Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photos
Hello everyone! A spectacular day of racing is underway at Parx, where a pair of million-dollar stakes races will be run later this afternoon. Those races are the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) for three-year-olds and the Cotillion Stakes (gr. I) for three-year-old fillies. Three other exciting stakes races are also on the card, and many of the horses entered today are prepping to run in the Breeders’ Cup six weeks from now at Keeneland.
But as fascinating as the stakes races will be, it could also be important to keep an eye on the earlier races on the card. Last year, the main track at Parx was very speed-favoring on Pennsylvania Derby day, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the track plays similarly today. In fact, the first race of the day (a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight for 2yo fillies) was held a few minutes ago, and the winner was a 22-1 shot named Eighth Wonder that tracked the pace and took command on the turn before drawing off to win decisively. I’ll be posting updates throughout the day on the results of the races, including analysis of the way the track seems to be playing. I hope you’ll join me!
1:47 pm EST: The second dirt race on the card, the third race overall, was won in almost exactly the same fashion as the first race. Fire Alarm, sent off as the 4-5 favorite in an 8.5-furlong $20,000 claiming race, tracked modest early fractions before making a bold move to take command on the turn and draw off to win decisively. Up next is a 6 1/2-furlong allowance optional claiming race in which the current 3-2 favorite is the three-year-old I Spent It, winner of the Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. II) last year.
4:23 pm: Four more dirt races have been run, and the first three were won in identical style to the first two races, with horses tracking the pace on the outside before taking command to win. The fourth race was the six-furlong Gallant Bob Stakes (gr. III) for three-year-olds, in which Trouble Kid set blazing fractions of :21 1/5 and :44 1/5 and still managed to hold off a late run from favored Limousine Liberal to win by about a neck.
In essence, I’d say that speed is definitely doing well on the main track at Parx, but there doesn’t seem to be as strong a bias as there was last year.
5:12 pm: After being disqualified from victory in the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) earlier this summer, I’m a Chatterbox finally picked up the first grade I win of her career when she scored an impressive win in the Cotillion Stakes. Given a great ground-saving trip by jockey Florent Geroux, I’m a Chatterbox stayed close to the pace, shifted outside partway around the final turn, and took command from Calamity Kate in the homestretch to secure the victory. Peace and War put in a big rally to finish third, while Eskenformoney rounded out the superfecta.
Up next is the Pennsylvania Derby, in which Frosted has opened as the 4-5 favorite. Upstart is the second choice at 5-1, followed by Madefromlucky at 6-1. All told, eight of the nine starters are currently at 14-1 or less, with the lone exception being Battle Midway, who is currently listed at 99-1.
6:35 pm: Talk about impressive! I was concerned that Frosted might be tired out from his testing effort in the Travers Stakes three weeks ago, but he could not have been more impressive seizing command of the lead at the top of the stretch to win by two lengths over Iron Fist. After saving ground behind slow fractions, Frosted was full of run in the homestretch, running the final furlong in a spectacular :11.97 seconds to win under a hand ride. Wow! Iron Fist ran a great race tracking the pace and stayed on strongly in the homestretch to finish eight lengths clear of Tommy Macho, who rallied well to finish third.