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Five Horses To Watch at Saratoga This Summer

It’s understandable that the 3-year-old male horse division traditionally takes center stage at Saratoga Race Course. Following the Triple Crown series, the focus of the sport’s marquee division shifts to the Spa for the prestigious Travers Stakes and its local prep, the Jim Dandy Stakes. That will certainly be the case once again this summer with the strong likelihood the Triple Crown race winners—Mystik Dan (Kentucky Derby), Seize the Grey (Preakness Stakes), and Dornoch (Belmont Stakes)—and several other top contenders in the sophomore male ranks will target the Midsummer Derby on Aug. 24. While the 3-year-old males will get considerable attention at Saratoga, there will be numerous other superstars in town this summer for major stakes engagements. Here are five standouts outside the glamour division with the potential to make some big headlines during the upcoming 40-day meeting: 

Thorpedo Anna

Kenny McPeek became the first trainer since Hall of Famer Ben Jones in 1952 to win both the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby in the same year when Thorpedo Anna and Mystik Dan pulled off the Oaks/Derby double this spring. The filly will be pointed to the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama Stakes, and perhaps the Travers—if the circumstances are right. She has won all three of her starts this year and will come into the Saratoga meeting off a dominant win in the Acorn Stakes on Belmont day. 

“She’s going to run in the Coaching Club and Alabama,” McPeek said of Thorpedo Anna. “We may nominate her to the Travers, but I think it’s more likely that Mystik Dan will come back in the Travers. She’ll stay in the filly division at this point.”

National Treasure 

National Treasure wining the Metropolitan on Belmont day (Photography by Brien Bouyea)

The 2023 Preakness Stakes winner also has Grade 1 wins this year in the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park and the Metropolitan Handicap, the latter in dominant fashion on Belmont day at Saratoga. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said National Treasure will next be pointed to the Grade 1 Whitney on Aug. 3 following his 6¼-length romp in the Met Mile. 

Idiomatic

Idiomatic winning the Personal Ensign by four lengths

Trained by two-time Eclipse Award winner Brad Cox for the mighty Juddmonte operation, the 5-year-old Curlin mare is the reigning Eclipse Award winner for Champion Older Dirt Female. She boasts a remarkable career record of 10-2-2 from 14 starts and has earned $3.1 million. At Saratoga in 2023, she won by four lengths in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign, defeating a loaded field that included champion Nest, Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath, and multiple graded stakes winner Clairiere. Idiomatic won her 2024 debut in the La Troienne at Churchill before finishing second to Randomized in the Ogden Phipps Stakes on Belmont day. An attempt at a Personal Ensign repeat on Travers day will be a high summer priority for the Cox trainee. 

Randomized

Randomized is 3 for 3 on the Spa dirt. (Photography by Brien Bouyea)

One of the top horses in the Chad Brown barn, Randomized has an affinity for Saratoga Race Course, sporting a 3-for-3 mark on the Spa dirt. Last summer, the daughter of Nyquist won the Wilton Stakes at Saratoga and followed with a four-length victory in the Grade 1 Alabama. She went on to finish a half-length behind Idiomatic in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita. As a 4-year-old in 2024, Randomized began with a second in the Ruffian before besting Idiomatic in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on Belmont Stakes day at Saratoga. A third showdown with Idiomatic is a strong possibility in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign on Aug. 23. 

Cogburn

Cogburn is fresh off a win in teh Jaipur on Belmont day.

Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Cogburn has won five of his past six starts, including Saratoga victories in the Troy Stakes last summer and the Grade 1 Jaipur on Belmont day. Cogburn earned a career-best 111 Beyer Speed Figure and set a North American record of 59.80 seconds for 5½ furlongs on the Mellon turf at Saratoga in his Jaipur win. That victory earned Cogburn a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. His expected next start will be an attempt at a repeat in the Grade 2 Troy on Aug. 2. Cogburn has an overall record of 8-2-0 from 14 starts and has earned $1.2 million.  

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