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.
Jockey Elliot Wins Smarty Jones Stakes
It was nine years ago that Stewart Elliot rode to instant fame as the jockey aboard Smarty Jones, the little thoroughbred that captured the imagination of racing fans by coming oh-so-close to a Triple Crown, winning the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes before finishing third in the Belmont. On Monday, Elliot was back in the spotlight at Parx Racing, when he rode Edge of Reality to victory in the Grade III $350,000 Smarty Jones Stakes, one of two big stakes wins for Elliot on the day.
Edge of Reality wire-to-wire in the mud
A Pennsylvania-bred by Lawyer Ron, Edge of Reality went off as the 5-2 co-favorite in the Smarty Jones, along with Elkstone Group stable mate Snake Pit. Breaking quickly from the second post on a track rated as muddy, the long-striding three year old established position on the rail and was able to emerge on the lead when his challengers fanned a bit wide coming out of the turn. Challenged in mid-stretch by long-shot Speak Logistics, Edge of Reality came out slightly just past the eighth pole, and then dug in gamely to win by a half-length.
Long-shot Stormofthecentury cruises on turf
While Edge of Reality was expected to contend, it was a different story for Elliot earlier in the day in the Grade III $350,000 Turf Monster Handicap, where he was aboard 25-1 Stormofthecentury. Although the Florida gelding had won two straight previous, those were in allowance and optional claiming events, and the Turf Monster was his first lifetime try in the higher ranks. With all attention focused on 2-1 favorite and defending race champ Ben’s Cat, Elliot put Stormofthecentury in a good stalking spot on the rail throughout the race, before coming out in mid-stretch to run down pacesetter Tightend Touchdown.
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.