How to bet the 2021 Diana Stakes
A fantastic field of fillies and mares will go postward in the $500,000 Diana S. (G1) at Saratoga on Saturday. The nine-furlong inner turf affair attracted a stellar cast, led by the Godolphin duo of #8 Althiqa and #6 Summer Romance, the one-two finishers in the recent Just a Game S. (G1) at Belmont Park. While I have total respect for each of the standout performers, I am going to tab another to come out on top in the superb rendition of the Diana.
Group 2 heroine #7 Lemista made her U.S. and 2021 debut in the Beaugay S. (G3) at Belmont in May and finished a closing second while well clear of third. The dark bay daughter of Raven’s Pass steadily closed into a slow pace over a good surface on that occasion, and she will get more honest fractions to rally into on Saturday.
Lemista has high quality that was on display when she recorded fine tallies in three straight events to kick off her sophomore season. The Irish-bred will be facing her toughest field to date, but I expect her to be up to the task in her second performance over U.S. ground. Go-to pilot Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call atop the talented filly.
I will include Althiqa and Summer Romance in all of my exotics for sure. The pair traded winning results in a pair of races in Dubai this season and are among the top turf distaffers around. Summer Romance has the speed to be on the front end early, while Althiqa possesses a powerful late stretch burst. They complement each other quite well.
Juddmonte homebred #2 Pocket Square was a bit flat in the stretch when checking in fifth in the Just a Game while favored most recently, but she could be almost any kind and deserves another chance. Brown trainee was an explosive allowance winner at Keeneland in her first U.S. outing, and the move to 1 1/8 miles could easily benefit the daughter of Night of Thunder. John Velazquez riding the granddaughter of Dubawi doesn’t hurt the cause, either.
- $10 win and place #7 Lemista ($20)
- $3 exacta key box 7 with 2,6,8 ($18)
- 50-cent trifecta box 2,6,7,8 ($12)