07/15/2011 4:02PM

Weekend Rundown: Three Breeders' Cup spots up for grabs


Video previews and race advances for another big weekend of stakes races, highlighted by the three Breeders' Cup Challenge Series races: The Delaware Handicap, A Gleam Invitational and Greenwood Cup.

DRF National Handicapper Mike Watchmaker sets the stage with the latest Weekend Warrior.

Delaware Park

Delaware Handicap gets Blind Luck, Havre de Grace
A five-horse field featuring three millionaires, topped by arch-rivals Havre de Grace and Blind Luck, will contest Saturday’s Grade 2 Delaware Handicap with a spot in the Breeders' Cup on the line. Get PPs for Delaware Handicap

Hollywood Park

Shirreffs will pit Star Billing against Nereid in American Oaks
Both stakes winner Star Billing and her improving stablemate Nereid have excelled on Hollywood Park’s turf course this summer, so trainer John Shirreffs will start them against each other on Saturday in the Grade 1 American Oaks.

A Gleam contender Ultra Blend improving with age
Ultra Blend can win her first graded stakes outright in Saturday’s $200,000 A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood Park, a race with major ramifications for the fall. The winner receives a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs in November.

Acclamation looks like a Sunset starter
Acclamation is likely to run in Sunday’s $100,000 Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park, in pursuit of his third graded stakes win on turf at the meeting, instead of waiting for a more lucrative race at Del Mar next weekend.

Majestic City gets test in Hollywood Juvenile
Now that unbeaten Majestic City has risen to top of the 2-year-old division in Southern California, his challenge is to stay there. On Sunday at Hollywood Park, the unbeaten colt is favored to win the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile, a six-furlong race with predictable recent history – favorites have won 16 of the past 20 Juveniles. Yet the $100,000 race is not a walkover for Majestic City.

LIVE VIDEO, PPs and news for Hollywood Park end-of-meet weekend

Parx Racing

Birdrun, A.U. Miner target Breeders' Cup berth in Greenwood Cup
Four graded stakes winners, led by recent Brooklyn Handicap hero Birdrun, will challenge defending champion A.U. Miner in Saturday’s $200,000 Greenwood Cup at Parx Racing. Get PPs, Live Video for Greenwood Cup

Penn National

Ritchey ships in for shot at Daylily Stakes repeat
Delaware Park-based trainer Tim Ritchey shipped in a sharp filly to score as the odds-on favorite in last year’s Daylily Stakes and appears capable of repeating the feat in Friday night’s running of the $75,000 Daylily for female sprinters at Penn National Race Course. Get PPs, Live Video for Daylily

Belmont Park

Nordic Truce may offer more value than stablemate Right One in Jaipur
Right One will likely be regarded as the stronger half of trainer Christophe Clement’s uncoupled entry in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Jaipur Stakes at Belmont Park. But stablemate Nordic Truce may have just as good a chance to win the last graded stakes event of this meeting at a better price.

Gantry out to prove last not a fluke in Jaipur
Mike Hushion truly didn’t know what to expect when he ran Gantry in a first-level allowance race at Belmont Park on June 23. After all, Gantry, a 4-year-old gelding, had not run in 227 days, never raced on grass, or faced anything but maidens.

Colonial Downs

Dynamic Holiday may go favored in Virginia Oaks
Unbeaten in three stakes starts this year, Dynamic Holiday could wind up a narrow favorite in the Grade 3, $150,000 Virginia Oaks on Saturday at Colonial Downs.

Street Game means a lot for Serpe in Virginia Derby
A victory in any race with a $600,000 purse would be special. A victory in Saturday’s $600,000 Virginia Derby would likely rank as the highlight of trainer Phil Serpe’s 27-year training career.

Banned heads deep Virginia Derby
Coming off two graded stakes victories utilizing distinctively different running styles, Banned heads a field of 12 3-year-old turf runners that were entered Wednesday for a contentious renewal of Saturday’s Grade 2, $600,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs.


Coco Ecolo sharp for stakes dehut in Serena's Song
Coco Ecolo stepped up her game with a pair of convincing wins since arriving at Monmouth Park. She will take the next step Saturday, making her stakes debut in the $75,000 Serena’s Song for 3-year-old fillies. The mile-and-70-yard Serena’s Song, the prep for the Grade 3, $150,000 Monmouth Oaks on Aug. 13, drew seven hopefuls.

Love That Dance bearing burden of success
Love That Dance is the one to beat in the $65,000 Spruce Fir Handicap, and she was assigned the weight to prove it. Love That Dance will carry 125 pounds, the highest assignment of her career, on Sunday in the one-mile, 70 yards stakes for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares at Monmouth Park. Love That Dance spots each of her seven rivals between eight and 14 pounds, making this a true handicap.

Meadowlands Pace

Big Jim installed as Meadowlands Pace favorite
All eyes in the harness world will be on the Meadowlands Racetrack on Saturday night for the $1 million Meadowlands Pace, an appearance by the undefeated pacing filly See You At Peelers (19 for 19), and a $150,000-guaranteed pick four pool. An open event for 3-year-olds, the Meadowlands Pace is led by 2-1 morning-line favorite Big Jim. The son of Western Ideal won his elimination race last Saturday and three of six starts this year, including the $400,000 New Jersey Classic on this same oval.