Sconsin, shown winning the 2021 Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs, tries for a repeat in the Memorial Day renewal. Photo courtesy of Churchill Downs
May 27 (UPI) -- The long Memorial Day weekend is not short on racing action with two "Win and You're In" events, one in California amid a flurry on Grade I races and the other in Chile.
The unofficial start of summer also finds some high-class heats at Lone Star Park in Texas, Churchill Downs, Monmouth Park and Belmont Park.
On the international side, there's the Japanese Derby in Tokyo, two Group 1 events at Longchamp in Paris and that Breeders' Cup qualifier in Chile.
Let's get summer started.
Monday's $500,000 Grade I Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita, a "Win and You're In" for the FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile, wasn't drawn at our deadline.
Potential runners include Smooth Like Strait, third in the Grade I Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland, and Beyond Brilliant and Masteroffoxhounds, first and second in the Charles Whittingham. The winner gets fees paid and a travel allowance to Keeneland in November.
California invaders Avenue de France and Park Avenue head a field of nine entered for Monday's $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff at Lone Star Park.
Park Avenue, the 7-5 morning-line favorite, makes just her second turf start but won the first by 2 3/4 lengths at Santa Anita in March. Avenue de France exits a win in the Golden Poppy Stakes at Golden Gate Fields. Shirley's Temple looks best of the locals.
Sunday's $100,000 Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park has a field of seven, all allowance types looking to make a mark.
There's plenty to analyze about Analyze It before Saturday's $100,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes at Monmouth Park. The 7-year-old Point of Entry gelding was a budding superstar in 2018 but then missed all of 2019 and most of 2020.
Nursed back into shape, he got back to the winner's circle in an allowance event a Belmont Park on Oct. 8, 2021, but then finished 11th in the Grade II Fort Lauderdale at Gulfstream Park in November and has been gone again for six months.
The chief competition is Yes This Time, second in a couple of big turf races last year including the Tropical Park Derby in December. Among the others, Carpenters Call is moving up the ladder. Mohs won last year's Hawthorne Derby.
Filly & Mare Turf
None of the runners in Saturday's $160,000 Keertana Stakes at Churchill Downs has done much recent winning but Luck Money seems to have been coming the closest while running in the best company.
The 5-year-old Lookin at Lucky mare, out of the Rahy mare Flagrant, exits a second in the Grade II Sheepshead Bay at Belmont Park. She also was fourth in last September's Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon, in which several of these participated.
Last year's winner, Temple City Terror, returns but is winless in three intervening starts.
Sunday's $100,000 Grade III Honeymoon Stakes at Santa Anita drew seven 3-year-old fillies. Island of Love comes off a victory in the Grade III Senorita Stakes and last year won both her starts in Rome. Cairo Memories won the Grade III Providencia in her last. Sterling Crest was second in both of those.
Entries were not finalized at press time for Monday's $400,000 Grade I Gamely Stakes at Santa Anita but the potential field looks worthy of a top-level race, topped by Going Global, last seen winning the Grade II Royal Heroine in her 2022 debut.
Canoodling, Eddie's New Dream and England's Rose, first through third in the Grade III Wilshire Stakes are considered probable. Avenue de France is cross-entered at Lone Star Park.
Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Soaring Softly for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park features Haughty and Derrynane, third and fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar.
Haughty, a Chad Brown-trained Empire Maker filly, makes her first start since the Breeders' Cup. Derrynane, a Quality Road miss from the Christophe Clement barn, finished second in the Limestone Stakes at Keeneland in April.
Sail By, 13th in the Breeders' Cup, also is in the Soaring Softly after finishing third in her return in the Memories of Silver at Aqueduct.
Don't be surprised if Baby Man is "flying" late. She's by Bird Song, whose dam was Bird Town, out of the Birdstone mare Alaskan Bird.
Big Invasion invades the Big Apple for Sunday's $100,000 Paradise Creek Stakes for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park riding a three-race win skein, two of those at Gulfstream Park and the most recent the William Walker Stakes on Derby week under the Twin Spires.
Maritime Wings, trained by Joseph Patrick O'Brien, invades from Ireland for his 2022 debut after finishing second twice in Group 2 events last year.
And Wesley Ward takes over training Asymmetric, a Group 2 winner in England last year and third in the Group 2 Darley Prix Morny.
Champagne Poetry is entered only in the event the race is moved to the dirt and, if it is, the filly would be dangerous.
Sunday's $100,000 Grade III Daytona Stakes down the Santa Anita hillside course has Burnin Turf looking for his fourth consecutive win and third straight over the unique grass layout. Bran returns to California after finishing second in the Grade II Twin Spires Turf Sprint on Oaks Day in Louisville.
One Timer is one to watch after Monday's performance in the $100,000 Tom Ridge Stakes for 3-year-olds at Presque Isle Downs.
The Trappe Shot gelding led from the early stages and drew off to win by 6 1/4 lengths, finishing 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:09.30 with Jareth Loveberry riding for trainer Larry Rivelli.
His only defeat in five starts came in his last race -- the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, where he pressured eventual winner Twilight Gleaming into the final furlong, then tired to finish ninth, beaten just 2 lengths. The earlier wins came on both turf and all-weather.
