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Didia & McKulick in New York Stakes Rematch at Saratoga

Jamie Clark
Didia and McKulick race in the New York Stakes again

Last year’s New York Stakes second and third, Didia and McKulick, meet again in the $750,000 Grade I race seeking victory. Moved temporarily away from its traditional home of Belmont Park, like the rest of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, there’s a slight shortening of the event distance.

Normally contested over 2,000m (10 furlongs or a mile-and-a-quarter), the meet switching upstate to Saratoga means changes. The New York Stakes is on the Mellon course, one of two turf tracks on the inner of the dirt at this venue. That means its distance is 1,900m (9.5 furlongs).

Still part of the Belmont Stakes schedule for the day before the final leg of the Triple Crown, a field of 13 older fillies and mares run on Friday, June 7. Chief among those are the two who made the show but didn’t win at Belmont Park 12 months ago.

McKulick Better off at Weights with Didia

Both of these five-year-old mares have won more than once since. Didia has a landed a couple of Grade II races on either coast of America. After victory in the Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita, she also delivered this winter in the valuable Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf Invitational around Gulfstream Park under new jockey Jose Ortiz.

Didia has since run third in the Grade I Jenny Wiley at Keeneland behind Godolphin’s transatlantic raider English Rose. Effective over the extended mile up to a mile-and-a-quarter, Ignacio Correas’ daughter of Orpen is a leading contender for the New York Stakes again.

Unlike last year, however, Didia doesn’t receive weight from old rival McKulick. The pair now meet off level terms and that gives Chad Brown’s 2023 third every chance of turning the form about. McKulick seems at her best over a longer distance, so shortening this race isn’t a plus.

As she’s by Frankel, greater tests of stamina seem more suitable. Much like in the Just A Game Stakes, however, this local barn has a superb recent record in the New York Stakes with four wins in the last six years.

McKulick has two wins over a mile-and-half including here in the Grade II Glens Falls. She placed in the 2022 Saratoga Oaks over course and distance after landing the Belmont Park equivalent. McKulick will have to prove her effectiveness down in trip, however, after finishing fourth at Aqueduct when last in action.

More to Come from English Rose in New York Stakes

Newmarket handler Charlie Appleby is always ready and willing to send the horses he trains for powerful owner-breeders Godolphin around the world. English Rose has already gone close to a win across the pond when second to Beaute Cachee in the Grade I Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland.

A lightly-raced four-year-old Frankel filly out of a dam by the owners’ super-sire Dubawi, she has only had five career starts so far. They include a Group 2 win in Dubai at Meydan (watch above) over the winter. English Rose has almost two lengths in hand on Didia on that Keeneland run and the pair again clash off level weights.

During a low-key period in the British Flat season, William Buick comes over for the ride on her. Unless there is some cut in the ground, however, it is hard to favor Irish raider American Sonja for Joseph O’Brien.

Despite the four-year-old daughter of Tasleet running second over course and distance in last season’s Saratoga Oaks, she needs yielding conditions at best to be effective. That is why American Sonja went to France for a Group 3 victory at Longchamp over a mile-and-a-quarter, so she could benefit from a soft surface.

Royalty Interest Another String for Brown & Klaravich

Brown and owners Klaravich Stables, who won the New York Stakes in 2023 with Marketsegmentation, have another runner besides McKulick this year. Royalty Interest landed an Aqueduct Grade III by a head and had her owner-stable companion out the show.

A Le Harve filly with two wins from three this year, the four-year-old is worse off at the weights here with both barn buddy McKulick and Star Fortress. Cherie DeVaux’s five-year-old Sea The Stars mare showed in a couple of Listed races for Ralph Beckett in the UK before an impressive US debut with a 10-length demolition job in the Grade III Cardinal Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Although Star Fortress hasn’t repeated that romp since, that narrow defeat at Aqueduct over further when last in action was a step back in the right direction. Off joint topweight, meanwhile, are the two oldest fillies in the New York Stakes field.

Fev Rover has three wins at Canada’s premier racetrack Woodbine since joining Mark Casse. It is not so much her past performances at the Toronto, Ontario venue as her Beverly D Stakes victory at Colonial Downs over this trip which makes the six-year-old daughter of Gutaifan one to note.

Bill Mott’s War Like Goddess is a dual Joe Hirsch Turf Classic winner with multiple graded stakes victories over a mile-and-a-half. How the seven-year-old English Channel mare will cope with a much sharper trip at Saratoga remains to be seen. Belmont Oaks winner Aspen Grove also carries 124lbs for the Jack Sisterson barn.

2024 New York Stakes Presented by Rivers Casino Post Positions & Morning Line Odds

  1. McKulick (122lbs) – 10-1
  2. English Rose (122lbs) – 3-1
  3. Didia (122lbs) – 9-2
  4. Aspen Grove (124lbs) – 20-1
  5. American Sonja (120lbs) – 10-1
  6. Fev Rover (124lbs) – 8-1
  7. Neecie Marie (120lbs) – 15-1
  8. Be Your Best (118lbs) – 30-1
  9. Sparkle Blue (122lbs) – 15-1
  10. War Like Goddess (124lbs) – 4-1
  11. Star Fortress (120lbs) – 20-1
  12. Royalty Interest (120lbs) – 20-1
  13. Surprisingly (120lbs) – 15-1

WATCH: Marketsegementation Beat Didia & McKulick in 2023 New York Stakes

Jamie Clark

After more than a decade of picking winners for the biggest races on the planet, pro handicapper Jamie Clark has been involved with our Belmont Stakes project right from the start. A thoroughbred pedigree expert, he has the knowledge of all the horses taking part in this and other major events across the USA and beyond.