Though it was a relatively slow weekend in advance of the Belmont Stakes (G1) action coming soon, we were still treated to fine performances from coast to coast, including a new top contender for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). Read on for our most recent Three Stars:
1. She’s a Julie
Welcome to the Breeders’ Cup, She’s a Julie! The 5-year-old Steve Asmussen-trained mare punched her ticket to the year-end championships after winning Saturday’s Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. After stalking the early pace, She’s a Julie fought gamely in the stretch between foes – a tough task for even the most seasoned runners – to get her nose across the wire first. The deepest division in racing just keeps adding more names to the top of the list.
2. Admission Office
American turf races going 1 1/2 miles or longer can often turn into a war of attrition – which horses can handle going that distance? So when a long race turns into an all-out sprint at the finish, it gets our attention. That’s what happened in Saturday’s Louisville Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs when Admission Office broke through for his first stakes score, digging deep and holding off the 6/5 favorite Arklow by a head. He has faced stakes company in his last eight starts and will likely move on to try bigger and higher-pursed events this summer.
3. Neptune’s Storm
A heads-apart battle in the stretch put Neptune’s Storm on top over a stubborn Kiwi’s Dream in Sunday’s San Francisco Mile Stakes (G3), the premiere event of the Golden Gate Fields winter/spring meet. The Richard Baltas trainee was one of the west coast’s best 3-year-old turfers last season, but he did not make his 2020 debut until the Shoemaker Mile Stakes (G1) against a very salty group of older males. The class drop and location change to the Bay Area lawn proved the difference. He will now take on the top west coast older grass horses at the Del Mar summer meet with more confidence.