A classy field of seven fillies and mares have signed up for Sunday's $500,000 Diana Handicap (gr. IT) at Saratoga, and the other six have Intercontinental to beat. The Diana can be seen on ESPN with post time scheduled for 4:12 p.m. ET. Should the race come off the grass, three additional entrants will go.
Intercontinental, a 4-year-old, races as a homebred for Juddmonte Farms, and is a perfect three-for-three since arriving in the United States from Great Britain. She is mentored by Bobby Frankel, who said he has been pointing her to the Diana for a while, despite the fact the nine furlongs will be the furthest she has raced.
"She has a nice style to get a little more distance," Frankel noted. He added he was unconcerned if more rain fell on the upstate area. "Horses tend to settle better on soft turf, and that might be another factor that could help her get the distance."
Wonder Again wouldn't mind a little rainfall either. The 5-year-old mare took the New York Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont last time out under soggy conditions. Owned by Joan Phillips, Wonder Again has a pair of wins over the Saratoga sod, although she was winless in two tries last summer, including in the Diana. Wonder Again must turn the tables on Intercontinental, who defeated her by four lengths in her first start of the year.
Riskaverse hopes her Locust Grove (gr. IIIT) performance at Churchill Downs, in which she was fifth, was an aberration. Ocean Drive, beaten just a length by Intercontinental at Keeneland, has won two of three stakes efforts since and figures a threat. Sand Springs is likely to grab the lead from the inside post, as she has flashed early speed throughout her career.
The field for the Diana, in post position order with jockeys and weights:
1) Sand Springs (Jean-Luc Samyn, 118)
2) Ocean Drive (John Velazquez, 118)
3) Intercontinental (Jerry Bailey, 120)
4) Wonder Again (Edgar Prado, 120)
5) Spice Island (Richard Migliore, 118)
6) Halory Leigh (Robby Albarado, 118)
7) Riskaverse (Pat Day, 118)
8) Buy the Sport (mto)
9) Nevermore (mto)
10) Alchemist (mto)
--(mto) Indicates horse entered to run on the main track only, in case the race is switched off grass