Horse racing fans will be able to kick back and enjoy an excellent week of graded action over the coming days. In this preview, we will run through some of the graded races that fans will be able to bet on with the leading horse racing sportsbooks.
Iowa Oaks (Grade 3)
Grade 3 action will be on the agenda at Prairie Meadows on Friday evening, as the Iowa Oaks takes place. The race is the seventh race on the card, and three-year-old fillies will race over 1 1/16 miles with a purse of $225,000 available.
There is a fascinating battle at the top of the betting for favoritism. Army Wife, for trainer Michael Maker, has an excellent record this season. She has won two from three starts, which includes a Grade 2 victory in her last run in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. The Grass Is Blue ran on well to finish sixth in that Grade 2, but she has won just once from four starts this season.
Pauline’s Pearl will likely be the favorite for the race after winning the G3 Fantasy Stakes and competing well in the Kentucky Oaks. However, course experience could be a factor, which means we are willing to take a chance on Sister Annie, who was second in the Panthers Stakes on her last start at Prairie Meadows for trainer Brad Cox.
Pick: Sister Annie
Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (Grade 3)
Further Grade 3 action at Prairie Meadows comes in the form of the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap. The field of horses aged three and older will travel over 1 1/8 miles.
Knicks Go, for trainer Cox, will be a clear favorite in the betting for this race. The five-year-old is a proven graded performer, having won the G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and G1 Pegasus World Cup in the past 12 months. He was fourth in the G1 Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan on his most recent start, but looks difficult to oppose in this race.
Modernist may be a popular selection for those looking to take on the favorite. William Mott trains this four-year-old, who has placed on all three starts this season. He was second in both the G3 Michelob Ultra Challenger Stakes and G3 Pimlico Special. His only win came in the G3 Excelsior Stakes.
Pick: Knicks Go
Suburban Stakes (Grade 3)
Belmont Part plays host to a competitive-looking Grade 2 on Saturday, as the Suburban Stakes will see horses aged four and older compete over 1 ¼ miles.
Mystic Guide looks to be a hot favorite for this race after winning the G3 Razorback Handicap and G1 Dubai World Cup this season. This will be his first start on American soil since winning the latter, but he is certainly the class horse in the field.
Todd Pletcher’s Happy Saver could be the leading contender. The lightly-raced four-year-old returned to the track after winning the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup with a win in an allowance race at Belmont in May. Moretti could be an interesting place selection. The five-year-old has placed on ten of his 12 starts, which includes his third in the G2 Brooklyn Stakes earlier in the season.
Pick: Moretti to place
Delaware Oaks (Grade 3)
One of two graded races at Delaware Park this weekend is the Delaware Oaks. Fillies aged three will compete for their share of the $300,000 purse in this race, as they travel over a distance of 1 1/16 miles.
Crazy Beautiful leads the field of nine in the betting, as the Kenneth McPeek-trained horse looks for another graded victory. She has already won the G2 Summertime Oaks this season, as well as the G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks. She looks difficult to take on in this race.
Midnight Obsession could be her main rival. However, this will be her first start at graded company. She was last seen finishing second in the Lyphard Stakes. She A Hot Mess could be one at a bigger price would second consideration. Meanwhile, she was a commanding winner at Delaware in an allowance on her last start.
Pick: Crazy Beautiful
John A. Nerud Stakes (Grade 2)
There is also Grade 2 action at Belmont on Sunday, as the winning runner in the John A. Nerud Stakes will be automatically entered into the Breeders’ Cup Sprint later in the season. Four-year-olds and older run over seven furlongs.
Firenze Fire would be our pick for this race, as the Kelly Breen-trained horse has been excellent on both starts this season. He started the year with a win in the G2 Runhappy Stakes, before winning against a Belmont in June in the G2 True North Stakes.
American Power was well beaten in the True North, but could be a leading contender in this. Meanwhile, Wicked Trick could be a place selection after finishing in the top three in four of his last five starts.
Pick: Firenze Fire
Other Selected Graded Picks
|Kent Stakes (Grade 3)- Delaware Park||Yes This Time|
|Smile Sprint Invitational Stakes (Grade 3)- Gulfstream Park||Frosted Grace|
|Princess Rooney Invitational Stakes (Grade 2)- Gulfstream Park||Ce Ce|
|Coral-Eclipse (Group 1)- Sandown, United Kingdom||Mishriff|