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.
$50,000 Buddy Diliberto Headlines Dec. 19 Card at Fair Grounds
Friday action at Fair Grounds features a lone stakes event the $50,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes for older horses going a mile and one sixteenth on the grass.
The field of nine is led by 5/2 morning line favorite, Gentleman’s Kitten, who most recently finished eighth in the grade 3 River City Handicap November 8 at Churchill Downs. Prior to that effort, the Michael Maker trainee finished second in the Remington Stakes and won the Cliff Guillliams Handicap at Ellis Park. The graded stakes-placed son of turf champion Kitten’s Joy has amassed $232,219 in his career while winning 5 of 15 races. He will break from the rail under veteran jockey James Graham.
Grand Contender tries to regain winning form
Grand Contender (4/1) ran third in the Delta Downs Mile November 22 in his last start. The Tom Amoss trainee is a multiple graded stakes winner, earning consecutive victories last spring in a pair of grade 3 stakes races: the Texas Mile Stakes, and the Lone Star Park Handicap. The four year-old son of Strong Contender is winless in his last three starts – all in minor stakes races, but has finished off the board just once in 2014 in eight starts. Francisco Torres has the mount in the Buddy Diliberto.
Layoff returnee has back class
Adios Nardo (9/2) has been away since April – a fourth place finish against allowance company at Keeneland. The Leo Gabriel trainee fits with this group if he can return to his early 2014 form which included a second place finish in the grade 3 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap at Fair Grounds in January.
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.