Wander Mom, third in the My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) last year, was in control of Saturday's running at Calder, taking the lead within the first quarter mile of the 1 1/8-mile Grand Slam I turf event and hanging on strongly at the end.
The Calder racing season hits high gear Saturday with the track's first of two Grand Slam stakes programs. Band Is Passing, Babae, Two Item Limit, Volga and Tour Of The Cat are among the marquee names that will run in the four stakes worth $100,000 each, three of them graded events.
Chilean-bred Babae wins back-to-back renewals of the Athenia Handicap.
Joseph Platt Jr.'s Babae, the likely favorite for Saturday's $100,000 Athenia Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares, is poised to capture back-to-back runnings of the 1 1/6-mile turf feature at Aqueduct.
Babae and jockey Jorge Chavez wore down pacesetter Platinum Tiara before drawing off to a three-length win in the $150,000 Violet Handicap (gr. IIIT) at the Meadowlands on Friday night.
Twelve horses have been entered for Saturday's $100,000
Noble Damsel (gr. III) for fillies and mares at one mile on the turf at Belmont Park, but that many are not likely to run.
The Violet Handicap (gr. IIIT) at the Meadowlands Friday night has drawn an overflow field of 16 to compete in the 1 1/16-mile turf event for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and upward.
Juddmonte Farm's Tates Creek nipped favored Voodoo Dancer by a short nose in a furious stretch battle to claim the $500,000 Diana Handicap (gr. II) Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Edmund Gann's You figures to be tough in the Test Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs. In the Diana Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, trainer Bobby Frankel will saddle Beefeater Baby and Tates Creek.
Babae, in her second start of the year, sat second behind early leader Penny Marie, then took the lead and held off a late challenge to win the Just a Game Breeders' Cup (gr. III) Saturday at Belmont.
Brazilian-bred Verruma tracked the early pacesetters, then rallied through the stretch to win her division of the $137,875 Athenia Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park Friday. Chilean-bred Babae, who Verruma beat in a June allowance race at Belmont, won the second division.
In the $100,000 Noble Damsel (gr. IIIT) Saturday at Belmont Park, Joseph Platt Jr's Babae has been in top form and will need to stay there to best a competitive field of fillies and mares going one mile on the turf.
Overbrook Farm homebred Penny's Gold rallied from fourth to win Sunday's $200,000 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) by three-quarters of a length over Babae at Saratoga.
Peter Bradley and Thomas VanMeter II's Gino's Spirits saved ground along the inside and rallied through the stretch to win the $111,200 Noble Damsel Handicap (gr. IIIT) by 2 3/4 lengths Saturday at Belmont Park.
Hall of Fame trainer Philip Johnson will saddle two fillies in the $100,000 Noble Damsel Handicap (gr. IIIT) Saturday at Belmont Park, including Storm Dream, the lone 3-year-old in the field.
Boiling Spring Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) winner Storm Dream and Fictitious, winner of the De La Rose Handicap (gr. IIIT), head the six horses listed as probable for the $100,000 Noble Damsel Handicap (gr. IIIT). The one-mile turf race for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up will be run Saturday at Belmont Park.
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