The Grade 2 $1.25 million Pennsylvania Derby features the two biggest names from the Triple Crown trail September 24 at Parx as a field of 12 gathers in one of the most intriguing betting races of the year.
$1.25 Million Purse in Grade 2 Charles Town Classic
The Charles Town Classic may only be a grade 2 race, but with $1.25 million on the line in purse money, the mile and an eighth event has attracted a top field of 11 April 23 in a great betting race.
3/1 morning line favorite Donworth was well-fancied in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 12 despite making his first start in over 13 months. The Doug O'Neill trainee never factored in that race, finishing a disappointing seventh, but certainly had a legitimate excuse for the dull effort. The first and third-place runners from that race, Melatonin and Effinex, returned to complete the exacta in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap. Donworth has two wins in six career starts and will look for his first graded stakes score. O'Neill's decision to ship this four year-old across the country is a positive indicator that the horse is doing well and ready to produce a strong effort.
Imperative is classic horse for course
Imperative (7/2) ran fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap and has just 3 wins in 30 career starts, but returns to Charles Town where the veteran runner won the 2014 Charles Town Classic and finished second last year comprising a significant portion of the six year-olds $1.8 million in career earnings. Despite infrequent trips to the winner's circle, Imperative warrants plenty of serious consideration in this spot with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the irons.
S'Marvelous looks for another upset
S'Marvelous (10/1) should be another favorable price after upsetting the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap field last-out with a wire-to-wire performance. The Mike Maker trainee defeated Eagle who returned to win the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland April 16. If able to control the early fractions, jockey Jose Lezacano could take this field a long way.
The $1 million Cotillion Stakes September 24 at Parx features a true clash of the titans as the six-horse field is headlined by the undefeated, five-time grade 1 winner Songbird who figures to face the most stern challenge of her career.
In a completely wide open renewal of the Presque Isle Mile September 18 at Presque Isle Downs, 13 runners including the also-eligible will contest the eight furlong trip over synthetic footing.
Champion Songbird is set to make her much-anticipated return to the races in the $200,000 Summertime Oaks at Santa Anita on Saturday. The Grade 2 event will be run at a mile and a sixteenth and has attracted a field of seven.