Graded Stakes Trio This Weekend
Three WPT horses could become graded stakes winners this weekend. While none of them will go postward as the favorite, all three are legitimate contenders.
Things kick off on Saturday with Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve in the $1,250,000 Travers Stakes (G1). Saratoga is known as the “graveyard of favorites”, and Commanding Curve could be one who upsets the apple cart in the Midsummer Derby.
Trained by Dallas Stewart, Commanding Curve is looking to rebound from a ninth place finish in the Belmont Stakes and a fourth place finish in the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga on July 26.
“We need to improve, but our horse is doing very well and we’re tighter than we were going into the Jim Dandy,” said Dallas Stewart. “He’s a very laid back horse who can be lazy in the mornings, so we’ve been trying to get more out of his gallops. We know he handles a mile and a quarter and hopefully he gets a solid pace to run into.”
Post time for the Travers is 5:45 ET on Saturday. Commanding Curve breaks from post one with regular rider Shaun Bridgmohan aboard.
Dream Rush Stakes winner Toasting seeks her first graded stakes win in Sunday’s $150,000 Seaway Stakes (G3) at Woodbine. She ran a sneaky good race in the Ontario Matron last month, and returns to the Toronto oval for the second time this summer.
“The winner got loose on the lead and never looked back in the Ontario Matron,” said WPT president Terry Finley. “Our filly won the Dream Rush last year going seven eighths and we think she could be dangerous cutting back from a mile and sixteenth. Toasting has gone in and out of form throughout her career, but right now she’s sharp. Tom Albertrani said she’s been kicking and squealing around the barn at Saratoga.”
Post time for the Seaway Stakes in 4:28 ET. Justin Stein rides Toasting for the first time.
Toasting finishing second by a whisker in last year's Comely Stakes (G3):
Last but not least is the ever-consistent Rock Me Baby in the $250,000 Del Mar Mile (G2) on Sunday. “Rocky”, as he’s known around the barn is coming off a dominant win in the California Dreamin’ Handicap on July 27 at Del Mar.
A 5-year-old gelded son of Rock Hard Ten, Rock Me Baby is a barn favorite, having hit the the board in 12 of 15 starts, including six wins. He was originally slated to run in next weekend’s Harry F. Brubaker Stakes on the synthetic, but trainer Craig Dollase called an audible when he saw the nominations for the Del Mar Mile.
“There were a few different options for this horse, we even considered the Pat O’Brien, but that came up loaded” said Dollase. “We get ten pounds from defending champ Obviously, and that’s significant. Rock Me Baby ran a mile in 1:32 and three over this course last summer and he’s in very good form right now. He had a busy 2013 and was probably a little tired come Breeders’ Cup. This year we’re heading to the Breeders’ Cup with a fresher horse, which is very exciting.”
Post time for the Del Mar Mile is 3:00 PT/6:00 ET. Corey Nakatani stays aboard Rock Me Baby.
Rocky's final major work in preparation for the Del Mar Mile:
Best of luck to all of our Partners on this busy weekend for West Point runners!