Homerique hunts Grade I glory in Diana

The Grade I, $500,000 Diana Stakes drew a compact but accomplished field of six as Saturday’s centerpiece race at Saratoga. The 1 1/8 turf classic goes as the ninth of 11 events on the opening Saturday card at “The Spa.” Approximate post time is 5:46 p.m. ET.

#6 HOMERIQUE (5-2) is one of four being sent out by turf trainer extraordinaire Chad Brown. She’s a perfect 2-for-2 since arriving stateside, taking Belmont’s Beaugay and New York Stakes. She rallied into slow paces each time but should be behind an honest tempo in the Diana as Brown sends out what appears to be a rabbit in #1 THAIS, who like HOMERIQUE, is owned by Peter M. Brant. Irad Ortiz Jr. keeps the assignment on HOMERIQUE, who gets a valuable six-pound weight break from the two Diana favorites, SISTERCHARLIE and RUSHING FALL.

#4 SISTERCHARLIE (8-5, morning-line favorite) is the horse to beat on speed figures but hasn’t raced since her Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf score in November of 2018. However, she overcame an extended layoff to win the Jenny Wiley Stakes last April, setting in motion her sensational 2018 season. SISTERCHARLIE will carry six additional pounds over top-choice HOMERIQUE under John Velazquez. She has shown that she can close into slow paces, but SISTERCHARLIE should benefit from the presence of a rabbit.

#2 RUSHING FALL (9-5) is a neck shy of being 9-for-9 in her career. She has seven graded stakes scores in her career, including four Grade Is. RUSHING FALL most recently took the Grade I Just A Game on Belmont Stakes day. Javier Castellano has the call once more on RUSHING FALL, who stands to inherit the lead from THAIS at the quarter pole. She’s a perfect 2-for-2 at the 1 1/8-mile distance.

The play: $5 exacta 6/2,4 ($10)

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