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.
Penn's Zeewat in Mix For Malibu Stakes
Coming off a win in the Damascus Stakes, Pennsylvania-bred Zeewat has been made the second choice in the morning line for the feature race on Thursday’s opening day card at Santa Anita, the $300,000 Grade I Malibu Stakes. The race, the third of three graded-stakes events on the card, has drawn a full field of 12 three-year-old colts to race 7 furlongs on the Santa Anita dirt. Zeewat by Harlan’s Holiday, will break from the middle of the gate under jockey Rafael Bejarano for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Rivals from last race meet again
Prior to the Damascus, which he won by a head after racing off the pace, Zeewat ran fourth in the Grade III Gallant Bob at Parx Racing, beaten by two lengths. He opened the 2013 season at Golden Gate, winning the California Derby, and also has an allowance score to his credit two starts back. Breaking just to his inside will the the 7-2 ML favorite in Flashback, runner-up in the Damascus, as well as the Grade I Santa Anita Derby, the Grade II San Felipe Stakes, and winner of the Grade I Robert B. Lewis back in February.
Holy Lute wants return to early promise
Of several others in the field with stakes or graded-stakes wins to their name, Bob Baffert’s Shakin It Up (15-1) has run three straight Grade II or III’s, winning the Grade II San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita, before running fourth next time out in the Grade III Sunland Derby last March. He’s been off since then, however, and might need a race. One that will be trying to prove he belongs at this level is Holy Lute (12-1), who recently had a minor stakes win and a third in a Grade III event, but was tenth last out in the Breeder’s Cup Dirt Mile.
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.