June 11 (UPI) — Even as the horse racing world gets a little breather this weekend, up pops Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun since the likely favorite in the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park.
The Pegasus along with a few other exceptions maintain the meter ticking between last week’s excitement of this Belmont Stakes, Epsom Derby and Oaks and French Derby and next week’s Royal Ascot.
In addition to the Pegasus, Santa Anita and Churchill Downs offer graded stakes and Woodbine and Delaware Park are back in action — Woodbine after a lengthy pandemic-related delay.
What’s the big news in Oaklawn Park? Check out “News and Notes.”
And, with apologies to genius race-caller Trevor Denman, who has chosen back in for the Del Mar meeting, away we go:
But first, a quiz.
What was the title of the Simpsons episode in which Denman guest-voiced a race caller? Again, see “News and Notes.”
Classic / Dirt Mile
Mandaloun returns to action for the first time since his runner-up end in the Kentucky Derby in Sunday’s $150,000 TVG.com Pegasus Stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park.
The Into Mischief colt, who would inherit the Derby triumph if the drug allegations against Medina Spirit eventually are upheld, faces four rivals in the Pegasus.
Brooklyn Strong, winner of last year’s Remsen Stakes, reported 15th in the Derby. Weyburn won the Grade III Gotham at March and finished fourth at the Grade II Wood Memorial, but has not raced since that April 3 heat.
Lugamo returns from a 12th-place showing in the Group 2 UAE Derby at March in Dubai. And don’t overlook Dr. Jack, a Pioneerof the Nile colt out of the A.P. Indy mare Marion Ravenwood (believe Raiders of the Lost Ark). He is undefeated after two starts for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Ny Traffic is the good morning-line favorite among 10 entered for Saturday’s $150,000 Grade III Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park.
The 4-year-old Cross Traffic colt, trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., finished second at the 2020 Haskell at Monmouth, then was eighth in the Kentucky Derby and ninth at the Preakness. He won his first start of 2021 May 2 at Belmont Park.
Sunday’s $100,000 Grade III Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita pulled five 3-year-olds to tackle 1 /16 miles. The Chosen Vron, a Vronsky gelding, has won two straight, most recently the Grade III Lazaro Barrera Stakes May 15.
Classier won his first launch last October, then finished eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and reappears here off a long, steady series of works for trainer Bob Baffert.
The proverbial”additional Baffert,” Defunded, was fourth in both the Santa Anita Derby and the Grade II Pat Day Mile. Mr. Impossible isn’t impossible but unlikely.
Filly & Mare Turf
Juliet Foxtrot tops the afternoon line for Saturday’s $150,000 Grade III Old Forester Mint Julep at Churchill Downs, a 1 /16-miles excursion that attracted a field of 11.
Juliet Foxtrot, a Juddmonte Farms homebred mare by Dansili, finished sixth in this event last year but enters this year’s fray off a victory in the Grade I Coolmore Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in April.
Among others, Crystal Ball showed promise last year as a 3-year-old and has come along nicely in 2 starts this year.
Neige Blanche comes to Sunday’s $75,000 Possibly Perfect Stakes for fillies and mares at Santa Anita off a breakthrough win in the Grade III Santa Barbara Stakes five weeks past.
Rideforthecause was second in that and tries again. Last year old Possibly Perfect winner, Dogtag, is back and leaves a second in the Grade II Royal Heroine.
Around the world, around the clock:
With Royal Ascot looming and the Hong Kong and Japanese period coming their summer serene, there’s not a great deal of weekend activity on the international front, either.