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.
Cat's Holiday Cruises in Malvern Rose
It was all about patience for Cat’s Holiday on Saturday during the running of the $75,000 Malvern Rose Stakes for three-year-old fillies at Presque Isle Downs. Leaving the gate as the 3-5 favorite under jockey Mario Pino, Cat’s Holiday raced near the back of the six-horse field into the backstretch, waited for room to make a move to striking distance, and then had to wait some more behind horses before finding a hole coming out of the final turn in the 1 1/16 miles race over the synthetic track.
Tracks leaders and pulls away when asked
When that hole opened up, Pino moved Cat’s Holiday to the middle of the track and, with just a couple taps of the whip, she accelerated to the lead and moved away from the dueling front-runners with ease, eventually being ridden off to a 4 ¾ length victory over 8-1 Platinum Steel, with pacesetter Emerald Bracelet another 4 ¾ lengths back. It was a nice bounce back win for the Pennsylvania-bred filly, after she ran a disappointing fifth in the Grade III Virginia Oaks a month ago. Unraced at two, she now has three wins in seven starts lifetime.
Another all-or-nothing race for the 'Cat
The victory also continues a strange pattern for Cat’s Holiday, as in her seven races, she has either won, or finished off the board. She broke her maiden first time out in January at Tampa Bay, finished seventh and eighth in two allowance events, and then won at the allowance level before moving in to stakes company. She’s now run at five different tracks in the past seven months, with two of her three wins coming at Presque Isle. The race also featured another good effort from Platinum Steel, who is first or second in her last five starts.
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.