The $1 million Haskell (G1) highlights a blockbuster 14-race card at Monmouth Park on Saturday that includes six stakes. Let’s preview the four graded events on the undercard.
United Nations (G1) – Race 11 (5:12 p.m. ET)
Grade 1 victor Arklow, winner of the May 15 Louisville (G3) at Churchill Downs in his seven-year-old opener, will face nine rivals in the $500,000 United Nations (G1). An earner of more than $2.7 million, the six-time graded scorer has captured three of his last four starts for Brad Cox. Arklow is effective racing up close or from off the pace, and Florent Geroux will guide the versatile son of Arch.
Tribhuvan will receive support in the 1 3/8-mile turf affair after opening 2021 with a pair of fine showings for Chad Brown. A convincing wire-to-wire winner of the Fort Marcy (G2) in early May, the five-year-old gelding exits a clear second to Domestic Spending in the Manhattan (G1) on the Belmont S. (G1) undercard. Flavien Prat rides the front-running French import.
Brown also has Chilean Grade 2 winner Master Piece, sixth most recently in the Manhattan, entered. Other contestants include Winters Back, runner-up in the recent Monmouth Cup (G3); Fantasioso, second in the June 4 Belmont Gold Cup (G2); and last-out Churchill allowance winner Glynn County.
Monmouth Cup (G3) – Race 8 (3:29 p.m. ET)
A nose second to subsequent Kentucky Derby (G1) winner and Horse of the Year Authentic in the 2020 Haskell, Ny Traffic will try to earn his first graded tally in the $300,000 Monmouth Cup (G3). The gray New York-bred colt exits a decent runner-up effort in the June 12 Salvator Mile (G3) at Monmouth, and Tyler Gaffalione picks up the assignment for Saffie Joseph Jr.
Seven older males are set for the 1 1/8-mile event on the main track, and Night Ops merits serious respect following a nose second to Canadian Horse of the Year Mighty Heart in the May 29 Blame S. at Churchill Downs. Geroux pilots the five-year-old horse for Cox.
Todd Pletcher will send out Dr Post, who opened the year with a convincing triumph in the Westchester (G3) at Belmont. The four-year-old colt adds blinkers after a fifth in the Met Mile (G1), and Joel Rosario rides. Bankit has plenty of experience against open foes, and the New York-bred enters on the upswing for Steve Asmussen, romping by 13 lengths in the restricted May 31 Commentator at Belmont.
Matchmaker (G3) – Race 5 (1:52 p.m. ET)
Grade 1 winner Juliet Foxtrot tops a nice field of seven turf distaffers in the $150,000 Matchmaker (G3). Contested over 1 1/8 grassy miles, Juliet Foxtrot opened her six-year-old season with a two-length, wire-to-wire tally in the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland. The English-bred mare will try to rebound after a close second in the June 12 Mint Julep (G3), and Gaffalione retains the mount for Cox.
Nay Lady Nay, one of four contenders for Brown, will make a title defense. Unplaced in her first two outings against graded foes this year, the five-year-old will be reunited with Lopez, who last up for the 2020 Matchmaker.
German Group 2 winner Kalifornia Queen, a last-out allowance scorer at Belmont, will seek her first U.S. stakes triumph. Grade 3 winner Counterparty Risk and stakes heroine Great Island round out the Brown quartet.
Always Shopping, a Grade 3 winner at Gulfstream earlier this season for Pletcher, adds further depth.
Molly Pitcher (G3) – Race 10 (4:38 p.m. ET)
Graded winners Mrs. Danvers and Vault highlight a competitive field of nine fillies and mares entered for the $250,000 Molly Pitcher (G2) at 1 1/16 miles.