Lady Shipman marquee attraction in Philly on Labor Day
The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee has won four of six starts this term, and despite taking some lumps against males in Dubai and Canada this year, is fully expected to go on and face them again in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita in November. In last year's edition at Keeneland, the Midshipman filly went down by a diminishing neck to Mongolian Saturday, a performance that attracted the attention of Eclipse Award voters who made her finalist in the female sprinter category despite the lack of a graded win.
Lady Shipman has 10 stakes wins to her credit, but finally earned her first graded tally last out in the Royal North (G3) at Woodbine over six furlongs, a distance not much shorter than this year's Breeders" Cup Turf Sprint. Among those opposing the favorite are Richies Sweetheart and Joya Real, the one-two finishers in the 2015 Turf Amazon.
The co-richest race of the day is the $300,000 Smarty Jones (G3), a 1 1/16-mile prep for the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) that attracted a field of 14. However, with classic winners Nyquist and Exaggerator expected to be in the Penn Derby later this month, it's uncertain whether the race will yield a significant challenger to either of those two.
Stickstatelydude, who clocked 1:34 in taking a mile allowance at Belmont in mid-July, figures to take action. Wild About Deb, a solid third in the Peter Pan (G2) in May after a wide trip, was a sub-par seventh in the Ohio Derby last time and can probably fare better.
Gettysburg, the rabbit for winning stablemate Creator in the Belmont S. (G1), is one of several speed elements in the field along with Parx Derby winner Abiding Star. Among those hoping to run them down are the stakes-placed Voluntario and Awesome Slew, who will break from the the outermost posts.
The $300,000 Turf Monster H. (G3), which last year included eventual Breeders' Cup winner Mongolian Saturday, lacks the depth of recent renewals. Power Alert, who has several big turf sprint wins to his credit in Florida and Kentucky, was second best to Purse Sensation in the July 9 Parx Dash (G3) and seeks to prevail in that one's absence.
Also likely to vie for favoritism is Pool Winner, who has won five straight for trainer Alan Goldberg, including the $58,000 My Frenchman at Monmouth Park last out. Pool Winner possesses ad 3-1-2 mark over the Parx turf.
Six older horses will travel 1 1/2 miles in the $200,000 Greenwood Cup (G3). Recent West Virginia Governor's hero Hawaakom, Monmouth Cup (G2) runner-up Scuba, and multiple stakes winner Bodhisattva are the main contenders.
(Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club photo)