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3-Year-Old Graded Winners: Where They’re Headed Next | Summer Stakes 101
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3-Year-Old Graded Winners: Where They’re Headed Next | Summer Stakes 101

by Laurie RossJune 16, 2021

This year’s 3-year-old crop are preparing for the summer stakes season. The goal for many colts is the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, nicknamed the mid-summer derby, which is held on August 28.

The 1 1/8-mile Haskell Invitational (G1) is considered a primary prep for the Travers Stakes, as is the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga.

The New York Triple Tiara race series for 3-year-old fillies includes the one-mile Acorn Stakes (G1), Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at 1 1/8-miles, and the 1 1/4-mile Alabama Stakes (G1).

The Turf Triple series includes the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Derby Invitational (G1), the Saratoga Derby (G1) at 1 3/16-miles, and the 1 1/2-mile Jockey Club Derby (G1).
The filly turf counterpart starts with the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), the 1 3/16-mile Saratoga Oaks (G1) is the second leg, and the series concludes with the 1 3/8-mile Jockey Club Oaks (G1).

Other significant stakes for turf 3-year-olds are $300,000 Bruce D. Stakes (G1), formerly known as the Secretariat Stakes, on August 14 at Arlington Park, and the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (G1), contested at 1 1/8-miles over the Del Mar lawn on August 21.

A Closer Look at Summer Stakes and Possible Contenders

Summer Stakes Schedule 2021

Haskell Invitational (G1)

The $1 million Grade 1 Haskell Invitational contested at 1 1/8-miles is a Breeders’ Cup Classic Challenge event that will be run on July 17 at Monmouth Park. Medina Spirit, the Kentucky Derby winner, was last seen finishing third in the Preakness Stakes.

He returned to the worktab on June 14 after a month-long freshening. Monmouth Park extended an invite to trainer Bob Baffert, who is embroiled in a lawsuit over the possible disqualification of Medina Spirit’s Kentucky Derby victory from a positive drug test.

Other possible Haskell contenders include Mandaloun and Weyburn, who recently completed the Pegasus Stakes exacta at Monmouth; Preakness winner and Belmont Stakes third-place finisher Rombauer, Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes runner-up Hot Rod Charlie, and Preakness Stakes second-place finisher Midnight Bourbon. In addition, depending on how he trains, Hot Rod Charlie may stay in California to contest the Pacific Classic (G1) against older horses.

Jim Dandy (G2)

The $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2) contested at 1 1/8-miles is the traditional Saratoga prep for the Travers. The race is scheduled for July 31. Trainer Brad Cox stated that leading 3-year-old and Belmont Stakes hero Essential Quality will likely start in the Jim Dandy instead of the Haskell (G1). Last seen winning the Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, King Fury is also a possibility. In addition, Midnight Bourbon and recent allowance winner Harvard may be nominated.

Coaching Club American Oaks (G1)

The $500,000 CCA Oaks (G1) at 1 1/8-miles is scheduled for July 24 at Saratoga. Kentucky Oaks heroine Malathaat has the CCA Oaks as one of her summer goals. She may renew her rivalry with Search Results, whom Malathaat beat by a neck in the Kentucky Oaks. Search Results won the Acorn Stakes (G1) on June 5.

Belmont Derby Invitational (G1)

$1 million Belmont Derby Invitational, the first leg of the Turf Triple series, is contested at 1 1/4-miles and is scheduled for July 10. Possible contenders include American Turf Stakes (G2) winner Du Jour, the up-and-coming Hard Love, who has won three of four turf starts. Preakness (G1) fourth-place finisher Keepmeinmind and Pennine Ridge Stakes (G3) winner Sainthood may make their turf debuts.

Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1)

The $700,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational at 1 1/4-miles, the first leg of the Turf Triple for fillies, is scheduled for July 10. Possible contenders include Mia Martina, who looks to stretch out after her fourth-place finish in the one-mile Hilltop Stakes. In addition, the talented last-out maiden winner Third Draft may make her stakes debut in the Belmont Oaks.

That’s about it as far as our Summer Stakes 101 goes!

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About The Author
Laurie Ross
Laurie is a handicapper, pedigree consultant, and published author. Her work has been featured on numerous prominent racing websites and she is a reoccurring guest on sports radio programs. She is also a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association. Her yearly publications contain tremendous insight and value for bettors and horsemen. The Freshmen Sire Guide has received accolades from leading trainers and handicappers and her Triple Crown guides are a best-selling feature.