2023 Diana Stakes Preview
The opening of the Saratoga meet is one of the highlights of the horse racing year. The Wednesday night before features a ceremony at the Racing Hall of Fame to dedicate the Against All Odds statue previously located at Arlington Park, then on Thursday, the doors open for the summertime meet at the Spa.
The featured race at Saratoga on Saturday, July 15, is the Diana Stakes: the first Grade 1 race of the summer meet. The race covers 1 ⅛ miles on the turf, offers a $500,000 purse, and it drew a field of five horses. Though the group is not large, it is a high-quality race that well befits one of the most special events of the summer turf season: all five of the entrants are graded stakes winners, and two are last-out Grade 1 winners on the NYRA circuit.
The Diana Stakes is the first of three graded stakes races on the Saturday card at Saratoga. The card also features the Kelso Stakes (G3), a turf mile for older males that was known as the Forbidden Apple through last year, as well as the Sanford Stakes (G2), the first graded stakes race for juvenile males at the Spa this summer.
2023 Diana Stakes Information
Race Date: Saturday, July 15
Track: Saratoga Race Course
Post Time: 2:46 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Distance: 1 ⅛ miles
Age/Sex: 4-year-olds and up, fillies and mares
Where to Watch: TVG.com, Fox Sports 1
Where to Bet: TVG.com and FanDuel Racing
Diana Stakes Draw and Odds
These are the entrants for the 2023 Diana Stakes, including post positions, trainers, and jockeys for the race. This also includes morning-line odds for each horse as published by Saratoga.
|1||Fev Rover||Mark Casse||Javier Castellano||12-1|
|2||In Italian||Chad Brown||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||2-5|
|3||Marketsegmentation||Chad Brown||Jose Ortiz||4-1|
|4||Fluffy Socks||Chad Brown||Joel Rosario||8-1|
|5||Whitebeam||Chad Brown||Flavien Prat||5-1|
Diana Stakes Prep Race Results
All five of the runners in the Diana Stakes come out of different races—and all five come out of a graded-stakes win in their most recent start. Two contested Grade 1 races on June 9 at Belmont in their most recent outings: In Italian won the Just a Game (G1) at Belmont in her most recent start, while Marketsegmentation prevailed in the New York (G1).
Fluffy Socks most recently won the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) at Churchill Downs, a Kentucky Derby-day feature that holds only Grade 2 designation but often has Grade 1 quality. Fev Rover started her year on July 1 in the Nassau (G2) at Woodbine, winning in last-to-first fashion. Finally, Whitebeam, who has the most class to prove, won the Gallorette (G3) on Preakness Stakes day at Pimlico and tries Grade 1 foes for the first time in the Diana.
Diana Stakes Contenders
These are the runners in the 2023 Diana Stakes, in order of their post draws.
Fev Rover: She built some serious European class as a three-year-old, coming in third in the One Thousand Guineas (G1) and second against older males in the Solonaway (G2) in 2021. She won the Canadian (G2) last year at Woodbine in her second North American start for trainer Mark Casse, and got her season off on the right foot with a win in the Nassau. This will be her first start in the United States and her first time against top-class horses since 2021. But, she has back class, and her form last out on a yielding Woodbine course gives her a chance to run well even after all the rain expected in Saratoga on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
In Italian: Last year, her win in the Diana Stakes was a surprise. This year, she comes in as the unquestioned leader of the American filly and mare turf division. Her only setback in her last five starts, all of which came in Grade 1 company, was a second-place finish behind the world-class Tuesday at the Breeders’ Cup. In a field of just five, she shapes as the speed of the speed, and she will be the one challenging the likes of Fev Rover and Marketsegmentation to keep up even if they are able to work stalking trips. The biggest question for her is the rain, as she has yet to try turf rated worse than good.
Marketsegmentation: She led at every call in the 1 ¼-mile New York last out, though expect her to revert to a tracking style here, since she both shortens up and has to face the frontrunning stablemate drawn directly to her inside. She has proven against lesser company that she can win from a stalking spot, and given her form at both 1 1/16 miles and 1 ¼ miles, the 1 ⅛-mile distance of the Diana should be right in her wheelhouse. The question is class: yes, she beat the well-proven War Like Goddess (a Grade 1 winner against males) last out, but War Like Goddess was having a rare off day, and the rest of the field was not as deep as the Just a Game (or the Diana).
Fluffy Socks: This daughter of Slumber was a third-stringer in the Chad Brown barn last year at age four, but she began her season with a victory in the Distaff Turf Mile: a race whose winner often has bigger things to come. She is well proven at the Diana distance of 1 ⅛ miles, with a win and three other money finishes in five starts at the distance. The biggest question for her is pace: Given In Italian’s excellent ability to set the pace and keep on going, someone is going to have to go very fast early to set up for a late run from Fluffy Socks. With four of the five entrants trained by Chad Brown, it is clear no one entered a rabbit, and that is bad news for late-running Fluffy Socks.
Whitebeam: Though she was a late runner over shorter distances, she stalked and pounced in a slow-paced edition of the Gallorette (G3) last out. That was a good graded-stakes debut for this four-year-old and suggests upside both with age and with increasing distances. She has also won over soft going in England, meaning the rain in the forecast should be no problem. However, she has yet to face a field anywhere near as high-quality as this one, meaning demand a price on her in the Diana.
Diana Stakes FAQ
Q: When is the 2023 Diana Stakes?
A: The 2023 Diana Stakes happens on Saturday, July 15, 2023. Post time is scheduled for 2:46 p.m., and it is the fourth race on the card.
Q: Where is the Diana Stakes?
A: The Diana Stakes takes place at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Diana Stakes?
A: Chad Brown has won the Diana Stakes seven times, the most of any trainer. Brown has four of the five entrants in the 2023 edition of the race, including defending champion In Italian.
Q: Who is the favorite for the Diana Stakes?
A: In Italian, who ascended to the upper echelon of the filly and mare turf division when she won the Diana Stakes last year as an 8-1 long shot, is the 2-5 morning-line favorite in this year’s edition.
Q: Who is the best Diana Stakes jockey?
A: John Velazquez has won the Diana Stakes six times, most recently with Sistercharlie in 2019. Velazquez does not ride in the Diana Stakes this year. Among jockeys with a call in the 2023 Diana Stakes, Javier Castellano leads with three wins, most recently in 2020 with Rushing Fall. He rides Fev Rover this year.
Q: Who won the Diana Stakes in 2022?
A: In Italian won the 2022 Diana Stakes for trainer Chad Brown and jockey Joel Rosario. In Italian returns for Chad Brown this year with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons; Rosario rides Fluffy Socks on Saturday, also for Brown.