Sire Stakes bonanza at Oak Grove

Admiral Hill, Ari Ferrari J and Mambacita will all look to complete clean sweeps of the Kentucky Sire Stakes summer series for 4-year-olds in their respective $150,000 championship events on Tuesday (June 25), which highlight a racing week at Oak Grove Racing & Gaming worth over $1.4 million in purses.

Morrison Racing Stable’s Admiral Hill enters the 4-year-old male pace final off a lifetime best-equaling 1:48.3 performance on June 17, in which he parried heavy pressure from For Once Inmy Life before evading the second-over Tip Top Cat by a length. Yannick Gingras, who drove the Sweet Lou gelding to victories in all three preliminary heats, is back aboard the Per Engblom trainee as the 3-5 morning line favorite from post six in the six-horse field.

Admiral Hill’s only defeat in seven starts this season came in the May 13 Kentucky Sire Stakes spring series final, in which he chased from the pocket to finish third, beaten a length, behind Combustion and Tip Top Cat. While Combustion is not among the entrants in the summer final, Tip Top Cat is, scoring from post four as the 4-1 second choice with Todd McCarthy driving for Ron Burke.

The 4-year-old male trot shapes up to be a showdown between Ari Ferrari J, who won all three of his preliminary divisions, and French Wine, who enters the final off a devastating 1:51.2 win. By virtue of his commanding third-leg score and his string of six top-three finishes in as many starts this year, millionaire French Wine is the 2-1 morning line favorite, and he will line up in post seven for driver Andy Miller, trainer Julie Miller, and the partnership of Andy Miller Stable, Plouffe, Plouffe and One Legend Stable. Ari Ferrari J, the 5-2 early second choice, will be driven by Dexter Dunn from post eight for trainer Tony Alagna and owner Kenneth Jacobs.

The 4-year-old distaff trotting division has been Mambacita’s domain since the spring, as the daughter of Tactical Landing has won all six of her Sire Stakes starts and banked $175,000 while going off no higher than 4-5 on any occasion. Dunn and Alagna again team up with the 17-time winner and 2-5 morning line favorite, who has drawn post six for the partnership of Crawford Farms Racing, Alagna Racing and Pryde Stables. Her main competition comes in the form of Roger Cullipher trainee Railee Something, who has finished second to Mambacita in each of their last five meetings. Andy McCarthy drives the daughter of International Moni, who has been installed as the 4-1 second choice from post five.

A compact field of five will meet in the 4-year-old mare pace, with spring series champ Strong Poison the even-money favorite from post two off a 1:49.4 win in last week’s third preliminary. Yannick Gingras drives the 12-time winner for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. Second-round winner Zanatta drew the pole for driver Andy Miller and trainer Jenn Bongiorno; while Hungry For Love, runner-up in both her preliminary heats, drew post five for driver David Miller and trainer Ron Burke.

The blockbuster racing week at Oak Grove kicks off with an all-stakes program on Monday (June 24) consisting entirely of first-round preliminary Kentucky Sire Stakes action for 2- and 3-year-olds. These series consist of two $40,000 preliminary rounds (June 24-25 and July 7) leading to $100,000 finals to take place on July 14.

Post time for both programs is 3 p.m. CDT (4 p.m. EDT). Free past-performance pages, along with analysis from track handicapper Ray Cotolo, are available at the Oak Grove website (https://www.oakgrovegaming.com/racing/handicapping-resources/).