The $500,000 dollar, Grade 1 Diana Stakes on Saturday is the first major race of the summer season at historic Saratoga Race Course.
Though drawing only a field of six, there is no lack of class or competitiveness among the group which has a combined 31 Wins in 73 career starts on grass and over $3 million dollars in earnings.
Here Are Three Of The Top contenders:
#3 BLEECKER STREET. She is undefeated in seven career starts going back to last August, she appears to have the most powerful late kick in the field – and whether the early pace is fast, or even exceedingly slow, she should be tough to hold off. Her last four Wins came in Graded Stakes, including two at the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Diana. The first of those was in the Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in March where BLEECKER STREET earned a career-best 113 Equibase Speed Figure. Since then, she earned 109 and 103 figures, respectively, in the Modesty Stakes at Churchill and New York Stakes at Belmont. But don’t be fooled, the manner in which she Won those races suggests there is little to keep her from remaining undefeated. In the Modesty, BLEECKER STREET lagged in 8th among nine horses for most of the race but, when asked to run hard after entering the stretch, ran the final eighth of a mile in 11.2 seconds. Cutting back from a mile and a quarter distance in the New York Stakes to this slightly shorter trip in Saturday’s Diana should give this exceptional filly some extra giddy-up in the late stages – and under North American leading jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. there could be an even more visually impressive effort in the Diana.
#2 CREATIVE FLAIR. She has run seven times in Europe and twice in the U.S., and the latter two efforts were mediocre as she finished 3rd in the Saratoga Oaks Invitational and 4th in the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational last summer. She does, however, appear to be a much better horse this year as a 4-year-old as evidenced by her only start of 2022. In the Balanchine Stakes (Ireland) in February, CREATIVE FLAIR beat nine other horses with a big effort that earned a 110 speed figure. That effort came at the same distance of the Diana Stakes and can be bettered now that she’s even more physically and mentally mature. When sending horses to race in North America, trainer Charles Appleby has an incredibly strong record of 13 Wins (and eight runner-up finishes) in 34 starts over the last five years.
#1 TECHNICAL ANALYSIS. She has done little wrong in nine races, Winning five and finishing 2nd or 3rd in three of the other four. She enters this race off a superb pattern as she is making her third start since coming back from six months off and has earned 107 and 106 figures, respectively, when 2nd in the Plenty of Grace Stakes at Aqueduct in April followed by a Win in the Gallorette Stakes in May at Pimlico. She Won both her races on the Saratoga grass last season, and her Win in the Lake George Stakes came from off the pace and while her Win in the Lake Placid Stakes was earned leading from start to finish. She drew the ground-saving rail for the Diana, and is likely to take control of the race from the start and try to duplicate her wire-to-wire Gallorette effort. To do so is not out of the realm of possibility.
The rest of the field, with their best Equibase Speed Figures, is #5 DALIKA (112), #6 IN ITALIAN (101) and #4 ROUGIR (124).
The Diana is listed as race eight on a card of eleven with a scheduled Post Time of 5:05.