Classic / Dirt Mile
The field for Monday's $400,000 Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita remained in the formative stages at press time but could be a rematch of the Grade II Californian over the same track April 30.
In that, Stilleto Boy got out to the lead and Express Train, the odds-on favorite, couldn't catch him, finishing fourth. Some others are on the fence but it looks like another very short field.
Popular Kid makes his 66th career start in Monday's $400,000 Grade III Steve Sexton Mile at Lone Star Park. Rated R Superstar starts for the 61st time.
They're longshots with the morning-line favorite two Santa Anita imports -- Shaaz and Elector. Each of them makes his fourth start. There's lots and lots of speed in the field so it should be an interesting tilt.
Monday's $300,000 Texas Derby at Lone Star Park drew contenders from all over -- Churchill Downs, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita.
It's wide open, but A.P.'s Secret is the narrow morning-line favorite among eight. King Ottoman remains a maiden after three starts but looks dangerous at a price if he breaks decently.
Sunday's $175,000 (Canadian) Grade II Stella Artois Eclipse Stakes on the Woodbine all-weather has six, including 2020 Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes winner Mighty Heart.
He faces some tough ones in Special Forces, Frosted Over, Riptide Rocks and Artie's Storm -- a very nice field.
Sunday's $200,000 Grade II Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita features Brickyard Ride, winner of four straight races and coming off a score in the Grade III Kona Gold Stakes in his last start.
The race also has last year's Triple Bend winner, Exulted, making his first start since then. He has been working well for the return.
Monday's $100,000 Speightstown Sprint at Lone Star Park has a competitive field with Kentucky shipper Payne and Macron, a recent arrival from Oaklawn Park, meeting some of the speediest of the locals.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Sconsin's record stands out in a six-horse field set for Monday's $200,000 Grade III Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Among other exploits, she won the Grade II Eight Belles over the course in 2020, finished fourth in that year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and won this race last year. However, she comes off an eight-months break, the longest of her career.
Around the ovals:
Will Rogers Downs
Beckett's Luckyday pressed the pace made by the favorite, Kaleo, in Tuesday's $55,000 Will Rogers Stakes for Oklahoma-bred 3-year-olds, got by that one late and inched away to win by 3/5 length.
The Itsmyluckyday gelding ran 1 mile on a sloppy, sealed track in 1:38.07 with Weston Hamilton in the irons.
Fightingtemptation stalked the pace in Monday's $55,000 Cinema Stakes for state-bred 3-year-old fillies, dueled to the lead through the turn and went on to win by 1/2 length from Smokin' Okie.
The favorite, Kachina, faded from the lead to finish third. Fightingtemptation, a Tactical Cat filly, ran 1 mile on a muddy track in 1:38.75 with Jose Medina up.
All three stakes events on Wednesday's program were rained off the turf onto the muddy main track.
Beach Flower reeled in breakaway leader Rush Hour Traffic in the stretch run to win the $55,000 Minnesota H.B.P.A. Distaff Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths over that rival. Beach Flower, a 9-year-old Flower Alley mare, ran 1 mile in 1:38.07 with Roimes Chirinos up.
Tut's Revenge tracked early leader Drama Chorus in the $55,000 Brooks Fields Stakes, got by that rival and won by 2 1/4 lengths as the odds-on favorite. Tut's Revenge, a 6-year-old Eskendereya gelding, finished the 1 mile in 1:35.85 with Harry Hernandez in the irons.
Plane Talk quickly crossed over from the outside gate in the $55,000 Honor the Hero Stakes at 5 furlongs, opened a good lead and extended it to win by 6 1/2 lengths over Sir Wellington. Plane Talk, a 5-year-old son of Conveyance, reported in 56.49 seconds under Alex Canchari.
Around the world, around the clock:
Sunday's Grade 1 Tokyo Yushun or Japanese Derby at Tokyo Racecourse is the second leg of the Japanese Triple Crown and features the top seven finishers from the first leg, the Grade I Satsuki Sho or Japanese 2000 Guineas.
Much of the attention is on the winner, Geoglyph, and the runner-up, Equinox, but Do Deuce, a closing third in the previous race, and Danon Beluga figure to make an impact as the distance increases from the 2,000 meters at Nakayama to 2,400 meters an a challenging stretch run at Tokyo.
Sealiway, still seeking his first win of the year, provisionally faces five rivals in Sunday's Group 2 Prix d'Ispahan at Longchamp. The 4-year-old last won in the Group 1 Qipco British Champion Stakes at Ascot in October.
The opposition, pending final declarations, includes Pretty Tiger, second in the Group 1 Prix Ganay in his last start.
Sunday's St Mark's Basilica Coolmore St Alary for 3-year-old fillies at Longchamp promises a field of seven including Prosperous Voyage, second in the Qipco 1000 Guineas in her last, Godolphin's Wild Beauty and the Joseph Patrick O'Brien charge Above the Curve.
Wondering about that second Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In"? It's Sunday's Group 1 Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella at Club Hipico in Chile. The winner's entry fee to the FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile will be waived and Breeders' Cup will provide a $40,000 travel allowance.