The Grade I, $500,000 Diana Stakes is the Sunday showcase race at Saratoga. Six of the best turf fillies and mares in the country will do battle over 1 1/8-miles in this one. Not surprisingly, trainer Chad Brown has the two morning-line favorites in RUSHING FALL and SISTERCHARLIE in an uncoupled entry. Post time for the Diana, Race 8 on a nine-race program at “The Spa,” is 5:18 p.m. ET.
#3 RUSHING FALL (3-2, morning-line favorite) beat a very strong field in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland last time out. That was her fifth career Grade I victory in just 13 total starts. RUSHING FALL is 3-2-1-0 all-time at the 1 1/8-mile distance, but her lone loss came in this race behind stablemate SISTERCHARLIE last year. However, it looked like RUSHING FALL moved too soon into a rapid pace, and SISTERCHARLIE was able to run her down. It remains to be seen if SISTERCHARLIE has lost a step after suffering consecutive defeats, but bettors can be sure that RUSHING FALL is still in peak condition. Javier Castellano will be aboard once more.
#5 SISTERCHARLIE (5-2) finished behind #4 STARSHIP JUBILEE and #1 CALL ME LOVE in the Ballston Spa over this course last time out. She hadn’t raced since last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, but some of her best work has been done off layoffs, including last year’s Diana score. Still, SISTERCHARLIE must be respected here under John Velazquez.
#6 MEAN MARY (3-1) will likely try to make every step a winning one in the Diana. She was last seen blowing away a respectable group in the Grade II New York at Belmont by 5 1/4-lengths. MEAN MARY has now won four straight races, three of which were graded stakes. This is a step up, but it wouldn’t be shocking if her and Luis Saez were involved at the finish.
The play: $5 exacta 3/5, $3 exacta 3/6, $2 exacta 5/3 ($10)
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