By Emily Shields
Summer has arrived, with boutique race meets at Keeneland, Del Mar, and Saratoga ready to highlight the racing calendar.
The five-day meet at Keeneland began July 8. The special meeting was granted after Keeneland canceled their spring meeting due to COVID-19. Some of those races have been ushered into the new meet, starting with the $300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1T) and the $100,000 Beaumont (G3) on Friday.
On Saturday, Keeneland will run six major stakes races, including three Grade 1 events and one major Kentucky Derby prep. The $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) offers 100 points towards the Kentucky Derby, and the filly Swiss Skydiver is expected to take on the boys. The $400,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) will have 100 Kentucky Oaks points on the line. The The rest of the card is topped by the $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1), which will have Jolie Olimpica entered, the $250,000 Madison (G1) for female sprinters, the $150,000 Appalachian (G2), and the $150,000 Shakertown (G2).
Del Mar’s meet begins Friday. The $100,000 Runhappy Oceanside Stakes drew Tizamagician amongst others. The weekend’s stakes include the $65,000 Wickerr on Saturday and the $65,000 Osunitas on Sunday. The major action gets into gear on July 18, with the $150,000 San Diego (G2) expected to showcase Maximum Security. The $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (G1) takes place August 22. Del Mar’s new Kentucky Derby prep race, the Shared Belief Stakes, is worth just $100,000 but the August 1 race could draw Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Honor A. P. and maybe even the unbeaten filly Gamine.
The summer meet at Saratoga begins July 16. Saratoga runs one stakes race per day, starting with the $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) on Saturday, July 18. The $1 million Runhappy Travers (G1) takes palce August 8 as part of a card with five stakes races, including the $300,000 Longines Test (G1) and the $300,000 Ballerina (G1).
While those three tracks are arguably the most beloved in the nation, Monmouth Park has its own special races to offer. The $1 million TVG.com Haskell Invitational (G1) is on July 18, as well as the $300,000 United Nations (G1) for older horses on the turf.
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