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Didia Tops Area in Saratoga’s Diana Stakes

The $500,000 Diana Stakes (G1T) is the primary grade 1 race throughout what guarantees to be one other huge Saratoga Race Course summer time assembly. 5 of the ten horses entered to run on turf within the Diana already are millionaires, and people entrants are simply among the many contenders within the stellar subject.

Main the sphere is Didia  at greater than $1.5 million in profession earnings, coming off a win in the same New York Stakes (G1T) final month at Saratoga. Canadian traditional winner Moira  ($1.4 million) makes her first begin of the yr, having gained the Canadian Stakes (G2T) final September as her largest turf accomplishment. Each Fluffy Socks  and Gina Romantica  verify in at $1.2 million in earnings. Fluffy Socks enters this race off a win within the Gallorette Stakes (G3T) whereas Gina Romantica hasn’t gained since final fall, however that victory got here within the First Woman Stakes (G1T). Chili Flag  crossed the $1 million threshold final month with a win within the Only a Sport Stakes (G1T) and positively suits with these. The expertise does not finish with that group as 2023 Diana winner Whitebeam  makes an attempt to enhance off a slender defeat when second within the Only a Sport, as does Mission of Pleasure , who was simply one other head behind in third. Equally, Evvie Jets , who gained the Ballston Spa Stakes (G2T) final summer time at Saratoga, led from the beginning within the Only a Sport and was crushed a complete of three-quarters of a size when fourth in that blanket end. Neecie Marie  additionally seems to have a powerful shot to succeed as she was second not too long ago behind Didia within the New York Stakes. Coppice  rounds out the sphere however isn’t and not using a probability both as she was crushed a neck by Chili Flag within the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (G2T) in Could earlier than affected by a troubled begin within the Only a Sport Stakes final month. Venti Valentine  is entered to run if the race comes off the grass and is run on dust. She gained the Essential Eye Stakes on the dust at Saratoga final month.

Prime contenders:

Coach Chad Brown entered 5 of the ten in the principle physique of the Diana, however he nonetheless could not discover the winner’s circle when all is alleged and performed. It is because the horse to beat could also be Didia, educated by Ignacio Correas IV. Winner of 11 of her 15 turf begins, the 6-year-old mare proved she has not misplaced a step with a strong victory final month on this course within the New York Stakes. The 1 3/16-mile distance of that race is a bit farther than the 1 1/8-mile distance of this race however comparable sufficient, and she or he gained her solely race at this distance since importing to the USA in the summertime of 2022 when taking the 2023 Modesty Stakes (G3T) in Could of final yr. Within the New York Stakes, Didia earned a 113 Equibase Velocity Determine, which is simply two factors off her profession prime and the very best determine earned this yr amongst any horse within the subject. Jose Ortiz was aboard for the win within the New York, in addition to her Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf Invitational Stakes (G2T) win in January and rides the mare again within the Diana, so the probabilities of her repeating her effort from one month in the past seem fairly robust.

Neecie Marie began eleventh of 13 within the New York Stakes then confirmed a superb kick when going from tenth to fifth after a half-mile had been run, then transferring up from fourth to second within the stretch. Previous to that, Neecie Marie returned from 5 1/2 months off to win the Beaugay Stakes (G3T), beating Whitebeam by a neck, and incomes a 103 ESF. Enhancing to a 111 ESF within the New York, the sample suggests Neecie Marie goes to take one other step ahead in her third begin off a layoff, and contemplating she is a 4-year-old she actually has room to enhance on that rely as effectively. As such, Neecie Marie could have an upset shot on this race, notably as she could also be ignored by bettors who will probably be gravitating to horses who gained their most up-to-date race and people educated by Chad Brown, which she isn’t.


Whitebeam and Chili Flag completed second and first, respectively, within the Only a Sport Stakes, run on the shorter distance of 1 mile on the Saratoga turf. Each are educated by Chad Brown, who additionally entered Coppice, Gina Romantica, and Fluffy Socks. Whitebeam gained this race final yr with a 113 ESF, the identical determine Didia earned successful the New York Stakes final month. Nonetheless, within the Only a Sport, run on the identical day because the New York, Whitebeam earned solely a 96 ESF, not ok to win this race if repeated. Then again, she earned a 102 ESF when crushed by only a neck by Neecie Marie within the Beaugay Stakes in Could and she or he can be making her third begin following a five-month layoff so there may be room to enhance. That is notably true as a result of previous to successful the Diana in 2023, Whitebeam earned solely an 87 ESF successful the Gallorette Stakes earlier than bettering to 113 in her third begin off a layoff, the identical as she will probably be making within the Diana.

Chili Flag has gained 5 of her final eight races going again to final summer time, together with three graded stakes in succession. She gained the Honey Fox Stakes (G3T) in March with a 104 ESF earlier than bettering to a 109 ESF when victorious within the Distaff Turf Mile in Could. She earned a 97 ESF successful the Only a Sport on the identical day Didia earned a 113 ESF successful the New York final month over this course. All three current wins have come on the distance of 1 mile, and the one time she ran this distance she misplaced by a nostril. That is not to say she will be able to’t win the race, however one mile could also be her most well-liked distance as in contrast with this 1 1/8-mile journey.

The remainder of the sphere (with greatest Equibase Velocity Determine in a consultant race): Coppice (109), Evvie Jets (112), Fluffy Socks (112), Gina Romantica (118), Mission of Pleasure (118), Moira (120). Venti Valentine (95), entered to run if the race strikes to the principle monitor.

Win contenders in choice/chance order:


Neecie Marie


Chili Flag


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