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.
Top Fillies and Mares Set to Square Off in $2 Million Breeders' Cup Distaff
The featured race on the first day of the Breeders Cup from Santa Anita is the $2 million Breeders Cup Distaff. The Grade 1 race will be run at a mile and an eighth and the race has shaped up to be a showdown between top sophomore Untapable and dominant older filly Close Hatches.
Untapable has been installed as the morning line favorite at odds of 5-2 and will break from post position ten in the field of eleven. Trained by Steve Asmussen, the three-year-old daughter of Tapit will have regular rider Rosie Napravnik aboard. The bay filly has won five of her six starts this year including two Grade 1 wins in the Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose. Her lone blemish came against male rivals in the Haskell Invitational (G1). She was eighth in the Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita last year.
Close Hatches trying to rebound after poor last out
Second choice at 3-1 on the morning line is Close Hatches for trainer Bill Mott and owner Juddmonte Farms. After finishing second to Beholder in the Distaff last year, the four-year-old daughter of First Defence won four consecutive graded stakes races this year before finishing fourth as the heavy favorite in the Spinster (G1) last out. Since that race, she has had a bullet workout at Belmont Park and will have regular rider Joel Rosario aboard from the outside post.
TizMidnight back after good second to Beholder
Also in the field and a longshot at 10-1 on the morning line is Tiz Midnight for trainer Bob Baffert. The four-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute made her graded stakes debut last time out in the Zenyatta (G1) and she finished a game second to champion Beholder. She has won three of her seven starts and has been on the board in all four races at Santa Anita. Victor Espinoza will be aboard and they are scheduled to break from post position two.
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.