2023 Diana Stakes Odds & More Graded Races From Saratoga

The opening weekend at Saratoga is headlined by Saturday’s G1 2023 Diana Stakes, which is dominated by 2022 meet-leading trainer Chad Brown, who has four of the five runners including last year’s winner In Italian and fellow G1 winner Marketsegmentation. G1 winners Annapolis and Casa Creed get a little class relief in the G3 Kelso up against prolific stakes-winner Big Everest, while the latest two-year-old sensation Gold Sweep bids to make that reputation stick in the G3 Sanford.

Diana Stakes

G1, $500,000, 1m 1f turf, 4yo+ females, 2.46pm ET

Nothing is certain in racing – ask any bettor – but it looks a mortal lock that the Diana, the marquee event at Saratoga on Saturday, will be won for a record-extending eighth time by trainer Chad Brown, who sends out four of the five runners, the top four on the morning-line.

Brown has won the Diana six times in the last seven years and his leading contender is 2022 winner In Italian (2-5), who led every step of the way in her typical freewheeling style to collect as the outsider of Brown’s quartet. That was her breakthrough moment and since then she’s gone three-for-four, all at G1 level, her only defeat when runner-up in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

She’s been immaculate in 2023, wiring the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland and the Just A Game at Belmont Park, and has the speed to get things done at a mile and the stamina to go a little longer. She’ll be out there on the lead again and it’ll take a clear career-best from the opposition to stop her.

Next up on the Brown conveyor belt is Marketsegmentation (4-1), who has hit the board in all seven starts and scored her first G1 success in the 2023 New York at Belmont over a mile and a quarter last month.

She also left the gate running and went coast-to-coast, and given that Brown’s four horses have different owners there’s no reason why she won’t bid for the lead again, although her earlier wins at shorter distances were not gained from the front.

Then there’s the ex-French Whitebeam (5-1), who has hit the ground running in two starts Stateside and made her stakes breakthrough in the 2023 G3 Gallorette at Pimlico over a mile-sixteenth in May. That showed she’s climbing the ladder, but she’s a few rungs behind her better-fancied barnmates at the moment and needs to find improvement to play at this level.

Brown’s outsiders should never be ignored and Fluffy Socks (8-1) ended a long losing run when coming late to win the 2023 G2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile under the twin spires in May. The extra yardage won’t be a problem and she’ll be sharper for that first start off a seven-month layoff, but she may lack that crucial G1 class.

The only alternative to the Brown monopoly is Fev Rover (12-1), who was G1-placed in Britain and has raced exclusively at Woodbine since emigrating. She came off a nine-month layoff to win the 2023 G2 Nassau over a mile at the Toronto circuit two weeks ago, doing all her best work late, but this is a quick turnaround after a long break and Canadian form rarely stacks up well below the border, and she goes Lasix-free for the first time in North America.

2023 Diana Stakes Odds & Betting Pick

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
Fev Rover (IRE)Javier Castellano+1200
In Italian (GB)Irad Ortiz, Jr.-250
MarketsegmentationJose L. Ortiz+400
Fluffy SocksJoel Rosario+800
Whitebeam (GB)Flavien Prat+500

She has been pretty much unstoppable since winning this race last year and IN ITALIAN is impossible to oppose, although her odds make little appeal.

Kelso Stakes

G3, $175,000, 1m turf, 4yo+, 5.45pm ET

The Kelso – known as the Forbidden Apple until this year – leads the undercard and has drawn a field mostly composed of seasoned veterans, with only one four-year-old going up against his elders.

That horse is Annapolis (8-5), who has a phenomenally consistent record of finishing in the first two on all his starts except for a complete blowout in the 2022 G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile. He has compiled a fine body of work, with an authoritative score in the 2022 G1 Coolmore Turf Mile at Keeneland being his finest hour to date, driving clear to beat a strong field by a length and a half with Casa Creed (5-2) another half-length back in fifth.

He probably needed the run on his first start of 2023 but got the job done anyway, getting up late to win a mile stakes at Churchill Downs by a neck with longshot English Bee (20-1) fourth, two and a quarter lengths further back, and should be much sharper now.

Annapolis is two-for-three at Saratoga and shares highweight with the very classy Casa Creed, who won the 2022 G1 Fourstardave over course and distance but is generally more effective in sprints, closing late as usual when third, beaten a length, in the six-furlong G1 Jaipur at Belmont Park last month, a race he won in 2021 and 2022. A slow pace will assist him but that doesn’t look likely.

The ex-Brazilian Filo Di Arianna (5-1) produced a career-best at the age of seven when very game in the 2023 G3 Poker over a mile at Belmont last month, getting an easy lead and only caught deep in the final sixteenth, beaten a neck with Anaconda (6-1) three-quarters of a length back in fourth.

