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.
Two Big Stakes, Two Big Penn Wins
The two of the biggest Pennsylvania-bred stars of racing put their talents on display on Saturday and came away with a pair of Grade I victories. Filly Princess of Sylmar and the colt Real Solution captured the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga and the Arlington Million at Arlington Park, respectively, with a dominating performance in the first case, and a hard-fought win through a disqualification in the second. Princess of Sylmar was the 2-5 favorite in the $600,000 Alabama, while Real Solution went off at 8-1 in the Million.
Win puts 'Sylmar in Eclipse Award position
Against six others in the Alabama, Princess of Sylmar rated off the lead of Carnival Court after taking a slight bump out of the gate, began to move midway on the second turn and swept around three others to take command at the top of the lane. From there it was mostly a hand ride for jockey Javier Castellano to the wire, clocking 2:03.21 for the 1 1/4 miles. Princess of Sylmar has now won the Kentucky Oaks, the American Oaks and the Alabama all in a row, and has a legitimate claim as top American three-year-old filly for 2013.
Drive to the wire stopped by interference
In the Million, Real Solution broke in the second flight of 13 horses out of the gate, with jockey Alan Garcia primarily trying to keep from getting boxed in through the first half of the 1 ¼ miles turf event. With defending champ Little Mike weakening on the front end, and favorite Indy Point nowhere to be seen, Euro shipper The Apache surged to the lead, with Real Solution coming late. Strides from the wire, The Apache came out hard, bumping Real Solution twice. After an enquiry, their numbers were reversed, giving Real Solution his first Grade I title.
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.