Closing weekend at Saratoga and Del Mar can be depressing, but we still have three more stars to honor from those two great meets. Let’s take a look back at one last big weekend from the two historic tracks:
After a lackluster effort in the Whitney Stakes (G1), many wrote Preservationist off as a one-hit wonder. Last Saturday, he proved his doubters wrong, winning the Woodward Stakes (G1) by a 1/2-length. His win in the Suburban Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park three races back was a blowout victory, but in this race, he had to dig down deep to pick up the win. He stalked the early pace throughout before edging past the front runners in deep stretch, then had just enough left in the tank to hold off the closing Yoshida. A win like this puts him back in the conversation for top older male with a couple of big races still out there for him to prove himself. The Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park will likely be next.
The queen of the turf in California was back last Saturday at Del Mar, only this time she was coming into the John C. Mabee Stakes (G2) off of a loss. For 99.9% of the race, it looked like she’d make it two losses in the row. Vasilika kept to task, though, slowly cutting into Julie Foxtrot’s big lead before coming up alongside her in the final strides. The crowd held its collective breath as the two hit the wire, but nobody knew who won as they crossed the finish line. In the end, Vasilika proved to be just able to put her nose down right at the wire to defeat Julie Foxtrot, who looked home free entering the stretch. This kind of win only adds to the legacy of this great California turf mare who is becoming one of the most popular horses on the west coast.
3. Snapper Sinclair
Snapper Sinclair loves Kentucky Downs. Last Saturday, he was back at the site of his only previous stakes victory to pick up a major win in the $750,000 Tourist Mile Stakes. Despite an eventful trip, the Steve Asmussen-trained horse found room to run when entering the stretch and deployed an outside rally down the lane. Even though he was wide throughout, he kept making up ground late before passing all of his rivals for a 1/2-length triumph. While the margin of victory was not impressive, he showed a lot of heart in this spot, which could springboard him to graded stakes company next time out. This victory could also put the Breeders’ Cup on his radar if he can continue to improve.