However, Filo Di Arianna has only ever won at Woodbine since leaving Brazil and those achievements aren’t usually enough to make it pay below the border. The same goes for his barnmate Ice Chocolat (20-1), whose two wins since moving north from Brazil have been in allowance grade at Woodbine; he looks out of his depth.

The prolific Big Everest (5-1) is riding the crest of a wave with six wins from his last seven starts, and he took his latest streak to four when rolling coast-to-coast in a minor stakes at Monmouth Park over a mile-sixteenth in May.

Six weeks earlier he had nosed out Anaconda in a three-runner affair for an Aqueduct mile stakes, form that suggests he needs to make substantial improvement to figure on this Graded-stakes debut, but he could get his own way on the lead and that may make him dangerous.

Mid Day Image (30-1) is seven years old, has made 32 starts, and is zero-for-four at stakes level. There’s no reason to believe he can buck that trend. Gun It will only run if the race is moved to the main track.

2023 Kelso Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
English BeeJohn R. Velazquez+2000
AnnapolisIrad Ortiz, Jr.+160
Mid Day ImageFlorent Geroux+3000
Ice Chocolat (BRZ)Flavien Prat+2000
Big Everest (GB)Joel Rosario+800
Filo Di Arianna (BRZ)Jose L. Ortiz+500
AnacondaTyler Gaffalione+600
Casa CreedLuis Saez+250
Gun ItJose L. Ortiz-167

Class relief and his ideal distance turn the spotlight on ANNAPOLIS, who will be sharper for his comeback success and should be very hard to beat.

Sanford Stakes

G3, $175,000, 6f dirt, 2yo, 6.19pm ET

The presence of a heavy chalk in the Sanford does not mean that the race is an open-and-shut case, with the victory of the unraced Betty’s Joker in the Schuylerville here on Thursday a clear demonstration of the unreliability of juvenile summer form.

Further evidence – aptly, in this case – comes from last year at the Spa when Gulfport was long odds-on for the G2 Saratoga Special after winning a stakes by more than 12 lengths, and was soundly beaten. He was trained by Steve Asmussen, who brings a similar type to the table in Gold Sweep (3-5).

Gold Sweep moved up a mile from his debut when rolling his rivals flat in a stakes at Belmont Park, punching clear and drawing right off to win in a canter by nine lengths, with Parx maiden winner Yo Yo Candy (15-1) another length and a quarter back in third. It was very impressive and he may be a star in the making, but his morning-line odds are ridiculously short.

Seven of his nine rivals are coming off debut victories and one or more of them could step up a long way, just as Gold Sweep did. Dickens (8-1) showed up nicely over four and a half furlongs at Gulfstream Park, cruising by two lengths, while Call The Cavalry (8-1) also got it done first time by two lengths, with his bow coming at Belmont over five furlongs.

Big-track form is usually a positive with two-year-olds, which also brings in Gulfstream debut winner Jive (12-1), who fought hard to get home by three-quarters of a length over five furlongs.

Ellis Park over five furlongs was the stage for Market Street (12-1), who was the outsider of six on debut but didn’t look like it when powering to victory by three and three-quarter lengths, and back in the day his trainer Wayne Lukas won the Sanford five times.

Second-tier form requires a little extra improvement, although that’s entirely possible for His Rights (30-1), who got up late on debut to win by a neck over four and a half furlongs at Parx, and for Triple Trea (10-1), who moves to the main track after winning over five furlongs on the synthetic surface at Woodbine, driving on to win by a length and a half.

Ramming Speed (15-1) took two goes to break his duck but did it nicely, romping by four and a quarter lengths on the synthetic surface at Presque Isle Downs, although that’s a world away from what’s required here. Factor U And Me In (30-1) also won on debut at Parx, but that race was over only two furlongs; go figure.

2023 Sanford Stakes Odds & Betting Pick

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
Call the CavalryIrad Ortiz, Jr.+800
JiveJunior Alvarado+1200
DickensEdgard J. Zayas+800
Yo Yo CandyAngel Castillo+1500
Factor U and Me InKendrick Carmouche+3000
Ramming SpeedGaddiel A. Martinez+1500
Triple TreaLuis Saez+1000
His RightsJavier Castellano+3000
Gold SweepJose L. Ortiz-167
Market StreetTyler Gaffalione+1200

Gold Sweep may romp it but he’s worth opposing. MARKET STREET looked promising when an easy debut winner and his trainer knows the score.

Stay tuned for the latest Breeders’ Cup Odds. Check out the World’s major Racetrack entries, Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series updates.

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