Author: Laurie Ross

2021 Memorial Day Weekend Stakes: 11 Graded Stakes on Tap

The 2021 Memorial Day weekend kicks off summer racing at four tracks across the country.
2021 Memorial Day Weekend Stakes: Saturday
Belmont Park
Saturday’s action begins at Belmont Park with the Pennine Ridge Stakes (G2), at 1 1/8 miles on the turf for 3-year-olds. Nine colts were entered, and post time is 5:12 PM ET.
Last seen finishing 11th in the Kentucky Derby, Sainthood will make his turf debut for trainer Todd Pletcher. The son of Mshawish previously finished second in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G2) over Polytrack. Pletcher also entered recent maiden winner Shaftesbury, a half-brother to Grade 1 winning turf horse Lochte.
Churchill Downs
The scene moves to Churchill Downs with two stakes.
The Matt Winn (G3), at 1 1/16 miles on the main track for 3-year-olds, features a small but stellar field of five.
Notable entries include Arkansas Derby (G2) runner-up Caddo River, Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Helium, eighth in the Kentucky Derby, and Jimmy Winkfield Stakes winner Hello Hot Rod.
The Regret Stakes (G3), at 1 1/8 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies, attracted seven entries. Barista and Line Dancing, second and third respectively in the Edgewood Stakes (G2) over this course in April, lead the field.
Santa Anita
Santa Anita offers seven graded stakes on Memorial Day weekend, including a Breeders’ Cup Challenge event. Their Saturday card includes three graded contests.
The Triple Bend (G2) at 7 furlongs for 4-year-olds and up isn’t a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, yet many sprinters exiting the Triple Bend have done well in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). Eight older sprinters are expected.
Flagstaff seeks his third straight victory. The John Sadler trainee won the Churchill Downs Stakes (G1) by an exciting head in his race. Flagstaff was fourth in last year’s Triple Bend Stakes.
Law Abidin Citizen starts his year in the Triple Bend after closing out 2020 with a pair of third-place finishes in the Bing Crosby (G1) and Pat O’Brien Stakes (G2). The field also includes Magic On Tap, who cuts back in distance after a fourth-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Californian Stakes (G2) in his last start. The Bob Baffert trainee should be sharp after firing two bullet works.
The Charles Whittingham (G2) at 1 1/4 miles on turf for 3-year-olds and up drew a field of five accomplished turf routers led by San Luis Rey (G3) winner United.
Crossfirehurricane makes his first start in the U.S. under trainer Michael McCarthy. The son of Kitten’s Joy looked good winning his first four starts in Ireland but was off the board in the Irish Derby and the Diamond Stakes last year. He’s cross-entered in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) on Monday.
Red King makes his second start off the layoff after finishing third in a Starter Allowance tune-up. The Philip D’Amato trainee won the San Juan Capistrano (G3) and Del Mar Handicap (G2) last year.
The Daytona Stakes (G3) at 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf for 4-year-olds and up may include ten starters. The turf sprint spotlights a rematch between San Simeon (G3) winner Gregorian Chant and second-place finisher Bombard. Gregorian Chant […]

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