Breeders' Cup Galore on Saratoga Super Saturday
Saratoga Super Saturday 2017
Not only is Saturday the most significant day of the 2017 Saratoga meeting, but it’s also one of the biggest wagering cards of the year.
In recent years, Travers Day has firmed up its position as the seventh biggest betting card in North America. Only the three Triple Crown race cards, the two Breeders’ Cup days, and the Kentucky Oaks card generate more handle.
Big handle follows big racing, and Saratoga has that in spades on Saturday. In addition to the $1.2 million Travers (G1), there are six other graded stakes on the undercard. Five are Grade 1s, and four are “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races.
The Travers, of course, is the highlight of the day. This particular edition should go a long way toward determining who the leading three-year-old male is. In addition to the three Triple Crown race winners – Always Dreaming, Cloud Computing, and Tapwrit – the field is also expected to include Girvin, Good Samaritan, McCraken, Lookin At Lee, Gunnevera, West Coast, and Irap.
Clearly the second most anticipated race of the card will likely involve the shortest field. The $700,000 Personal Ensign (G1) for fillies and mares will mark the second meeting between dual champion Songbird and multiple Grade 1 winner Forever Unbridled.
Songbird, whose only loss was in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) last fall, has turned back serious challenges to win the Ogden Phipps (G1) and Delaware H. (G1) this year. Forever Unbridled, a solid third in the Distaff behind Beholder and Songbird, has started just once this season, turning in a rousing performance in the Fleur de Lis H. (G2) at Churchill Downs in June.
Leading candidates for the $1 million Sword Dancer (G1) at 1 1/2 miles on the turf are 2016 Canadian International (G1) hero Erupt; Idaho, a Group 2 winner at Royal Ascot in June; United Nations (G1) scorer Bigger Picture; and Bowling Green (G2) victor Hunter O’Reily.
The $600,000 Forego (G1) at seven furlongs features an intriguing matchup between reigning sprint champion Drefong and multiple Grade/Group 1 winner Mind Your Biscuits. Filly and mare sprinters, including division heavyweight Paulassilverlining, will also be in action in the $500,000 Ballerina (G1).
American Anthem and Practical Joke are among the leading contenders for the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens (G1), a seven-furlong dash for three-year-olds previously known as the King’s Bishop. The $400,000 Ballston Spa (G2), for fillies and mares on the grass, will have a Grade 1-quality field with Antonoe, Dickinson, Roca Rojo, and Time and Motion among a list of probables.
It’s a day of racing not to be missed.
International "Win and You're In" races this week:
In addition to the racing action on Saturday, the weekdays hold key Breeders' Cup Challenge races at York as part of the York Ebor Festival. Watch and wager on the Juddmonte Interntional, Nunthorpe, and Yorkshire Oaks here on TwinSpires.com
To learn more, check out these highly informative pieces by Kellie Reilly:
(Photos by Horsephotos.com)