June 11 (UPI) – Even though the horse racing world is taking a breather this weekend, Kentucky Derby finalist Mandaloun is probably the Pegasus Stakes favorite at Monmouth Park.
The Pegasus and a few other exceptions keep the clock ticking between last week’s excitement of the Belmont Stakes, the Epsom and Oaks Derby and next week’s French Derby and Royal Ascot.
In addition to the Pegasus, Santa Anita and Churchill Downs offer graduated stakes and Woodbine and Delaware Park are back in action – Woodbine after a long delay linked to the pandemic.
What’s the big news from Oaklawn Park? See “News and Notes”.
And, with an apology to ace racing caller Trevor Denman, who opted for the Del Mar reunion, let’s go:
But first, a quiz.
What was the name of the Simpsons episode in which Denman voiced a racing guest? Again, see “News and Notes”.
Classic / Dirt Mile
Mandaloun returns to action for the first time since his second place finish in the Kentucky Derby in Sunday’s $ 150,000 TVG.com Pegasus Stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park.
Colt Into Mischief, who would inherit the Derby victory if the drug allegations against Medina Spirit were finally confirmed, faces four rivals in the Pegasus.
Brooklyn Strong, winner of the Remsen Stakes last year, finished 15th in the Derby. Weyburn won the Grade III Gotham in March and finished fourth at the Grade II Wood Memorial, but hasn’t raced since that April 3 round.
Lugamo returns from 12th place in the Group 2 UAE Derby in March in Dubai. And don’t overlook Dr Jack, a Pioneerof the Nile foal of AP mare Indy Marion Ravenwood (think The Raiders of the Lost Ark). He is undefeated after two starts for coach Todd Pletcher.
Ny Traffic is the morning line favorite among the 10 entries for Saturday’s $ 150,000 Category III Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park.
The 4-year-old Cross Traffic colt, coached by Saffie Joseph Jr., finished second in the 2020 Haskell in Monmouth, then eighth in the Kentucky Derby and ninth in the Preakness. He won his first start on May 2, 2021 at Belmont Park.
Sunday’s $ 100,000 of confirmed Category III entries in Santa Anita drew five 3-year-olds to tackle 1 1/16 miles. The Chosen Vron, a Vronsky gelding, has won back-to-back wins, most recently the Grade III Lazaro Barrera Stakes on May 15.
Classier won his first start last October, then finished eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and reappears here after a long and steady string of jobs for coach Bob Baffert.
The proverbial ‘other Baffert’, Defunded, finished fourth at the Santa Anita Derby and the Grade II Pat Day Mile. Mr. Impossible is not impossible but improbable.
Grass filly and mare
Juliet Foxtrot leads the morning line for Saturday’s $ 150,000 Old Forester Mint Julep Class III at Churchill Downs, a 1 1/16 mile trip that drew a field of 11.
Juliet Foxtrot, a mare from Juddmonte Farms by Dansili, finished sixth in this event last year but enters this year’s fray with a victory in the Grade I Coolmore Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in April.
Among the others, Crystal Ball showed promise last year at 3 and has done well in two starts this year.
Neige Blanche arrives at Sunday’s $ 75,000 Potsably Perfect Stakes for fillies and mares in Santa Anita after a decisive victory in the Grade III Santa Barbara Stakes five weeks ago.
Rideforthecause was second and is trying again. Last year’s probably perfect winner Dogtag is back and stepping out for a second in the Grade II Royal Heroine.
Around the world, 24 hours a day:
With Royal Ascot looming and the season for Hong Kong and Japan approaching their summer calm, there isn’t much weekend action on the international front either.
Royal Ascot opens its five-day run on Tuesday with some of last year’s pandemic changes still in place and others relaxed.
The two races added to the 2020 calendar have been made permanent, so there will be seven races each day.
Last year’s meeting was held in camera. This year at least 10,000 spectators will be allowed every day, so some of the traditions will return – fashion, food and drink and the post-race song festival among them. If Her Majesty returns after a historic absence last year, it will be a statement.
We’ll have a more in-depth look on Monday after recapping this weekend’s action, so don’t miss it.
Saturday’s Group 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge at Greyville in Durban takes on new significance this year with the sponsor’s doubling of its purse from R500,000 to R1 million.
However, it is an indication of the depressed state of the South African racing establishment that R1 million equates to roughly $ 73,700. And it is the second richest in the South African calendar, behind Group 1 Vodacom Durban July, contested on July 3 on the same track.
The 1,600-meter event drew a field of nine with the venerable Rainbow Bridge at the top of the list. The 7-year-old gelding continues to ride, winning his last two starts against some of the same rivals he will face in the Gold Challenge. The duo formed by Justin Snaith, Jet Dark and Belgarion, are also worth a look.
Hollywoodbets acquired the naming rights to the Durban track operated by Gold Circle in 2019. Gold Circle Marketing Director Steve Marshall said the support indicated by this decision and the increase in the scholarship for the race from On Saturday came “at a time when it was most needed” the race faces unique challenges on several fronts.
News and Notes
Oaklawn Park announced this week that it will add December dates to its 2021-22 schedule, starting December 3. The season will now be 66 days, until May 8, 2022.
“For many years, riders wanted to race here in December to fill a gap in their racing schedule,” said Oaklawn President Louis A. Cella. “We have completed the expansion of our complex.… Therefore, the time has come for another expansion – to our live racing season.”
Cella said the extra days, subject to regulatory approval, “will have a huge economic impact on riders, Arkansas thoroughbred breeders and tourism in central Arkansas.”
Coach Ton Moquett applauded the move, saying the new dates “allow riders to compete in America’s most lucrative stock exchange circuit without any interruptions. It is now a smooth transition between Oaklawn, Churchill and Saratoga. “.
Answer to quiz: Denman’s voice was featured on “Saddlesore Galactica”, which first aired on February 6, 2000. It’s worth a look.