Brown, Pletcher square off

Daily Racing Form Saturday Stakes Preview - - FRONT PAGE - – David Gren­ing – Steve An­der­sen

Train­ers Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher will each send out a pair of ju­ve­niles in the Grade 3, $200,000 Pil­grim Stakes, a step­ping-stone to the Breed­ers’ Cup Ju­ve­nile Turf.

Brown sends out Eid­mi­laad, a de­but win­ner at Saratoga, and Ray’s the Bar, a de­but win­ner at As­cot who will be mak­ing his first start in the U.S.

Pletcher sends out Azar, the up­set win­ner of the With An­tic­i­pa­tion Stakes at Saratoga, and Dis­si­dent, who was third to Eid­mi­laad in an Aug. 30 maiden race.

Also en­tered in the Pil­grim are Brass Com­pass, For­ever in Love, High­land Sky, Isotherm, Next Shares, and Pa­gan.

Santa Anita: Five Grade 1 races

ARCADIA, Calif. – Be­holder, the two-time cham­pion who beat males in the $1 mil­lion Pa­cific Clas­sic at Del Mar on Aug. 22, is the most prom­i­nent run­ner in the five Grade 1 stakes at Santa Anita on Satur­day.

All five races are preps for the Breed­ers’ Cup at Keeneland on Oct. 30 -31, of­fer­ing fee­spaid berths to those races.

Be­holder will be a heavy fa­vorite in the $300,000 Zeny­atta Stakes for fil­lies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, a race she won in 2014. The win­ner of the Zeny­atta is guar­an­teed a spot in the BC Distaff on Oct. 30, pro­vided the filly or mare is nom­i­nated to the Breed­ers’ Cup. Be­holder has been men­tioned as a more likely run­ner in the BC Clas­sic against males on Oct. 31.

Be­holder’s main ri­val on Satur­day is War­ren’s Veneda, who won the Grade 1 Santa Mar­garita Stakes here in March.

The $300,000 Awe­some Again Stakes at 1 1/8 miles is a prep for the BC Clas­sic. Hard Aces has al­ready earned an au­to­matic berth for the BC Clas­sic by win­ning the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in June. He will face a field that in­cludes Bay­ern, who won the BC Clas­sic at Santa Anita in 2014 but is win­less this year.

The $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes for fil­lies and mares at 1 1/4 miles on turf leads to the BC Filly and Mare Turf. Hard Not to Like, a Grade 1 win­ner on both coasts this year, will be fa­vored in a large field that in­cludes Sharla Rae, who won the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks last month.

In 2014, Amer­i­can Pharoah won the Fron­trun­ner Stakes in his fi­nal start of the year. This year’s Fron­trun­ner Stakes field is led by Nyquist, the win­ner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Fu­tu­rity on Sept. 7. The win­ner of the $300,000 Fron­trun­ner at 1 1/16 miles re­ceives a fees-paid berth for the BC Ju­ve­nile.

Another Del Mar stakes win­ner – Song­bird – is a stand­out in the $300,000 Chan­de­lier Stakes for 2-year-old fil­lies. Song­bird won the Grade 1 Del Mar Debu­tante on Sept. 5 in her stakes de­but. The Grade 1 Chan­de­lier is a prep for the BC Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies on Oct. 31.

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