The Spa Spot: Morning Breeze
A pair of Grade 1 races - the 132nd Alabama and the 38th Sword Dancer - head an 11-race program. Six of the races are on grass. The first post is 1 p.m.
- This is a big day for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. He has contender Point of Entry in the Sword Dancer, promising Sea Island in the Alabama and Boisterous is one of the favorites in the Arlington Million. McGaughey made his reputation with dirt runners, but he is in the midst of a great season with turf horses. He's not complaining.
- With three wins in four starts, Turbo Compressor has adjusted rather easily to running on turf. He's a likely favorite in the Sword Dancer off of front-running victories in the Colonial Turf Cup and the Grade 1 United Nations. Point of Entry is on a three-race winning streak. His most recent outing was a 3 1/2-length success in the Grade 1 Man o' War.
- A win over the track is important at Saratoga, but a victory in the Grade 1 Spinaway as a 2-year-old hasn't led to success in the Alabama at 3. Grace Hall has the Spinaway on her resume and she figures to be tough to beat in the Alabama. She's never been worse than third in eight career starts and is coming into the Alabama off a big performance in the Delaware Oaks. Even without Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, who was not entered because her trainer thought she was acting like a tired horse, this is a strong Alabama. Zo Impressive won the Mother Goose, and was second but no match for Questing in the Coaching Club American Oaks. Questing is looking for another Grade 1 and graded stakes winners In Lingerie, Uptown Bertie and Via Villaggio add to the intrigue. It has the potential to be the best stake of the season.
- Three of Saratoga's top jockeys - leading rider Ramon Dominguez, Jose Lezcano and Julien Leparoux - are in Chicago to ride on the Arlington Million program.
- Half of the runners in the two open maiden 2-year-old races are running without Lasix. The Breeders' Cup is not allowing Lasix in it 2-year-old races this year, so lots of horsemen are going the Lasix-free route with their top prospects this summer.