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.
Experience Counts for a Lot in the Kentucky Derby
While all the horses in the Kentucky Derby field are the same age, there is a difference when it comes to how much experience they have on the track and winning races.
Of the 20 horses expected to go to the starting gate for the 142nd Kentucky Derby, five had recorded no wins as a two-year-old or only have one lifetime win to their credit. This could be an important betting angle, as horses light on winning racing experience have historically not done well on Derby Day.
Lack of wins has been a Derby factor
The four who came up empty in their first year of racing include Creator, My Man Sam, Majesto and Trojan Nation. It should come as no surprise that these four are all double-digit longshots, with only Creator (the lowest at 10-1 in the morning line) seemingly the only one in with a chance off his win in the Arkansas Derby. In the past 25 years, only two horses have won the Derby without visiting the winner's cirlce first as a two-year-old. In addition to these four, Tom's Ready only has one lifetime win on his resume. Trojan Nation, in fact, has no wins in his career. For a horse to gain his first lifetime score at the Derby is all-but-impossible.
Undefeated Nyquist is in good company
On the other end of the scale, favored Nyquist is the only undefeated horse in the field, making him one of six horses in the past decade and a half to have run in both their two and three-year-old season and go to the Derby without a loss. Of these, three came out of the Derby as winners, while two others managed to hit the board.
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.