It could be argued that this weekend boasts one of the most interesting weekend’s of racing action so far this year. It is Grade 1 galore at Saratoga on Saturday. We will run through some of the races taking place and the picks that could be made with the leading horse racing sportsbooks.
Travers Stakes (Grade 1)
The biggest Grade 1 at Saratoga this weekend is the Travers Stakes, which is run over 1 ¼ miles on the dirt. Some of the most exciting three-year-olds in training will be involved this weekend, but all the attention will be on Belmont Stakes winner, Essential Quality.
It is hard to bet against the fantastic Brad Cox-trained horse, who has been excellent throughout the season. His only defeat came in the Kentucky Derby. He would be our pick, but Dynamic Ore could be a decent contender after winning on his last start at Saratoga.
Pick: Essential Quality
Sword Dancer (Grade 1)
Grade 1 action continues at Saratoga with a huge competitive renewal of the Sword Dancer Stakes, which is over 1 ½ miles on the turf. Cross Border has the fun at Saratoga, having won five from six starts. However, we will be supporting the Irish-trained horse making the journey over to the States.
Japan is one of the most consistent horses in training in Europe, and has lined up against some of the very best during his career. O’Brien has recorded numerous winners in the United States already this season, and Japan could add to that. He has already won graded races this season, with wins in the Ormonde Stakes and Green Room Meld Stakes. He should be the classiest horse in this field.
Ketel One Ballerina (Grade 1)
Next up is another Grade 1 over seven furlongs, with fillies and mares involved. However, on paper it shouldn’t be much of a contest, and the odds certainly back that claim up. Champion filly Gamine returns in this race, as she looks to continue her perfect record.
She is hard to bet against, having won the G1 Derby City Distaff and G2 Great Lady M Stakes on her last two starts. Cases can be made for place chances for other horses in the field, but in all likelihood, no horse will be getting anywhere near Gamine in this field.
Forego Stakes (Grade 1)
One of the most competitive races of the day comes in the form of the Forego Stakes, which is run over a seven furlong distance on dirt. Cases can be made for a number of the contenders involved this weekend.
Mishevious Alex has been very disappointing in recent starts, but remains a strong selection if he can replicate his G1 Carter form. Firenze Fire is a very similar contender, as he has also struggled at Saratoga. Both horses were well below par in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt on their last start. Lexitonian won that race, but that was his first victory in three starts at the track.
We will be opting for a past winner of this race. Whitmore won this back in 2018, and has stayed on strongly on all four starts this season- finishing second on two occasions.