Saturday Spot Plays for Doncaster, Leopardstown, and Kentucky Downs
A relatively quiet Saturday in North American racing is highlighted by the graded stakes action at Kentucky Downs and the Queen's Plate program at Woodbine, but in Europe a huge day is on tap as Leopardstown hosts Day 1 of Irish Champions Weekend while Doncaster showcases the final English classic of the season, the St Leger (G1).
Here are some horses of interest on both sides of the pond:
Doncaster Race 4 -- Park Stakes (G2) -- 10 a.m. ET
This straight 7-furlong test could go the way of course-and-distance winner #7 MOLATHAM (6-1), who took the Flying Scotsman S. at this meet last year over returning rival #8 Wichita. A late surge got him the victory two back in the Jersey (G3) at Royal Ascot, but proved less effective while still an okay fifth to the classier Pinatubo in the Prix Jean Prat (G1) at Deauville last time. Shadwell-owned colt still has plenty of room for improvement and offers value versus early favorite #1 Limato, who won this race five years ago as a sophomore.
Doncaster Race 5 -- St Leger (G1) -- 10: 35 a.m. ET
He'll be without his regular rider, who recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but the long-striding and -galloping #4 GALILEO CHROME (6-1) appears primed to take a significant step forward here. Unplaced in his only start at two, the son of Australia has come on this season for trainer Joseph O'Brien. He's won three straight in Ireland (two by convincing margins) while gradually being stepped up in distance. Out of a half-sister to the St Leger-placed Michelangelo, the about 1 13/16-mile trip should be within his wheelhouse and he figures to stay it out well. Although tested for class in a race without a lot of pace, he's worth a play at these odds.
Leopardstown Race 6 -- Boomerang Mile (G2) -- 11:45 a.m. ET
He didn't see out the 1 1/2 miles of the Epsom Derby (G1) and was overmatched in the Sussex (G1), but it might be worth giving #10 VATICAN CITY (7-1) one more shot at a level he'll presumably be more comfortable at. A 14-1 runner-up to Siskin in the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) in June, he's not without merit.
Leopardstown Race 7 -- Kilternan Stakes (G3) -- 12:15 p.m. ET
He must concede 11 pounds to the favorite #12 Tiger Moth, but #1 BUCKHURST (6-1) is capable of rebounding off a lackluster run in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1) when he should have finished no worse than placed behind Magical. Otherwise a very consistent horse, he finished second in this event last year.
Kentucky Downs Race 11 -- Turf Sprint (G3) -- 6: 36 ET
Questionably disqualified from a clear last-out victory in the Troy (G3) at Saratoga, #9 IMPRIMIS (8-1) appeared back to his best 2019 form when finishing 2 1/4 lengths ahead in that Spa feature following a layoff dating back to November. Although the beaten favorite in this race last year, it was his first start back from a Royal Ascot excursion and he just didn't seem the same horse after that trip. Situation appears different now and he'll be a better price than defending titlist #4 Totally Boss.
Linking Imprimis in a Double with Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) favorite #10 ZULU ALPHA (7-5) is another play we'll endorse.