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.
Parx Features Older Fillies And Mares
A quartet of Pennsylvania-breds will take on four others Tuesday afternoon in the feature race at Parx, a $47,000 allowance optional claiming race for fillies and mares four-years-old and up going a flat mile on the dirt. Of the four, Coco’s Sweetie seems to be in with the best chance, and is listed as fourth choice in the morning line at 6-1. A six-year-old, Coco’s Sweetie had a long campaign in 2013, running 13 times. She was successful at the claiming level, with a trio of firsts to go along with three seconds, but has been off the board in her last three allowance starts.
Top contender gets a weight break
She’ll have to contend here with the 8-5 morning line favorite in the form of No Splits, who was in the top three in all five of her starts last year, with one win, but who opened the 2014 season by finishing sixth of six in the Nellie Morse Stakes at Laurel Park. She’ll carry 114 pounds to the others’ 119. Breaking two spots inside of her will be 2-1 Tanivan, a veteran of 56 races who was competitive last year as a six year old, with four wins in the AOC ranks and a pair of fourth-place finishes in minor stakes.
Other Penn horses need a big effort
Another that could have some impact at the end is the Ontario-bred May Island (4-1) who won two of her last three to close out the 2013 season, with four wins overall in 11 starts, including two at the allowance level at Parx. Of the long shot Penn-breds, 15-1 One Smart Philly had a streak of nine straight in-the-money finishes last year from June through October, in the midst of a tough 21-race campaign. Also at 15-1, My Sonata is the only horse in the race with notable stakes experience, but she’s looking for her first win in more than a year.
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.