Belmont Park will kick off Saturday’s star-studded Independence Day stakes action with the Grade 3, $150,000 Victory Ride, featuring a talented field of six 3-year-old fillies going 6 ½ furlongs, carded as the sixth race of the Stars & Stripes Racing Festival.
Kaleem Shah’s Enchanting Lady leads the field as the 6-5 morning line favorite from the barn of newly-minted Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert. Still looking for a graded stakes victory, the daughter of Tale of the Cat posted wins in the Landaluce Stakes and the Santa Paula at her home track of Santa Anita before finishing a disappointing ninth in the Grade 3, seven-furlong Eight Belles on the Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs.
Enchanting Lady found some redemption in her most recent start, overcoming a stumble at the start to finish a late-charging second in the Jersey Girl over the local surface on June 5 to match her career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 98.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez picks up the mount on Enchanting Lady. The pair will break from post 2.
Eight-time winner Promise Me Silver, a daughter of Silver City, will make her return to Belmont Park for trainer Bret Calhoun since suffering her first defeat after a troubled, 10th-place finish in the Grade 1 Acorn on Belmont Stakes Day. Prior to the Acorn loss, Robert Luttrell’s Texas-bred filly had picked up her first graded stakes score in the Eight Belles to cap a year-long winning streak dating back to her maiden-breaking victory on May 11 at Lone Star Park.
“She’s doing great,” said Calhoun. “She’s had a great several weeks since that race. Everything’s gone well since. I think [the Acorn is the] kind of race you draw a line through. She definitely didn’t get the trip we needed. She broke hard and her rear end fell out from under her. She went from sixth to first way too fast. The race was pretty much over at that point but she’s bounced out of it well. She’s had a couple of nice works and she’s trained forwardly since then.”
Set as the second-choice on the morning line at 3-1, Promise Me Silver will break from the rail, once again under the services of her Eight Belles jockey Robby Albarado.
Irish Jasper, recent winner of the Grade 3 Miss Preakness at Pimlico, will travel from her Monmouth Park base to make her Big Sandy debut, according to owner and trainer Derek Ryan. Ryan hopes to use the Victory Ride, a prep race for the Grade 1 Longines Test at Saratoga on August 8, to kick off his filly’s summer campaign.
“I liked the distance [of the Victory Ride],” Ryan said. “She’s coming in great. She’ll come in on Saturday and then we’ll go back home. Hopefully after this, we’ll go on to the Test.”
Breaking from post 6, Irish Jasper will be ridden by Javier Castellano at odds of 6-1 on the morning line.
Grade 2 Beaumont winner Miss Ella will also make her return to Belmont after a seventh-place finish in the Acorn. Trained by Graham Motion for by Jack Swain III, the Exchange Rate filly will break the outside post 7, set at morning-line odds of 4-1 under Rajiv Maragh.
Rounding out the field for the 13th running of the Victory Ride are Super Saks, representing D. Wayne Lukas, and Kathballu for trainer Ken McPeek.