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.
Canaveral Tries Lesser Company at Parx
The last time UK-bred Canaveral stepped onto a racetrack in the States, he was a well-beaten long shot in Keeneland’s 1 ½ miles Sycamore Stakes, a race in which the winner, Kindergarden Kid, would next be taking on the best turf runners in the world in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf. That was last October, and this Saturday in the Race 8 $50,000 AOC feature event at Parx Racing, he’ll face much lesser competition and will likely go off as one of the post time favorites.
Lightly raced gelding making his 2013 debut
A five-year-old Cape Cross gelding with only six starts to his credit, Canaveral was showing promise late in his three-year-old season, getting back-to-back wins in 1 1/8 miles races at Bath. He was scratched his next time out, however, before being sold and shipped stateside into the care of trainer Janet Elliot. Breaking well in the Sycamore to be forward-placed, he simply couldn’t keep up his bid and gave way with a quarter-mile to run. The cutback in distance could play a big part in whether he’s there at the end.
Sondheim making first try away from home
One he’ll be taking on is Sondheim, a Virginia-bred Theatrical gelding, who broke his maiden first time out by seven lengths in mid-June, and who will be looking for his third win in four lifetime starts, with all his racing having taken place at Colonial Downs in his home state. Also in the field with a shot will be the John Servis-trained entry of Neshaminy and Dancing Lounge, the former of which recently won at the $47,000 allowance level and will be expected to want the lead out of the inside post position.
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.