The Saratoga meeting kicks off on Thursday with he $100,000 Schuylerville (G3), the first of 39 graded stakes that will be contested over the 40-day meeting.
A field of eight juvenile fillies will go six furlongs on the main track in the Schuylerville, the traditional opening day feature at the Spa.
Nothing much will be traditional about the Saratoga meeting. There will be no fans to start the meeting due to the pandemic.
The co-feature on the opening day card is the $100,000 Peter Pan (G3), which is traditionally a prep race for the Belmont Stakes (G1). This year is it serving as a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race, with 50-20-10-5 points up for grabs to the top four finishers.
Beautiful Memories is the 6-5 morning line favorite for the Schuylerville. The Mark Casse trainee broke her maiden at Churchill Downs in gate to wire fashion, winning by 10 lengths.
Casse is encouraged the filly will be able to handle the rise into stakes company.
“You always want to see more than just one time,” said Casse. “She’s come back and trained well and her last two works have been really good. It was not a shock to see her run the way she did first out. We’re hoping for a similar performance, but we’ll let her do the talking.”
Jose Ortiz has the ride and will break from the three post. Casse won this race in 2018 with Catherinethegreat.
The Peter Pan drew a field of nine that will go nine furlongs on the main track. The Michael Stidham trained Mystic Guide is the 5-2 morning line favorite.
The colt ran second against first level allowance foes going 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park last out in his first start against winners. The trainer is looking for his colt to move forward going two turns in the Peter Pan.
“We knew going in we were at a little disadvantage. Our horse is more of a two-turn, mile and an eighth type horse than a one-turn horse,” said Stidham. “The horse that won stole away on the lead and we kicked in late. We were making up ground at the end and he galloped out real big.”
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Coming up on Saturday at the Spa we have the first Grade 1 race of the meeting—the $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks. The card also includes the $150,000 Lake Placid (G2) and the $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2).
Let’s head out to Saratoga for Thursday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 8 The Schuylerville G3 Post time 5:14 ET
#6 Queen Arella 6-1
#3 Beautiful Memories 6-5
#2 Hara 10-1
#8 Hopeful Princess 2-1
This filly was not off cleanly in her debut, getting bumped coming out of the gate and then got squeezed and bumped again when stuck in between foes. She recovered, tracking the early pace while four wide and drawing clear late while drifting in slightly and the rider standing up in the irons. The runner up Hara came out of the race to graduate in her next outing on June 19 at Gulfstream Park by six lengths. Our top picks last out Beyer of 44 sure seems light but runner up, third, fourth and fifth place finishers came back to improve their figure by 20+ points in their next starts, which makes that 44 seem suspect. She looks as if she can move forward off her debut effort and gets a jock upgrade to Rosario. This gal has already turned out to be a bargain buy at $1,000 at the Fasig Tipton sale last October.
The short priced favorite took the field gate to wire to break her maiden in a very impressive looking win, the margin 10 lengths. She was down in the three path most of the trip on a day the outer paths were better. Eight she beat have come back to run and the best they have done is a couple of thirds, so it does not appear she beat that tough a field. She earned a solid number and has a nice pedigree. She is by Hard Spun out of a stakes placed Sky Mesa mare that has dropped three other winners including stakes winner Kimbear ($766,669). She has come back with sharp works and no doubt she has talent but is going to be a light price.
This gal ran second to our top pick in her debut at 17-1 and then came back to wire the field last out to break her maiden going 5 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream Park. She earned solid early and mid pace numbers and another move forward puts her in the mix in this spot. She is by Hard Spun out of a Dixie Union mare that has dropped one other winner, 1 for 4 Midnight Curfew ($42,210).