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.
Tough Trio Face Off in Fabulous Strike
Four stakes races will open the Wednesday racing card at Penn National, highlighted by the $250,000 Fabulous Strike Handicap for three-year-olds and up going six furlongs in the dirt. There are two Penn-breds in the field that will also include Florida’s Ribo Bobo, who will be looking for his tenth straight win on the season, and is listed as the morning line favorite at 2-1. Since opening 2013 with three wins in the claiming ranks, Ribo Bobo has steadily moved up in competition, with two of his last three coming at the stakes level.
Ben's Cat no worse than third on the year
Last time out, he was a 5 3/4 length winner in the Maryland Million Sprint Handicap, but that was against a small and suspect field, and he’ll be facing a few tougher ones here. Second choice in the ML is Maryland-bred Ben’s Cat, who has spent the past three years running in nothing but stakes company, and who appears to be getting better with age. In seven starts this year he’s been in the money seven times, including a win back in July in the Grade III Parx Dash Handicap. Stretching out to a mile on the turf in his last, he was in command but just headed at the wire.
City of Weston has defeated top graded-stakes winners
Not to be overlooked is the third ML choice in City of Weston at 7-2. He has a trio of stakes wins on his 2013 record, including a victory two starts back in the Grade III Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx. There he overcame traffic trouble to get up late and take it at 30-1 over the favorite and multiple-graded stakes winner Clearly Now, who came back to win the Grade III Bold Ruler Handicap at Belmont next time out in a race that included Grade I winner Strapping Groom and Forty Tales, winner of the Kentucky Derby Trial.
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.