Princess Of Sylmar: will be having first run since Kentucky Oaks winPICTURE:Getty Images
Oaks star Princess tops bill at Saratoga
Preview: USA, Saturday 10.45pm BST (live on ATR)
Saratoga: Coaching Club American Oaks (Grade 1) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo fillies
FILLIES and mares take centre stage in the States on Saturday, when Kentucky Oaks winner Princess Of Sylmar reappears at Saratoga and dual champion female Royal Delta seeks to bounce back from a shock defeat last month in the Delaware Handicap.
Princess Of Sylmar (Todd Pletcher/Javier Castellano) makes her first start since landing America's premier race for three-year-old fillies when she faces just four rivals in the Coaching Club American Oaks, Grade 1 highlight of Saratoga's opening weekend.
In a hot-looking race at Churchill Downs, Princess Of Sylmar closed from well back for a surprise 38-1 success, but in retrospect her career record bears close inspection as she had been beaten just once since her debut, when she went down to subsequent Grade 1 winner Close Hatches at Aqueduct.
Her chief rival could be a near-neighbour in Todd Pletcher's barn as the trainer also saddles the highly rated Unlimited Budget (John Velazquez), bumped at the start before finishing third in the Oaks. She boasts the best Beyer speed figure on show here, and is easily forgiven a down-the-field effort last time against males in the Belmont Stakes.
My Happy Face (Chad Brown/Joel Rosario) broke her maiden by 21 lengths-plus here last August and returned after a five-month layoff to score in stakes company at Belmont last month. She is likely to be on the front end here as she makes her debut around two turns.
Cue The Moon (Jim Bond/Luis Saez) also broke her maiden here last year and has been working well at this venue but she, like Marathon Lady (Steve Hobby/Robby Albarado) will need to improve.
Coaching Club American Oaks
Ladbrokes: 7-4 Princess of Sylmar, Unlimited Budget, 9-2 My Happy Face, 8 Marathon Lady, 12 Cue the Moon
Also on Saturday
Delaware Park: Delaware Hcap (Grade 1) 1m2f, dirt, 3yo+ f/m (10.20pm BST, live on ATR)
The central question in this $750,000 event is whether dual champion filly Royal Delta (Bill Mott/Mike Smith) can rediscover her best after an odds-on defeat in Grade 2 company at Churchill Downs last month on her first start since another dismal display in the Dubai World Cup.
Twice winner of the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic, the five-year-old gives away at least 5lb to her rivals as she bids to complete back-to-back successes in the Del Cap.
Rivals may be headed by Authenticity (Todd Pletcher), who won the Grade 2 La Troienne on Kentucky Oaks day before being beaten just a half-length in the Ogden Phipps, and three-time graded-stakes winner Summer Applause (Chad Brown). Both are cross-entered in the Shuvee at Saratoga.
Woodbine (Canada): Ontario Matron Stakes (Grade 3) 1m½f, AW, 3yo+ f/m (9.28pm BST, live on ATR)
Godolphin's Layali Dubai (Eoin Harty/Justin Stein) should be in the mix here judged on her synthetic form in Britain for Saeed Bin Suroor, where she won four out of five, the only defeat coming by a short head. After failing in Dubai, she won in minor all-weather company at Arlington last month.
Likely favourite, though, is Sisterly Love (Mark Casse/Eurico Rosa da Silva), who made all for a stakes win by more than eight lengths last time out.
Saratoga: Shuvee Hcap (Grade 3) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo+ f/m (10.12pm BST, live on ATR)
Chief interest here resides with Zenyatta's half-sister Eblouissante (John Shirreffs/Junior Alvarado), an imposing daughter of Bernardini who has won both her starts in southern California.
The four-year-old has not run since January and could face a strong field for her graded-stakes debut, although both Authenticity and Summer Applause are cross-entered at Delaware.