Trainer Chad Brown is going for his third consecutive victory in the $500,000 Diana (G1) on Saturday at Saratoga, the first Grade 1 race of the 40-day meeting, and he sends out a trio of contenders in the seven-horse field.
Brown saddled last year’s winner Lady Eli and won the 2016 edition with Dacita.
Sistercharlie is the 9-5 morning line favorite and will break from the rail with John Velazquez in the irons. The filly was beaten a neck in the New York (G2) in her last outing.
A Raving Beauty (2-1) is perfect in two starts since landing in the U.S. with Brown. The five-year-old mare won the Just a Game (G1) at Belmont Park going a mile in her last outing.
Brown’s third runner is New Money Honey (8-1), who comes into the race off a sharp win against $80,000 optional claimers at Belmont Park in her last outing. She won twice in her six starts last year, taking the Wonder Again (G3) and Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), both at Belmont Park.
Among the runners not sent out by Brown, Proctor’s Ledge (4-1) has the best shot. The Brendan Walsh trainee was a game second to A Racing Beauty in the Just a Game last out and there is an eight-pound shift in the weights giving her a good chance of turning the tables on that rival.
Completing the field are longshot War Canoe (50-1), Gallorette (G3) winner Ultra Brat (8-1) and Gamely (G1) fifth place finisher Hawksmoor.
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The supporting stake on Saturday’s 11-race card is the $150,000 Sanford (G3) for juveniles going six furlongs on the main track. A field of seven will line up with the Todd Pletcher trained Sombeyay the 2-1 morning line favorite. Pletcher has won the Sanford six times, most recently with Uncle Vinny in 2015.
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Let’s head out to Saratoga for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 10 The Diana G1 (Post time 6:18 ET)
#1 Sistercharlie 9-5
#2 Proctor’s Ledge 4-1
#6 A Raving Beauty 2-1
#7 Hawksmoor 6-1
Analysis: Sistercharlie is one of three in the field sent out by the Chad Brown barn. The filly was bumped coming out of the gate in the New York (G2) last out at Belmont Park, was far back early a good 28 lengths behind the pacesetter, and came with a good late rally, battling right to the wire to miss by a head to Fourstar Crook. She was 1 1/4 lengths ahead of third place finisher Daddys Lil Darling, who came back to win the Modesty Handicap (G3) at Arlington Park in her next start on July 7. Two back our top pick won the Jenny Wiley (G1) beating Fourstar Crook in that outing and it was her first go off a nine-month layoff. Her U.S. debut came last June where she was beaten a neck in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) by her stablemate New Money Honey. The nine furlongs looks as if it will suit her and she should get an honest pace to run at.
Proctor’s Ledge came up 3/4 of a length short of getting to A Raving Beauty last out in the Just a Game (G1). She won the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) two back at Churchill Downs and won twice here at the Spa last summer, taking this race and coming back to win the Lake Placid (G2). She was spotting A Raving Beauty six pounds last out and now that foe is carrying two more.
A Raving Beauty gives Brown a tough one-two punch. She is perfect in her two starts in the U.S., winning the Beaugay (G3) off a 6 1/2-month layoff and then taking the Just a Game. She looks primed for a top effort third off the bench and tactically could have the advantage over her stablemate as she should be sitting just off the pace.
WIN: #1 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1,2 / 1,2,6,7
TRI: 1,2 / 1,2,6,7 / 1,2,5,6,7