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.
Cotillion Draws Stong Field of Fillies
A solid 10-horse field will go to the gate Saturday at Parx Racing in the $1,000,000 Grade I Cotillion Stakes for three-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles, with the difference between the top two perhaps coming down to weights. In the morning line at 5-2, Close Hatches will carry high weight of 124 lbs. while fellow Grade I winner Sweet Lulu (7-2) will be at 117. Sweet Lulu is undefeated so far in four career starts, while Close Hatches is four-for-six, with her only real blemish a dull seventh in the Kentucky Oaks. Prior to that she beat Princess of Sylmar, who won the Oaks and is front-runner right now for champion filly honors.
A couple longshots are in with a chance
Of the others, Dancing Afleet (15-1) broke her maiden third time out at Deleware, came right back two weeks later with a solid allowance score, and then won the Grade II Delaware Oaks showing determination to close multiple lengths through the stretch. Seaneen Girl (5-1) has shown a frustrating pattern of good race-bad race, and after winning the Grade III Monmouth Oaks last time out, that might not bode well here. Carnival Court (8-1) made the jump from allowance to Grade I company and finished third in the Alabama, with Princess of Sylmar and multiple graded-stakes winner Fiftyshadesofhay in front of her.
Gallant Bob Stakes also on the card
Also on Saturday at Parx will be the $300,000 Grade III Gallant Bob, for three-year-olds going six furlongs on the dirt. It’s a crowded gate with 14 entries, with Rainbow Heir the morning line favorite at 3-1. He had won four in a row, including the Grade III Jersey Shore by five lengths, but then could only manage a sixth last time out in the Grade II Amsterdam at Saratoga. He was only 5 ¼ lengths back, however, and had to deal with a bump early and then as forced to go five wide on the turn. Clearly Now is the 4-1 second choice.
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.