching from the barn and Classic Empire on the mend from a hoof abscess, the door has been opened for Irish War Cry to atone from his Kentucky Derby flop and gain some serious steam heading into the summer season.
149th Belmont Stakes
Saturday, June 10