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.
Extrasexyhippzster in Aqueduct Stake
East coast stakes action takes place on Saturday at Aqueduct, where Pennsylvania-bred two-year-old Extrasexyhippzster has been made the 2-1 morning line second choice for the $100,000 Don Rickles Stakes, the third event on the nine-race card. Six have been entered, and they’ll be going six furlongs on the dirt. Extrasexyhippzster, has made three starts so far, breaking his maiden by 3 ½ lengths his second time out at Parx Racing, before stepping up to stakes company two weeks ago, finishing fourth in the Marylander Stakes at Laurel over a muddy track.
Favorite has been first or second every time
He’ll have to contend with the 4-5 ML favorite Pure Sensation, a Florida-bred son of Zensational, who has never been worse than second in four lifetime starts over an evenly-spaced juvenile campaign. He started his racing career this summer with a pair of runner-up finishes at Saratoga. After two months off he moved to Belmont in October, where he broke into the win column while cruising to a 5 1/2 length victory at the $70,000 MSW level. He then moved up to the James F. Lewis Stakes at Laurel, where he set a solid pace only to be beaten out by a neck at the wire by a 36-1 longshot.
Third choice shows excellent back class
The only other horse in the field in single digits in the morning line is 6-1 Oliver Zip, who will be making only his second lifetime start after breaking his maiden first time out by seven lengths going six furlongs on the dirt at Laurel Park. He’s a son of multiple graded-stakes winner City Zip and out of the stakes-winning mare All of Her Twist. Of the double-digit entries, New York-bred Sing the Dream has perhaps the best chance of breaking into the trifecta. He’s won two of four lifetime, a record that includes a stakes win two starts back at Finger Lakes.
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.