Opening weekend at Saratoga is in the books after a tremendous four days of racing kicked off another meet at The Spa. The usual suspects are already off to hot starts in upstate New York, which we will document with our number-one star, but there were several other great races around the country to highlight as well, making it difficult to narrow down the three biggest performance this week. Here is how we saw it:
She’s back! Sistercharlie had not raced since winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) last season; however, that was no problem for her in the Diana Stakes (G1) last Saturday. While her stablemate, Thais, was setting a blazing pace, Sistercharlie sat towards the back of the pack like normal. Turning for home, her other stablemate, Rushing Fall, took a commanding lead. Down the stretch, you knew the lead wouldn’t last long, though, as the champion Sistercharlie was motoring home. In the end, Sistercharlie swooped by Rushing Fall with ease, winning the race by 2 lengths in a super-sharp effort. She’s on her way to another big year and looks like she might be better than ever right now.
A weekend of fantastic female repeat stakes-winning performances was also on full display in the Delaware Handicap (G2) last Saturday at Delaware Park. Elate returned to win this race for the second straight year, and in the end, it could not have been any easier. After sitting mid-pack up the backside, she made a big move on the turn, and from there, it was all over. She blew past the leading Escape Clause while still under a stranglehold, and heading for home, she was completely geared down, winning the race by open lengths. A victory like this at the classic distance has some speculating that her connections might try to target the Breeders’ Cup Classic with her, rather than the Distaff. After this performance, it would be hard to argue with that plan.
3. Mr. Money
We’ve all been searching for a good 3-year-old this season and it looks like we may have found one. Mr. Money easily picked up his third straight victory last Saturday night in Indiana Derby (G3) while running yet another speed figure that is superior to the others in his crop. Before Saturday night, all of his wins had come at Churchill Downs, so it was important to prove that he could take his show on the road. After stalking the pace, he made a nice three-wide move on the turn before disposing of his rivals rather easily for a 2 1/2-length triumph. Next up will be the Travers Stakes (G1) and/or the Pennsylvania Derby (G1), where he should have a definite say in things.