The Grade I Diana Stakes takes center stage on opening Saturday at Saratoga. Six star fillies and mares will go 1 1/8-miles on the turf in pursuit of a $500,000 purse. The Diana is the 10th of 11 races on the day; estimated post time is 5:55 p.m. EST. Be sure to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game all summer long!
#3 LADY ELI (4-5, morning-line favorite) exits a solid win in the Grade I Gamely at Santa Anita. However, she was beaten a head by DICKINSON in the Grade I Jenny Wiley two starts back (albeit with an inferior trip). LADY ELI has somewhat of an advantage over DICKINSON as the venue changes on Saturday. LADY ELI has a win and a place in two starts at Saratoga, while DICKINSON has never competed at “The Spa.” DICKINSON was also well into her 2017 campaign when these two met in April; LADY ELI was just beginning hers. DICKINSON offers far better value than LADY ELI on the morning-line (9-2), but LADY ELI appears a more likely winner. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the assignment.
#6 DICKINSON (9-2) had a three-race win streak snapped in the Grade I Just A Game Stakes last month. Despite being carried out late after going wide on the far turn, she was still within a length of ANTONOE at the finish. She drew a good post for her stalking tactics, but Paco Lopez can’t afford to give too much ground. He’ll walk a fine line in the Diana.
#2 ANTONOE (3-1) got a great ride under Javier Castellano to take the Just A Game last time out. She appears to be in peak form, as she drilled a bullet in preparation for this. Still, her chief opponents are more alluring as she has yet to go the 1 1/8-mile distance.
The play: $6 exacta box 3/6, $4 exacta 3,6/2 ($20)
DFJ analysis: Saratoga is one of the toughest venues for a jockey to land quality mounts on a consistent basis. Just having a presence in a bunch of races would be good enough to justify picking someone like Javier Castellano on Saturday. He’s in 10 of 11 races and has a mount in both the Diana and the Grade III Sanford. Castellano’s on ANTONOE in the Diana and Admiral Jimmy (4-1) in the Sanford. He also has the call on two program favorites; Daddy’s Home in Race 2 and Volatility Index in Race 8.
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