There was a serious display of speed last weekend at Saratoga, where two sprinting superstars showed their stuff in a major way. Solid 3-year-old racing continued as well, while Del Mar was on full display with two Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Events. When all the dust had settled, these were the three stars that we liked best from the weekend:
1. Imperial Hint
The first jaw-dropping performance of the week came on Saturday when Imperial Hint absolutely dusted the field in the Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) at Saratoga. The heavily-favored Mitole was supposed to be unbeatable; however, Imperial Hint had other plans. Despite coming into the race off of a layoff, the “little horse that could” broke a track record for 6 furlongs at Saratoga on his way to a blowout victory. It’s clear that this horse is back in top form as he continues to show his love for this track. The sprint division just got even deeper with the reemergence of this monster.
Just when we thought that the weekend had come to an end, the Jorge Navarro-trained Shancelot made our jaws drop one more time. Coming into the Amsterdam Stakes (G2), Navarro described Shancelot as the best horse he’s ever trained. That statement certainly looked true on Sunday, as Shancelot completely destroyed his competition in wire to wire fashion. The race was contested at 6 1/2 furlongs, but crazily enough, the horse ran his first 6 furlongs FASTER than Imperial Hint did on Saturday, before stopping the clock for 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.01. After this stakes triumph, he’ll point towards the Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) for his next start, where he will be a heavy favorite.
The highlight race of the weekend at Saratoga was the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2), where Tax came out victorious over a determined Tacitus by three-quarters of a length. While Tacitus was having one of the worst trips you’ll ever see, Tax was sitting in a perfect spot, showing his professionalism. Turning for home, he put away the front runners while Tacitus was beginning to make his move. Tacitus continued to try to get past, but Tax was determined and would not let him by. His winning Beyer of 97 makes him competitive with pretty much anyone in the division, which should set him up well for a try in the Travers Stakes (G1) next time out.