It was another great weekend of racing with stakes events all across the country contested last Saturday, giving us plenty of “stars” to pick from this week. We had a variety of divisions on display as well, as for the third straight week we saw horses that will most likely have an impact on this year’s Breeders’ Cup. Let’s check out the top three horses from the weekend:
1. Mia Mischief
The Roxelana Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs is not the flashiest of stakes events; however, there is no doubt it was the most exciting race of the weekend. It pitted 3-year-old filly sprinting senstaiton Covfefe vs. the older Mia Mischief, both of whom were coming into the race in top form. Right from the gate, these two were destined to throw down, trading punches the entire way around the track on the front end. They blazed the track through blistering fractions with nothing separating them in mid-stretch. Towards the wire, Mia Mischief started to pull away from Covfefe before winning by 3/4 of a length. The race sets both fillies up for a successful summer and there’s a chance that they face off again in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) in November.
2. Hunter O’Riley
The United Nations Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park usually provides us with a big price, which is exactly what happened in this year’s version last Saturday. Hunter O’Riley, who was 14-1 breaking from the gate, fell behind in the early stages of the race like usual. He had not had much of a closing kick in any of his races this season; however, he reversed that form on Saturday. After tipping three-wide at the top of the stretch, the horse came with a giant run down the lane, getting up in the late stages of the race to edge past Zula Alpha for the victory. This win sets him up now for a run in the Bowling Green Stakes (G2) at Saratoga, where he is likely to face another tough field.
Finally, a favorite was able to get a victory in a 3-year-old race. This division has been a mess this season, but Owendale was able to give us some normalcy with his win in the Ohio Derby (G3) last Saturday at Thistledown. Like normal, Owendale took back early in the race, sitting behind solid early fractions on the front end set by Dare Day. Turning for home he was in behind a wall of horses, which looked like it was going to be a big problem. Then, the rail opened up for him, which he took full advantage of, cutting the corner and saving all the ground. Down the stretch the battle was on between he and Math Wizard, as the two dueled all the way to the wire, with Owendale edging clear to win by a 1/2-length. This win will set him up for a bigger race next time out, with plenty of options to choose from this summer.