The first Saturday of Belmont Fall feature a Grade 1 going a mile and a quarter for three year old fillies, the Belmont Oaks Invitational.
It deserved to get more support at the entry box than it did, which we guess is good news for the five outfits that showed up. And, one of them, Magic Attitude, last raced in France.
Dropping out of the Gr. 1 Prix de Diane where she had 10 rivals, we hope she doesn’t get bored with this quintet and decide to go half speed for a “paltry” $250,000 compared to what was available at Chantilly.
But half speed might be good enough here, such is her class relief with respect to the competition she’s been meeting. Fifth beaten three lengths, she exits a race that has produced four next-out winners.
Fortunately there’s another filly that can provide exacta value. More on wagers for this and other races from Belmont, another from Churchill and a bunch from north of the border on Saturday morning.
There are no races with names on them in Louisville today two weeks post Kentucky Derby but there is an allowance spot for turf fillies on the grass for white hot connections that’s 6-1 on the early line. So, there’s that.
But the bright lights are reserved for the country north of us that’s a lot healthier than ours at the moment. Take the Woodbine Mile and you’re all expenses paid heading into the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
The Breeders’ Cup theme continues Sunday with a pair of Canadian Grade 1s for babies going the same mile distance: Colts and gelding go in the Summer Stakes and the ladies will line up in the Natalma, all looking to punch their tickets to Lexington.
Canada’s march to the Breeders’ Cup starts with the Singspiel Stakes, a major Grade 1 horse himself, but Saturday’s renewal lacks a Grade 1 winner, most not even having competed at that level. It would be a major shock if any in this field make it to the big dance at all.
But the Woodbine Mile, almost always a producer of future BC Mile form, boast two horses with a major chance to make it into the Keeneland gate and both are trained by Canadian and American Hall of Famer Mark Casse.
Preakness winner War of Will (2-1), who took the G1 Maker’s Mark over the Breeders’ Cup course last out, and March to the Arch (5-2), a sharp G2 King Edward winner prepping for this August 15, will attempt to improve his Woodbine course record to 3-for-3.
Breaking up the Casse party will not be easy and while she might not have the same weighty portfolio, Starship Jubilee (6-1) numbers the G1 E P Taylor among her six Woodbine scores, only part of a remarkable lifetime career slate of (37) 18-5-3.
Turning back from nine furlongs to a trip at which she is 5-for-8 with two placings, she defeated a Breeders’ Cup F & M Turf champion two back and suffered through an impossible trip in the subsequent G1 Diana. Carrying 121 post-ward, she gets five pounds from ‘Will” and three from ‘Arch’.