A field of 10 fillies and mares will line up on Saturday to go 1 1/8 miles on the turf in the $500,000 Diana, the first Grade 1 race of the summer meeting at Saratoga.
Miss Temple City, fresh from a run at the Royal Ascot meeting returns to the U.S. for the Diana and was installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite for trainer Graham Motion.
She beat the boys in the Makers 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland on April 15, earning her a trip to Royal Ascot where she was fourth in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes (G2) which was contested over soft ground on June 15.
“I’ve been very happy with how she’s come back from England, otherwise I wouldn’t be racing her,” Motion told the NYRA. “She’s had a good month and I couldn’t be happier with her. You wonder if the trip might affect her, running against those conditions. But I don’t see any negative effects that it’s had on her. I felt like when she came back to America, I targeted the Diana, and everything fell into place.”
She will face a quartet of runners from the Chad Brown barn including Wekeela, who is the second choice on the morning line at 7-2.
The filly has made two starts since landing in the U.S. for Brown. She was the runner up in the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland in April off a six-month layoff, then was second in the Gamely (G1) at Santa Anita.
Brown will also saddle Mrs McDougal (10-1), Dacita (5-1) and Rainha Da Bateria (20-1). Brown won the Diana in 2011 with Zagora.
The co-feature on Saturday’s card is the $150,000 Sanford (G3) for two-year-olds going six furlongs on eth main track, drawing a compact field of five.
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The Rick Violette trained Random Walk is the 7-5 morning line favorite off his maiden score in his debut on June 3 at Belmont Park.
A pair ships in from Churchill Downs, the Steve Asmussen trained Zartera (9-2) and the Al Stall trainee Bitumen (8-5), both winners in their debuts.
Let’s head out to the Spa for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 10 The Diana G1 (Post time 6:18 ET)
#4 Wekeela 7-2
#2 Miss Temple City 3-1
#1 Sandiva 12-1
#6 Dacita 5-1
Analysis: Wekeela is one of four in here sent out by the Chad Brown barn. The filly has made two starts since landing in the U.S., a runner up in the Jenny Wiley (G1) behind champion Tepin off a six-month layoff and then a good second as the beaten chalk in the Gamely (G1) last out when shipped to Santa Anita. The filly was Group 1 placed overseas and looks primed for a top effort here in her third start off the bench. Castellano sticks and the filly is getting six pounds from our second choice.
Miss Temple City won the Makers 46 Mile (G1) against the boys two back at Keeneland and then shipped to Royal Ascot here she was fourth in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes (G2) over soft ground and having to tote 131 pounds. Her last trip at nine furlongs came in the QEII Cup (G1) at Keeneland last fall and she was beaten a tough head. She reunites with Van Dyke and she will be real tough if she back to her effort two back.
Sandiva made a mild late bid to finish third last out in the Honey Fox (G2 at Gulfstream Park going a mile over good ground. The winner Celestine returned to win the Just a Game (G1) in her next start on June 11. The extra ground here should suit as she returns off a break for the Pletcher barn that is 21% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. Her best puts her in the mix and her 12-1 morning line looks fair enough.
WIN: #4 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 1,2,4,6
TRI: 2,4 / 1,2,4,6 / 1,2,4,5,6