After a seven week layoff we welcome the three-year-old's return to to the track. With injuries and illnesses to the top contenders of this talented group, the three-year-old division is once again wide open. What better way to determine the best of this class than the three stakes races this weekend on the cards at Saratoga and Monmouth.
The first of these three stakes races is the $100,000, 1 1/8 mile, Curlin Stakes at Saratoga tonight. Usually, this race wouldn't carry much significance towards determining the top three-year-olds, but with no current clear cut favorite, this class is looking for someone to step up. The m/l favorite at 5/2 is Street Life, who last finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes. The winner of this race will certainly keep his name in the mix.
Saturday brings the $600,000, 1 1/8 mile, Jim Dandy Stakes(G2) at Saratoga. The m/l favorite at 5/2 is Alpha, who will be making his first start since finishing 12th in the Kentucky Derby. Look for him to perform more like he did in the Wood Memorial, where he was beaten only by a neck. There are two other Kentucky Derby runners in this race as well. Prospective is coming off a first place finish in the Ohio Derby(G3), while Liaison is coming off a third place finish in the Swaps(G3). In this field of eight, you also have the third place finisher in the Belmont, Atigun, the winner of the Dwyer(G2), Teeth of the dog and the winner of the Matt Winn(G3), Neck n' Neck.
To close out the weekend, Monmouth Park is host to the $1,000,000, 1 1/8 mile, Haskell Invitational Stakes. With a rather small field of six, on paper this is really a three horse race. Paynter the m/l favorite at 3/2 is coming off a close second place finish in the Belmont, to the now retired Union Rags. Dullahan returns and looks to redeem himself after that disappointing seventh place finish in the Belmont. The horse who many are anticipating to return is Gemologist as we get to see him back in action for the first time since injuring himself in the Kentucky Derby. Handsome Mike, Nonios and Steelcase round out the field.
All three of these races are preps for the Travers Stakes at Saratoga at the end of August, but the winner of the Haskell will be heading into the Midsummer Classic as the favorite. Hopefully we will have a clearer picture of this three-year-old division after this nice weekend of racing. Enjoy and good luck!
7/27 Saratoga 6:22 EST
Ex/Tri Bx: 3,5,2
Jim Dandy Stakes(G2)
7/28 Saratoga 5:45 EST
Has a grade three win on his resume, finished second by a neck in the Wood. Wasn't a factor in the Derby but looks to get back on track here. Not any big name three-year-olds in this one, Alpha should add a grade two win to his resume Saturday.
Teeth of the Dog 5/1
Coming off wins in the Easy Goer and Dwyer(G2) at Belmont last month. Has finished in the money in 6 out of 7 lifetime starts. Should find the money again in this one.
His third place finish in the Belmont has to make you believe. Past performances are not that impressive but shown he has the speed and distance.
Fast Falcon 10/1
Zito trained horse coming off two second place finishes behind Teeth of the Dog. Closer who is still untested at the distance.
Ex/Tri Bx: 1,6,3,2
Haskell Invitational Stakes(G1)
7/29 Monmouth 6:17 EST
First start since getting injured in the Derby and was undefeated heading into the race. Looks to start his comeback and show why he was one of the favorites heading into the Derby.
Got run down just barely in the 1 1/2 mile Belmont. He will be the one to catch in this shorter race. Definitely has the speed, but is he in the same class as Gemologist or Dullahan? Will be there at the end just not sure where in the money he will fall.
The Belmont is really the only blemish on this colt's resume. Has finished in the money in 7 out of 10 lifetime starts. This should be a good distance for him and could easily be posing in the winners circle come Sunday night.
Ex/Tri Bx: 4,3,2