Horseplayers Weekend Preview; Virginia Owned Sadler’s Joy To Compete In Sept. 30 Grade I Stakes At Belmont

Sadler’s Joy, fresh off a big win in the Grade I Sword Dancer, is the 4-1 third choice in Saturday’s $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (Gr. I) at Belmont. The 4 year old Kitten’s Joy colt, who became a million dollar earner with that last win, was bred and is owned by Rene & Lauren Wooolcott of Woodslane Farm in The Plains, Virginia. He faces ten others in Race 10, at 5:45 PM.

Sadler’s Joy captured his biggest race to date August 26th in the $1 Million Sword Dancer Invitational. Photo courtesy of NYRA.

The Joe Hirsch is just one of eight Grade I stakes on Saturday available for horseplayers to watch and wager. The other two at Belmont are the $400,000 Beldame and $350,000 Vosburgh Stakes. Santa Anita has five $300,000 Grade I’s — the Awesome Again, Front Runner, Chandelier, Zenyatta and Rodeo Drive Stakes.

Laurel Park of course hosts “Commonwealth” Day with eight stakes — five of which are for Virginia-breds. Here is that lineup:

*$60,000 Bert Allen Stakes – Race 1 (12:30 PM)

*$60,000 Brookmeade Stakes – Race 3 (1:30 PM)


*$60,000 Punch Line Stakes – Race 5 (2:30 PM)

*$60,000 Oakley Stakes – Race 6 (3:00 PM)

*$60,000 Jamestown Stakes – Race 9 (4:30 PM)

Lime House Louie, a Flint Stites trainee, won the 2016 Jamestown Stakes for 2 year olds at Laurel. He is in the Punch Line Stakes Saturday. Photo by Jim McCue.

There is also a trio of open graded stakes that all used to be run at Colonial Downs: 

*$150,000 Commonwealth Oaks (Gr. 3) – Race 7 (3:30 PM)

*$200,000 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup  (Gr. 2) – Race 8 (4:00 PM)

*$200,000 Commonwealth Derby (Gr. 2) – Race 11 (5:30 PM)

And Delaware Park has a stakes filled “Owners Day” card with deep fields. When combined, this makes for one of the biggest racing days of the year.

The Ponies & Pints OTB has beverage specials daily from 11 AM – 7 PM and food specials many nights including a Sunday brunch. It is located at 110 N. 18th Street in the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood.

The two Richmond area OTBs at Ponies & Pints and Breakers Sports Grille will have all the action available — including another 9 Grade I’s to watch and wager next weekend. Virginia residents can also wager on line via,, and A full simulcast calendar is at