It's the first weekend with racing at both Saratoga and Del Mar, which means high quality racing from coast-to-coast. In New York, Kentucky Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar and Fair Grounds Oaks winner Unlimited Budget lead a field of five in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks. In the race prior to the CCA Oaks, Eblouissante, Zenyatta's half-sister, steps up to graded stakes company for the first time in the G3-Shuvee Handicap, where she'll face by far her toughest competition from a field that includes G2-La Troienne winner and G1-Phipps runner-up Authenticity. Authenticity was also entered in the DelCap but trainer Todd Pletcher opted for the Shuvee. Summer Applause, another filly entered in both races, will scratch from the Shuvee and run in the DelCap.
On the other side of the country in San Diego, a fantastic field of ten will line up in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes at nine panels on the turf. Sofast (FR) makes his North American debut after racing in France for his entire career. He was a good third in the Group 2 Prix du Muget at Chantilly this spring and faced top level group company for most of his career. He's going to run over much firmer ground than he's used to and that could be the reason they decided to bring him stateside. He's not going to run on Lasix for his continental debut which suggests to me he was shipped here to get better ground.
Also on tap for this Saturday is the Grade 1 Del Cap at Delaware Park, the G3-Arlington Oaks in Chicago, and G3-Ontario Matron at Woodbine. Royal Delta is going to be the heavy favorite in the DelCap after Authenticity's connection opted for the Shuvee. At least Summer Applause stuck around for this race or else we'd be looking at a field of four. Thrilling.
I won't get into another rant of to stakes races sporting very similar conditions on the exact same day (and quite close to each other geographically) but...is anyone surprised the DelCap and the Shuvee drew small fields? At least they sort of got out of the way of each other in terms of post times (Shuvee at 5:12 ET; DelCap at 5:20), but I think we can do better. [Insert sound of broken record here]
Let's get this going.