Saturday Selections: Grade 1 Races from Saratoga and Monmouth

Chris Adams

This weekend is loaded with graded stakes races. The racing includes three Grade 1 events from Saratoga and Monmouth Park.


Racing from Saratoga kicked off on Thursday. The weather was picturesque for opening days, but came on the heels of several days of fairly consistent rain.

Although the main track was listed as firm on opening day, it seemed as though horses were greatly benefitted by being on or near the lead. Horses from the back were making up little to no ground.

Players would be wise to monitor the early position of winning horses Friday into Saturday to determine if the track changes and starts to welcome others run styles into the races.

The Grade 1 Diana Stakes

The 10th race from Saratoga on Saturday will be the Grade 1 Diana run at a distance of 9 furlongs on the inner turf course. The field came up incredibly competitive with all 8 entrants coming out of graded stakes races. Six of the 8 in this race hit the trifecta in their last race as well.

Lemista was installed as the morning line favorite at 5-2, but the depth of the field is evident by the fact that there are 4 horses all within 5-1.

Saratoga Selections

The following picks are listed in order of preference and based on fast and firm conditions. If a selection is scratched, each selection would be elevated to the next open position.

  1. 8-3-11-2 (Best Bet #8)
  2. 5-7-4-6
  3. 8-11-2-1-7
  4. 4-2-6-8-11 (Wide Open Race; Live Long Shot #6)
  5. 5-7-9-3 (Wide Open Race)
  6. 2-5-10-4-11 (Wide Open Race; Live Long Shot #2)
  7. 1-2-6-3 (Live Long Shot #2)
  8. 10-12-11-1
  9. 1-2-4-9-7 (Wide Open Race)
  10. 7-5-8-3 (Live Long Shot #3)
  11. 3-5-1-6 (Live Long Shot #3)


Monmouth has been in the news a lot this year because of their new crop rule which only allows jockeys to use the “whip” if it is a matter of horse or jockey safety. This caused many of the top jockeys on the circuit to opt out of the meet.

Controversy occurred last weekend when a 28-1 shot won after the jockey used the crop 3 times on the back stretch. The claim was that the jockey was “getting out” which can be an issue for the jockey and other horses in the area, but many believe this loose interpretation could embolden other jockeys to take advantage of gray areas in the rule.

Another noteworthy item is that there is a slight threat of rain in New Jersey on Saturday. Current predictions indicate that there shouldn’t be much impact, but weather can be as unpredictable as horse races so its worth paying attention to.

TV Grade 1 Haskell

The TVG Haskell is a part of the classic division that is run for the 3 year old horses each year at Monmouth Park. Last year the Authentic looked to have it locked up before NY Traffic made things incredibly close late. The former would go on to a great end to the 2020 campaign while the latter has failed to live up to the hype of that race.

Three Kentucky Derby horses return in this spot. Midnight Bourbon and Hot Rod Charlie will join Mandaloun in the starting gate. The rest of the field will be taking the step up into graded stakes company, but is led by well-touted Following Sea for Todd Pletcher.

Grade 1 United Nations

The Saturday card at Monmouth also includes a Grade 1 turf race in the United Nations. The race is for 3 year olds and up over a distance of 11 furlongs. The headliner is hard knocking turf runner Arklow who is 1 for 1 in his 7 year old campaign.

Staying undefeated won’t be easy as he is joined in the gate by 9 additional runners. Many of them have come out of graded stakes in their last efforts including Tribhuvan who almost pulled up a massive upset in the Grade 1 Manhattan last out.

Monmouth Selections

The following picks are listed in order of preference and based on fast and firm conditions.

  1. 9-7-1-2 (Live Long Shot #1)
  2. 1-2-3-6
  3. 1-5-7-6 (Best Bet #1)
  4. 2-5-6-1 (Wide Open Race: Live Long Shot #5)
  5. 5-1-7-3 (Live Long Shot #7)
  6. 8-10-3-7 (Live Long Shot #8)
  7. 9-16-2-7 (Live Long Shot #16)
  8. 4-7-6-5
  9. 7-6-2-1-8 (Live Long Shot #7)
  10. 6-2-1-4
  11. 1-10-8-9 (Wide Open Race)
  12. 8-7-13-9
  13. 3-4-6-1
  14. 5-2-10-7 (Wide Open Race)

Watch and Wager

Players have the option to play the races from the comfort of their own homes. Both Monmouth and Saratoga are available on most online wagering platforms including twinspires, TVG, and NYRABets. All of these platforms also have live streaming capabilities to watch the races live.

Saratoga’s races will also be covered on the Fox family family of networks throughout the day. As for the Haskell, NBC will be airing an hour of coverage centered on the big race. Check local listing for details.

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