September 27, 2023

Jackie’s Warrior adds star power to Penn Derby undercard at Parx

Jackie's Warrior (inside) wins the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

While the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) and Cotillion (G1) are the richest prizes at Parx Saturday, notable names will appear on the stakes-laden undercard as well.

Gallant Bob (G2) – Race 10 (4:22 p.m. ET)

Multiple Grade 1 star Jackie’s Warrior holds an overwhelming class edge over his fellow sophomores in the $300,000 Gallant Bob (G2), his launching pad to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). Seven-for-10 lifetime, the Steve Asmussen colt has suffered two of those losses at 1 1/16 miles. His only reverse in a sprint came by a neck, thanks to a troubled start in the Woody Stephens (G1). Jackie’s Warrior roared back with a vengeance at Saratoga, crushing the Amsterdam (G2) and outlasting Life Is Good in the H. Allen Jerkens (G1). Now he’s tactically drawn in the outside post 7.

Beren won three stakes in a row before flopping in the 1 1/8-mile Curlin S. at the Spa. The Butch Reid trainee regained his swagger when romping in the Aug. 24 Parx Summer Sprint back at this six-furlong trip. Nashua (G3) scorer Pickin’ Time has also been ambitiously spotted over further, including in the July 17 Haskell (G1), but found his comfort zone sprinting in the Aug. 29 New Jersey Breeders H. The rail-drawn Real Talk dominated the Aug. 15 Jersey Shore S., and Awesome Gerry was a distant second in the Robert Hilton Memorial at Charles Town.

Parx Dirt Mile – Race 7 (2:51 p.m. ET)

Metropolitan H. (G1) hero Silver State preps for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) in this $200,000 spot. The Asmussen charge had won six in a row before tiring to third in the 1 1/8-mile Whitney (G1), behind Knicks Go and Maxfield, and looms as the one to beat.

Millionaire Mind Control, fourth in the Forego (G1) in his latest, tries two turns for the first time since his seventh in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). West Will Power, second to Code of Honor in the Philip H. Iselin (G3); Warrior’s Charge, runner-up to Maxfield in the Stephen Foster (G2) two back; Informative, who stunned the June 12 Salvator Mile (G3) at 79.80-1 the last time he raced over this distance; and Jamie Ness class climber Thorny Tale are also in the mix.

Turf Monster (G3) – Race 9 (3:51 p.m. ET)

Caress (G3) heroine Caravel can get her Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) ambitions back on track in this $300,000 dash. Although only third versus males in the Aug. 22 Highlander (G1), her first start for Graham Motion, early aggressiveness was a hindrance going six furlongs at Woodbine. Caravel figures to enjoy reverting to five furlongs here, and presumably her former stalking tactics.

Carotari, whoalmost wired the 5 1/2-furlong Troy S. (G3) at Saratoga, could also appreciate the slight cutback. Battle Station missed by a nose in Aug. 31 Parx Dash (G3) over course and distance, and Firecrow was last seen upsetting the May 15 Jim McKay Turf Sprint in course-record time at Pimlico. Recent Rainbow Heir S. winner Belgrano and third The Connector, who was collecting his fourth stakes placing of the season, are additional factors, along with Southern California shipper Beer Can Man.

Greenwood Cup (G3) – Race 8 (3:20 p.m. ET)

Marathoner Moretti hasn’t scored since the 2020 Birdstone S. at Saratoga, but the Pletcher runner put up some fine Brisnet Speed ratings in past two efforts on dirt. His close fourth in the July 3 Suburban H. (G2) was good for a 104, and he notched a career-best 105 when third in his Birdstone title defense to Lone Rock and Shooger Ray Too.

Math Wizard, winless since his 31.10-1 surprise in the 2019 Penn Derby, returns to Parx and experiments with 1 1/2 miles. Others of interest in the $200,000 affair are last-out Evan Shipman H. romper Sea Foam; Forewarned, who fits better here than he did in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1); horse-for-the-course Magic Michael; Lookin at Roses, an allowance winner over track and trip earlier this year; and Sheer Flattery, a local with a winning attitude.

State-bred stakes

Bookending the Saturday stakes action is a pair of $200,000 events for Pennsylvania-breds.

Once-beaten sprinter Chub Wagon tries 1 1/16 miles in the Plum Pretty S. (Race 6, 2:22 p.m. ET). The superfecta from the Aug. 23 Mrs. Penny S. – front-running Precious, beaten 3-5 favorite Vault, Trolley Ride, and distant fourth Ninetypercentbrynn – will square off again, while Cathryn Sophia S. third Marion Francis takes on elders.

The Alphabet Soup H. (Race 13, 6:20 p.m.) over 1 1/16 miles on turf has drawn a contentious field of 11 including multiple stakes veteran Wait for It, stout closer Irish Cork, and consistent four-year-old Prince of Rain.