Weekend Watch: Man o' War festival fills Triple Crown void

Weekend Watch: Man o' War festival fills Triple Crown void
Photo: Benoit

Each weekend, Horse Racing Nation previews the top races to tune into coast to coast and runs down the main contenders. All times are Eastern, with this week's focus on five stakes at Belmont Park for the Man o' War Racing Festival.

Belmont, Race 1: 1:30 p.m.

Grade 1 winner
Separationofpowers returns in the Grade 3 Vagrancy Handicap
. This will be her first start since exiting the Cotillion (G1) with an ankle chip requiring surgery. She may need to knock the rust off, and there's always the question of whether she'll be the same horse, but I think her class will put her in the winner’s circle against a short field.

Belmont, Race 4: 3:08 p.m.

Intrepid Heart
tops the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes. The gray colt is a half-brother to Commissioner, who was second is this very race back in 2014. The Todd Pletcher trainee will need to bring his “A” game to keep his record intact as Stanley Hough sends out Global Campaign off the layoff. This race serves as a local Belmont Stakes prep.

Belmont, Race 7: 4:45 p.m.

Chad Brown sends out a strong duo in the Grade 3
Beaugay Stakes
. Grade 1 winner Competitionofideas is the narrow favorite over stablemate Homerique
. Both fillies will be making their seasonal debuts with Homerique running with first time Lasix in her U.S. debut. Last time, Competitionofideas won the American Oaks at Santa Anita.

Arlington, Race 7: 5:35 p.m.

The one-mile, Grade 3
Hanshin Cup
drew some familiar faces as racing resumes in the Chicago area. Revved Up and Reride
are both 8-1 shots in the field of 11, with neither having raced before on an all weather surface. Kentucky Cup Classic winner Nun the Less is the 7-2 morning line favorite and has never been off the board at Arlington or on the all weather. Sir Anthony and Goneghost both sport excellent chances, with the former back home after running well at Gulfstream Park.

Belmont, Race 9: 5:51 p.m.

Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint winner
Recruiting Ready tops the Runhappy Stakes. He will meet fellow graded stakes winners Skyler’s Scramjet and Firenze Fire. The former is looking dangerous off a strong runner-up performance in the Carter (G1) while the latter knocked the rust off in his 2019 debut and returns to the site of one of his most visually impressive performances last summer in the Grade 3 Dwyer.

Santa Anita, Race 5: 6:03 p.m.

The Grade 3
Santa Barbara Stakes drew a small but competitive field of six. Last year’s runner up Causeforcommotion is the 9-5 favorite. Graded stakes placed Lynne’s Legacy, Guiliana, and Animosity all look strong here, though the latter two will be trying the 1 1/2-mile distance for the first time.

Belmont, Race 10: 6:24 p.m.

No surprise here given it's another turf racce in New York: Chad Brown will saddle the morning line favorite, Focus Group, in the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes. He won the Pan American (G2) in his last outing and is undefeated at the 1 3/8-mile distance. Aiden O’Brien has his first New York runners of the year in Magic Wand, who was second in the Pegasus World Cup Turf before fifth in the  Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic. Plenty of other talent fills the field, including Grade 1 winner Channel Maker.

Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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