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.
Grade 2 Gazelle Draws Aspiring Stars at Aqueduct
Trainer Chad Brown holds a pair of aces in the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes April 9 at Aqueduct where the high profile trainer will saddle the morning line favorite and second choice in the mile and an eighth race for three year-old fillies.
Lewis Bay (8/5) was well-beaten last out in the Grade 2 Davona Dale, where she finished second, but seven lengths behind the highly touted Cathryn Sophia. That race, however, was her first in three months and Brown connects at a 25% clip with runners returning from 45-180 day layoffs. With 2 wins in 4 career Starts, Lewis Bay has a nose for the wire, and will certainly appreciate not having to face a horse anywhere near as good as Cathryn Sophia. Regular rider Irad Ortiz will be aboard from post 2 in the seven-horse field.
Clair de Lune represents "other" half of Brown entry
Lewis Bay's stablemate, Clair de Lune, earned an 85 Beyers Speed Figure while wiring an $80,000 allowance field March 11 at Aqueduct. That figure, by far her best, is two points higher than Lewis Bay's best number and enough to convince Brown to give her a shot against graded stakes foes. On the other hand, Clair de Lune's increased figure might be cause for concern as it was 18 points higher than her previous best perhaps setting her up for a bounce performance. The daughter of Malibu Moon is unlikely to get away with an easy lead and may have to resort to stalking the pace in a field where she won't be quickest from the gate.
High-priced filly should improve
Royal Obsession was a $1.1 million purchase as a two year-old in training and has done little wrong winning 2 of 3 starts for trainer Steve Asmussen. In her lone defeat, the daughter of Tapit finished fourth, beaten less than two lengths in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra February 20 at Fair Grounds. This gal will need to step forward in the Beyer Speed department, but is certainly eligible to do so for a trainer who rarely shows up in big races with an overmatched horse.
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.