Memorial Day Weekend Thoroughbred Racing Roundup

With little more than a week to go before the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, summer has officially kicked off in the US. Memorial Day traditionally marks the start of the summer in the United States, and this year rounded out a light weekend of equestrian events. In the Memorial Day $75,000 Jim Rasmussen Memorial Stakes at Prairie Meadows, Right to Vote came from behind under jockey Israel Ocampo's pushing to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Evan's Calling. Hung the Moon took Monday's $50,000 Wild Rose Stakes for fillies and mares ahead of the favorite Hitechnoweenie at that same race track. In Canterbury Park Tell All You Know was certainly hiding nothing as the even money favorite in the $75,000 Honor the Hero Stakes, and won by lengths over Casteltown.

At Finger Lakes the $50,000 George W. Barker Stakes for New York-breds held on Memorial Day was easily won by 4 3/4 length when I'm Stoked took an early lead and bested the field. In filly and mare turf action, Monday's $300,000 Grade I Gamely Stakes saw Miss Serendipity edging out Emollient by a nose. Parranda was the favorite, and after an early slow start, came charging back to finish in third place. It was the first victory in five starts in the US for the 6-year-old mare.

Lonesome Town and Tannery contested each other bravely for much of Monday's $75,000 Miss Liberty Stakes for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park. Tannery held on at the end to win by just a head past Overheard. Tannery is Irish-bred, and the five-year-old was "very, very impressive," according to jockey Julian Pimentel. Tannery has also won the Grade I E. P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine. Running a dirt mile, the $300,000 Grade III Poker Stakes at Belmont Park saw Jack Milton starting out of the gate as the last of six horses. The four-year-old colt then ran past all five competitors and kicked away to win by a full two and three-quarter lengths. The odds on favorite during that race, Za Approval, wound up in third.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said the mile "suits him (Jack Milton) well and we'll look at stepping him up a notch, maybe in a Grade I down the road." The colt ran a fast 6 furlongs in just 1:33.09. The victory gave Pletcher the #1 all-time trainer's earnings spot ahead of his old boss, D. Wayne Lukas. Pletcher has now trained horses to an impressive $268,512,294 in total winnings. In Monday's $100,000 Grade III All American Stakes at Golden Gate Fields, Summer Hit celebrated the first official day of summer with a victory over long shot Longview Drive, who went off at 24 to 1. The 5-year-old gelding also won this race last year. All told, Summer Hit has seven wins and one second-place finish in eight starts.

Following two scratches, the Memorial Day $100,000 Grade III Los Angeles Handicap at Santa Anita guaranteed money across the board as only three horses ran the race. Cyclometer took the victory, with Wine Police and Color of Courage finishing second and third. The 6 furlongs sprint on a fast track was run in just 1:09.02, faster due to the exclusion of a full field. The Belmont Stakes will be run on June 7, with California Chrome in a position to win the vaunted Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing, the first time that has happened in the United States since 1978.

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