We’ve reached the midway point in the year and with that comes possibly the strongest weekend of racing yet, headlined by several entries in the big races at Belmont Park.
Warrior’s Charge will return to Grade 1 action in an incredibly tough renewal of the G1 Met Mile for owners Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Stables. The gutsy son of Munnings was last seen running a strong 2nd in the G2 Oaklawn Handicap, finishing ahead of several top class horses in the process. The fast four year old is likely to show his trademark speed from the blocks and will look to take them as far as he can in the feature race of the day.
Also taking a spot in the gate for the Met Mile is Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister’s Mr Freeze, who finished just behind Warrior’s Charge in the G2 Oaklawn Handicap. A winner of the G2 Gulfstream Park Mile in his latest start over this distance, Mr Freeze is in the best form of his life having finished 2nd in the G1 Pegasus World Cup to begin his five year old campaign.
The G1 Manhattan features three client horses, including Rockemperor who was unlucky to not win the G2 Charles Whittingham at Santa Anita last out for owners Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, Wonder Stables, Michael Kisber and Bethlehem Stables. The four year old son of Holy Roman Emperor earned a career best 100 Beyer Speed Figure for his efforts and figures to be one of the top betting choices in this Grade 1 event.
Veteran campaigner Dot Matrix will be making his Grade 1 debut in the Manhattan after a desperately close 2nd place finish over the Belmont turf in the Tiller Stakes last month. A Ten Strike Racing homebred and stable favorite, Dot Matrix has been a war horse throughout his career, Dot Matrix began his seven year old campaign with his first graded stakes victory in the G3 John B Connally at Sam Houston.
Rounding out the Manhattan is private purchase Channel Maker, who is a dual Grade 1 winner over the Belmont turf. Acquired by Adam Wachtel and Gary Barber before the 2016 Breeders’ Cup, a new partnership was formed with RA Hill and Reeves Thoroughbreds before the 2018 Breeders’ Cup. Channel Maker has gone on to annex the G1 Man o’ War for his connections before being narrowly beaten in last year’s G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.
Social Paranoia goes in search of another graded stakes victory in the G3 Poker in the race prior to the Met Mile for The Elkstone Group. The four year old son of Street Boss took the G3 Appleton in his 2020 debut after ending his three year old campaign with a win in the Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs.
Robert LaPenta, AJ Suited Racing Stable, and Madaket Stables’ Hawkish will look to return to form in the G3 Poker as well where he will be looking for his first stakes win since last year’s Cliff Hanger at Monmouth.
At Delaware Park, Grade 3 winning and multiple Grade 1 placed Comical runs in the G3 Delaware Oaks for owners WinStar Farm, Lindy Farms and Madaket Stables. The three year old daughter of top sire Into Mischief was last seen running 2nd in a stake at Oaklawn after taking the G3 Schuylerville at two.
Later in the evening, the stakes winning and Grade 1 placed Meadow Dance is cross entered in the Iowa Distaff and Saylorville at Prairie Meadows for owners Right Time Racing III and Madaket Stables. The four year old daughter of Jimmy Creed went gate to wire in the Weathervane Stakes at Laurel last fall and looks to be a threat in either of the races that are chosen for her.
The stakes action continues on Sunday when Night Ops lines up in the Grade 3 Cornhusker for owner Steve Landers. The four year old son of Warrior’s Reward took two consecutive races at Oaklawn Park over the winter, notably when going wide on both turns before winning the Essex Handicap.
Whereshetoldmetogo travels to Iowa as well to take his spot in the gate for the Iowa Sprint for owners Madaket Stables, Ten Strike Racing, Michael Kisber and Black Cloud Racing. Most known for his attempt at biting Firenze Fire when finishing a narrow 2nd in the G3 Gallant Bob, Whereshetoldmetogo was dominant in a seven furlong allowance last fall at Churchill at he looks ready to fire a big shot off the layoff.
Rounding out the stakes action this weekend is Isla Road who lines up against a full field in the In the Breeze Stakes at Gulfstream Park for owners Zoom and Fish Stable Inc., Charlie Spiring, Ralph Nicks and Madaket Stables. The four year old daughter of Quality Road is stakes placed over the Gulfstream turf, having finished a close 2nd in the Tropical Park Oaks to round out her three year old season.