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.
Field Taking Shape for $1.5 Million Belmont Stakes
Entries will be drawn on Wednesday for the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes (G1), but the field of probable contenders has begun to take shape. The Belmont Stakes (G1) will be contested at a mile and a half and will offer a purse of $1.5 million on Saturday, June 11.
Exaggerator will likely be the favorite and will be one of only two horses in the race to have competed in all three Triple Crown events. After finishing second in the Kentucky Derby (G1), the dark bay son of Curlin emulated his father’s accomplishment and came back to win the Preakness Stakes (G1). He is trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by Kent Desormeaux though it was recently announced that Kent will is undergoing treatment at a rehab facility and will be back riding on June 9.
New rivals could include maiden Forever d'Oro
There are several fresh faces under consideration for the race including Forever d’Oro and General Malibu. Forever d’Oro is a homebred for Charles Fipke and is trained by Dallas Stewart. He is a still a maiden and has not hit the board from two starts but is a half brother to multiple graded stakes winners Unbridled Forever and Forever Unbridled. General Malibu, trained by Christophe Clement, was second in the Peter Pan Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park last time out.
Dale Romans, Todd Pletcher have strong pairs
There will also be some familiar names in the Belmont Stakes (G1) as well including Cherry Wine, the runner-up in the Preakness Stakes (G1). Cherry Wine is one of two likely contenders in the race for trainer Dale Romans who will also be bringing back Kentucky Derby also-ran Brody’s Cause who won the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) earlier in the year. Stradivari and Destin will be representing the Todd Pletcher barn.
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.