It’s a stakes day on Saturday and the biggest race isn’t where you think it is this afternoon. The feature for today is at Thistledown in Ohio. The $500,000 Ohio Derby (Gr. 3) is the biggest event on the calendar.
I’m going to pass on Thistledown this afternoon and get back to Belmont Park after a profitable day on Friday. Belmont has two stakes races, with the $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes (Gr. 2) their leading evening. Head below for our best Belmont Park picks on June 25, 2022.
Race 2 is an $80,000 event covering 1 ⅛ mile in the inner turf. Look at New Ginya and Rheaume to get into the mix at the wire.
New Ginya has finished 1st and 2nd in two career events. In her latest attempt, New Ginya finished 4th in an $80,000 assignment on May 30.
That was a tough start after New Ginya started off her career with a win on November 18. The filly defeated Saratoga Chrome by a neck as a rookie in a $70,000 race.
Rheaume has finished 1st and 2nd in two career starts. She is likely to give a big bid in this one.
Rheaume opened her career on April 28 in a $75,000 event by 2 lengths. Impressive outing to begin a career.
She came back on May 30 to place 2nd behind Out of Sight by 4 lengths in an $80,000 race. New Ginya was a neck and nose length behind Rheaume.
Expect a close one, with Rheaume edging out a win.
Race 8 – Mother Goose Stakes
The $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes is a Grade 2 event covering 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. Shahama and Juju’s Map should get involved in the stretch trip.
Shahama finished 6th, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st in the first five races of his career. She was in top form overseas at Meydan Racecourse.
Shahama won four straight races, with a win most recently on February 18 in the U.A.E. Oaks (Gr. 3). Her first run in the US didn’t go according to plan, though.
She was 6th in the $1,250,000 Kentucky Oaks (Gr. 1) on May 6. Despite the loss, that’s a tough field and Shahama showed interest late with improvement.
Juju’s Map is 3 for 5 with a Grade 1 win on her resume for Brad Cox. She won the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades Stakes (Gr. 1) over Distinctlypossible by 4 ¼ lengths on October 8 at Keeneland.
She gave a good account during Breeders’ Cup weekend at Del Mar in November. Juju’s Map placed 2nd behind Echo Zulu by 5 ¼ lengths in the $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Gr. 1).
Echo Zulu is just too good. Juju’s Map responded well to win a $134,000 event by 4 ¾ lengths on May 6. She may be required to duel against Shahama, but likely has enough.
Race 9 is a $55,000 event covering 1 ⅛ mile on the inner turf. Grand Journey and Big Agenda appear to be top contenders to win here.
Grand Journey is 6 for 21 and finished 2nd, 4th, 4th in his previous three assignments. The gelding most recently placed 2nd behind Big Agenda by a neck in a $55,000 event.
This should be another good finish between these two. Big Agenda is 7 for 32 and coming off that win on April 30 at Belmont Park.
It was a nice response for Big Agenda after dropping classes. He finished 10th on April 14 in an $84,000 race and then found success against easier foes.
Big Agenda is capable of even better than we saw in his win over Grand Journey. If he wants to run, this should be another winnable start.