Mike delivers Handsome upset in Penn Derby
|Handsome Mike could head to
the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile off his Pennsylvania Derby upset
J. Paul Reddam's Handsome Mike parlayed a front-running trip into a
two-length upset in Saturday's Grade 2, $1 million
Pennsylvania Derby, winning as the 19-1 longest shot at Parx Racing. The
Scat Daddy colt proved resilient after setting a moderate pace beneath Irad
Ortiz Jr., withstanding challenges from Alpha and Stephanoatsee before
re-asserting command in deep stretch, and snapped a seven-race losing skein in
Trained by Leandro Mora, who is subbing for the suspended Doug O'Neill,
Handsome Mike entered the 1 1/8-mile test for three-year-olds with only a turf
maiden victory to his credit, recording unplaced finishes in his last three
outings, but he was able to turn things around while receiving an ideal set-up on
Saturday, rating on the front end through opening splits in :25 and :49 1/5.
Alpha, who was tracking Handsome Mike in second down the backstretch,
advanced to even terms approaching the conclusion of the far turn, sticking a
head in front through three-quarters in 1:14, but the 3-5 favorite could not
sustain his momentum after straightening for home and weakened to sixth.
Stephanoatsee rallied up the rail into contention, drawing even in upper
stretch, but he began to run out of steam approaching the eighth pole and
retreated to fourth.
|Handsome Mike turned his
form around in style
After shrugging his challengers, Handsome Mike dominated through the final
furlong, winning under a hand ride, and stopped the teletimer over the fast
track in 1:51 3/5.
The dark bay colt paid $40.40, $14 and $9.80 to his supporters.
Macho Macho got up late for second, a neck better than Golden Ticket in
third. It was another half-length back to Stephanoatsee, who was followed by
Casual Trick in fifth. Csaba brought up the rear.
Handsome Mike, whose previous stakes placers were a second in last year's
Grade 3 Generous Stakes on turf and a third in February's Grade 3 El Camino Real
Derby, more than tripled his career earnings to $756,780 and his career line now
Bred in Kentucky by John Liviakis, Handsome Mike is the first foal out of the
winning Smart Strike mare Classic Strike, a half-sister to multiple stakes queen
From Away. This is also the immediate female family of Grade 3 winner Court
The Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile could be next for Handsome Mike.
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