- Familiar faces in Saturday’s Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks for 3yo fillies at Belmont. Smuggler held off Spun Sugar by a neck with Summerly 2 lengths further back in the Mother Goose, and the trio will reconvene here. There’s no reason to think that Summerly will benefit from the mile and a quarter distance here, though recall that the Mother Goose was her first try since the Kentucky Oaks. Spun Sugar’s trainer Todd Pletcher lamented his filly’s trip, as she found herself on the lead, ahead of the speedy Summerly, in quick fractions. "I wish she could have been ridden a little differently. When she tried to make the chute, her position was compromised and then she was at the mercy of everyone else." [Bloodhorse] Javier Castellano was subbing for out of town John Velasquez in that race, and the latter will be back on board. Smuggler just exudes classs, and Shug McGaughey is looking for further improvement. " "She kind of pulled herself up once she made the lead in the Mother Goose...It's important to time her run, but this is something that hopefully she'll get over with more racing experience."
An interesting new addition here is undefeated For All We Know (Stephen Got Even), shipping in from Arlington with Shaun Bridgmohan for John Ward, hitting at 33% with limited starters this year. It’s a daunting jump from allowance company to Grade 1. But like Smuggler, she’s out of a multiple graded stakes winning mare, in her case Over All, winner of the G1 Matron and Spinaway at 2.
- Arlington Park has its Arlington Million Preview Day, with three graded stakes on the turf. The G2 American Derby is for 3 yo’s, and Purim (Dynaformer) will put his 3 for 3 lifetime record on the line for trainer Tom Proctor. He's the 9-5 morning line favorite. Her last was a win over this course in the Arlington Classic just 20 days ago. The trainer seems more concerned though with the distance.
Purim hasn't run beyond 1 1/16 miles, and the American Derby is a 1 3/16-mile race. Purim has the pedigree to get the distance, and appears suited to longer distances, but Proctor remains concerned.Bill Mott has a runner here, and you of course always have to be wary of him on the turf. Gun Salute (Military) has shown huge improvement in his last two, which corresponds to the addition of blinkers and Lasix. He won the Forerunner at Keeneland easily, and his last was a game third, two necks behind Rush Bay in the G3 Jefferson Cup at 9 furlongs. He has four works since that 6/18 race, capped off by two excellent five furlongs breezes, and is tabbed for the mild upset.
"That's a big jump, a huge jump with a horse that's only run three times," Proctor said. [Daily Racing Form]