Del Mar opened yesterday, Saratoga opens tomorrow, and outside the Triple Crown races (especially the Kentucky Derby) and the Breeders' Cup World Championships no events in racing match the anticipation fans have for these premiere meetings.The absolute best racing occurs later in both meets, but there is Grade 1 racing on tap from both facilities this Saturday: The CCA Oaks at Saratoga and the Eddie Read at Del Mar.Joel Cunningham and I talked last week on Triple Crown Insider about the open nature of the current three-year-old filly division. I can't call Grace Hall the leader at this point without a Grade 1 win, but she is my most likely champion at this stage following her Delaware Oaks romp. Still, the CCA Oaks will certainly have a say regarding the division's leader, especially if either Zo Impressive or In Lingerie add another graded stakes to their resume.I went with a longshot, however, in Yara, who already won big this year as a longshot when defeating Grace Hall at Gulfstream Park. Is she the most likely winner of this race? Of course not, I think Disposablepleasure is, but I do think Yara will be completely overlooked relative to her chances, and I'm looking forward to playing her across the board.As for the Eddie Read, I'm hoping Acclamation continues to strut his stuff on a Grade 1 stage. He won't be underappreciated in this race, and is a likely underlay given the short field and only one real alternative to beat him, but in the big picture he is an overlooked horse as defending champion older male. Repeating in that category will be a tall order, but an Eddie Read win certain makes him the leading North American turf horse.Just like two weeks ago when the Grade 2 Suburban was more interesting than the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup, the best race of the weekend is neither of the aforementioned Grade 1 tilts but the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap featuring a rematch between Royal Delta and Awesome Maria. I give the wagering nod to the latter, who already defeated Royal Delta earlier this year and figures to be twice the price.
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The Director of Marketing for Bloodstock Research Information Services (BRIS) and a lifelong Thoroughbred racing enthusiast and astute handicapper, Ed joined Churchill Downs Inc. following nine years as a writer and editor with Thoroughbred Times.
A writer and editor who has been following horse racing for fifteen years. Peter has written books for the Daily Racing Form Press; Crown; and Simon and Schuster; among other publishers, and regular features in The Horseplayer Magazine.
A television racing analyst for Churchill Downs, Jill has earned acclaim and a loyal audience throughout Thoroughbred racing.