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And thus passes the final weekend of no Kentucky Derby (G1) prep action until the trail ends in late April, but even without any valuable Derby points on the line, we still saw plenty of great racing from coast to coast and beyond.
See who made our latest Three Stars of the Week:
Several of America’s best dirt horses traveled to Saudi Arabia for the $20 million Saudi Cup (the world’s richest race) expecting to defeat the international contenders, many of whom had never before raced on dirt. Instead, it was John Gosden’s Irish-bred trainee Mishriff – winner of last year’s French Derby (G1) on grass – who rallied past the 3/2 favorite Charlatan in the late stages for victory. He was second in last year’s Saudi Derby over this course in his only other time on dirt, making him a serious threat for next month’s $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1).
The California sun seems to have done wonders for this former east coast-based mare who won Saturday’s Buena Vista Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park, just 1 start after taking the Las Cienegas Stakes (G3) in her local debut. This was also her first win routing in only her second time trying it, and let’s just say it went much better Saturday. Afterward, trainer Phil D’Amato seemed bullish about her opportunities moving forward, hinting that the 1 1/8-mile Gamely Stakes (G1) here on May 31 could be in play.
When the early speed duel collapsed in Saturday’s Royal Delta Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park, Queen Nekia and jockey Corey Lanerie benefited the most with a rail-skimming victory, pulling off a 29/1 upset. The 3/2 favorite Mrs. Danvers was part of said collapsing duel and the 2/1 second choice Eres Tu tried to extend her win streak beyond 3, but Queen Nekia’s trip was too tough to defeat. She was also a narrow third in last year’s edition shortly after trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. claimed her for $25,000.
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