A double dose of "Road to the Breeders' Cup World Championships – Powered by Dodge" is on tap this weekend with live racing Saturday and Sunday on ESPN from 5-6 p.m. (EST). Saturday's telecast features coverage of a pair of grade I races from Saratoga, the $750,000 Whitney Handicap and the $250,000 Darley Test Stakes. Sunday features the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) and the $150,000 Taylor Made Matchmaker Stakes (gr. III) from Monmouth Park and the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. III) from Mountaineer Park.
The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Invasor and the Todd Pletcher-trained Flower Alley are set to square off for the first time in the Whitney. Invasor is coming off back-to-back grade I wins in the Pimlico Special and Suburban Handicap, while Flower Alley, who was second in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) and won the Travers Stakes (gr. I) and Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II), tuned up with a win in the Salvator Mile (gr. III) in his last race. Also expected to start are Sun King, Wanderin Boy, Siphon City, Premium Tap, and Survivalist.
Wild Fit, second in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), tries for her first win of 2006 in the Test. Other stakes winners expected for the race are Joint Effort, Ready to Please, Diplomat Lad, Hello Liberty, Wild Gams, and Capote's Crown. Win McCool, Swap Fliparoo, Burmilla, Livermore Valley, Last Romance, and Misty Pleasure round out the field.
The Haskell features Pletcher's dual classic runner-up Bluegrass Cat and the John Ward-trained Strong Contender, winner of the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II). Others expected for the race are Awfully Smart, Deputy Glitters, Flashy Bull, Praying for Cash, and Electrify.
In the West Virginia Derby, the Dale Romans-trained Bright One, who broke his maiden by nearly 10 lengths at Churchill Downs in June, and then won the Forestry Stakes at the same venue, takes on graded stakes company for the first time.
Hosting Saturday's show from Saratoga will be Kenny Mayne, joined by analysts Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss and reporter Jeannine Edwards. They will also be at Monmouth on Sunday, with Joe Tessitore and Quint Kessenich reporting from West Virginia.