March 20, 2019

Pure Sensation seeks Parx Dash hat trick

Pure Sensation has always been at home on the Parx Racing turf course (Barbara Weidl/Equi-Photo)

Pure Sensation will seek to become the second horse in the brief history of the $200,000 Parx Dash (G3) to win the race three consecutive times when the five-furlong turf sprint is renewed Saturday.

Inaugurated in 2011, the Parx Dash was won by the late and beloved Maryland-bred Ben’s Cat from 2012-14. Pure Sensation beat that aging star in the 2016 edition and was a handier winner by 5 3/4 lengths last season.

Pure Sensation is undefeated in four starts on the Parx turf having also won two editions of the Turf Monster (G3) in 2015 and 2017. The seven-year-old Christophe Clement trainee yielded late to stablemate Disco Partner in the six-furlong Jaipur (G2) at Belmont in his most recent start.

The top three finishers from the June 2 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup at Penn National — Oak Bluffs, Dubini, and Pool Winner — will try to wear the gray favorite down. Oak Bluffs got the better of Dubini by three parts of a length, with Pool Winner a neck behind in third after setting the pace.

It was the second career stakes win, and first in three years, for Oak Bluffs. Dubini, ninth to Purse Sensation in last September’s Turf Monster but a solid second to Rainbow Heir in the Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship two months later, is lightly-raced and a threat to improve.

Other leading contenders include Tribalist and Vision Perfect. The California-based Tribalist won the Green Flash H. at Del Mar last summer off a year layoff, and then narrowly missed in the Eddie D (G3) down the hill at Santa Anita.

Vision Perfect won was a blowout winner of the Silks Run at Gulfstream Park in March, but faded to sixth in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3) at Churchill Downs last time.

The $100,000 Turf Amazon, a five-furlong turf dash for fillies and mares, features Blue Bahia, winner of the Captiva Island at Gulfstream in March, and Smiling Causeway, who captured the Lightning City at Tampa Bay Downs in December.

The Alan Goldberg-trained Goldwood and Boos, as well as Pretty Perfection, are other candidates for a share or more.